There is no argument that the Internet has become the axle that spins the marketing, promotional and distribution programs of businesses. The Internet has growth exponentially over the last 20 years. In 1995, only 16 million people representing 0.4% of the world’s population had access to the Internet. By 2015, there were 3.3 Billion online every day (3.3% represents 46% of the world’s population).
In 1995, the Internet was used primarily to connect government agencies and key institutions. But even the Internet cannot overcome the power of evolution. Evolution is driven by innovation which is spurred by consumer demand. It is a chain that can never be broken because mankind will always find new ways to make life and business easier, faster and more convenient.
In 2000, there were 304 million Internet users. Five years later, the Internet had a billion people online daily. With usage increasing by leaps and bounds, it was a natural evolution for marketers to look for ways to capitalize on the gigantic ocean of opportunity.
Social media was the offspring of digital technology and the Internet. Social media networks were sprouting. Friendster, MySpace, and LinkedIn were among the first social media networks that opened in the early part of the new millennium. Facebook started in 2004 but was limited only to high school students.
In 2005, Facebook opened up to the Harvard community where its founder Mark Zuckerberg was studying. By 2009, Facebook had gone global and reached 350 Million users. Today, Facebook is a global phenomenon; a market mover and shaker with a community of 1.54 Billion users.
During the time of Facebook’s growth from 2004 to 2009, other social media networks came about such as YouTube and Twitter. No doubt these networks saw the potential of introducing innovative digital channels for distributing content.
These digital channels were a gold mine for marketers. The challenge was to create a system that would best optimize the possibilities presented by these digital channels through the vehicle of the Internet. People were reaching out, and communities were being built, and networking became a by-word. But how could these be put together to create new growth avenues for business?
Given the huge population of the Internet and social media users every day, businesses started to build their online presence. In addition to social media, many online tools were available to enhance their digital presence. These included:
- E-mail Marketing
- Display Advertising
Businesses included digital marketing in their budgets. They could do it in-house or hire a digital marketing agency. In time, businesses started opening social media accounts in various networks. Many utilized e-mail marketing to aggressively promote new products and services. Content writers were hired to craft articles and blogs for posting and distribution.
The Internet was buzzing with activity. Businesses were competing with others for market supremacy in the digital landscape.
The problem was many were missing their mark. The numbers on digital marketing did not add up. In a 2015 study by SmartInsights, which began in 2012, 50% of respondents reported they have a digital marketing program but with no clear and defined strategy.
Interestingly by 2014, less than 50% of businesses had a website. How could you expect a digital marketing strategy without a website? Where will prospective customers or clients go to find you on the Internet? If you successfully connected and engaged in social media, where will the lead be converted into a sale?
The statistics on the lack of website usage show disregard of pertinent digital marketing data. Of the websites operating in 2013, only 26% were mobile-friendly, and 14% had a dedicated mobile website. Keep in mind that search patterns were changing in 2012.
For the first time in more than a decade, sales of the once-mighty desktop fell in 2012. Meanwhile, sales of mobile gadgets such as the smartphone and tablet were increasing. The data foreshadowed a changing of the guard. By 2014, 60% of online traffic came from mobile gadgets. The fall of the PC was complete.
The ascent of mobile technology is a highly significant development in the digital landscape. It confirms that consumers have embraced the mobile lifestyle. Everything that we do; work, play or at home is influenced by mobile technology. Take note of the following key statistics that can befall your website if it is not mobile-friendly:
- 40% will abandon your site.
- $1.1 Trillion of global sales were website influenced.
- 48% of Internet users who cannot access a website through their mobile gadget will brand the proprietor as “uncaring”.
- 62% of respondents reported that a mobile responsive website increased sales.
Even search engine giant Google acknowledged the influence of mobile technology and required websites to shift to mobile responsive design or be penalized in the search rankings. Despite the ramifications of these data, some reports claim only 11.8% of websites in 2015 are mobile responsive!
This is the problem if you don’t have an integrated digital marketing strategy. You are not able to maximize the full potential of the powerful digital channels at your disposal.
Here’s my question to everyone who has a digital marketing strategy:
When you started your business, did you organize it without the benefit of a business plan?
Just like starting a business, a digital marketing strategy involves key areas of responsibilities, presents many options to utilize and avenues to take. Launching a digital marketing platform without any sense of purpose or clear vision of what you want to achieve is highly inefficient.
Every business that implements digital marketing programs wants the same thing: to increase profitability by improving performance. As stated earlier, many businesses are using digital marketing, but 50% of them have no defined strategy. Can you imagine a destination point which can only be attained by one avenue? That avenue will be packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic by people who want to reach the same destination point.
If you had an integrated strategy in place, you would know of other avenues that would help you reach the destination point ahead of everyone else. This is the value of an integrated digital marketing strategy; the ability to harness the full power of digital channels by identifying the processes which work best with your value proposition.
Having explained its purpose, here are ten reasons why your businesses should need to have an integrated digital marketing services in place:
1. Operate with Direction and Focus
Businesses that don’t have an integrated digital marketing service have an idea of what they want to accomplish and how to get there.
But for any marketing campaign, having an “idea” is not enough assurance that it will succeed. Your approach must be specific not generalized otherwise you will expose the campaign to higher levels of risk due to miscommunication, misunderstanding and disengagement.
An integrated digital marketing strategy designs its campaign based on purpose. You cannot have direction if you have not determined the purpose of your digital marketing campaign.
Once you have defined your purpose, you can outline your goals and objectives. When you have goals, you set targets that you have to hit. Thus, purpose allows you to establish the direction of the campaign and build greater focus to make sure you can attain your goals and objectives.
2. Improves Communication with Everyone Onboard
Your purpose becomes the basis for the design of the system.
A digital marketing strategy operates under a specific system. A system has its series of frameworks and processes. The frameworks and processes that make up the system must be written down and shared with everyone on the team. Without it, the team will not be able to work as one.
In an integrated digital marketing service, the system is encapsulated in a document called the Creative Brief. The bases for the Creative Brief are all the information provided by the client plus updated research on industry trends and developments, market demographics, specific goals and objectives and current systems or programs in place.
The Creative Brief is thoroughly discussed with the digital marketing team and is referenced for any clarification on the campaign.
Integrated digital marketing lends your business better structure and organization.