DIGITAL TAKES OVER
Digital has opened new frontiers—ones that marketing giants from the past couldn’t imagine. In the past five years alone, rapid and constant digital innovation has created opportunities for small brands who couldn’t otherwise compete on a global scale and challenges for large brands who had to rethink their entire approach to marketing. The ‘disruption’ was felt by brands and consumers alike—some are cheering, others are still catching up. What’s certain is that digital continues to be a game-changer.
WORDS AND MEANING
Over-usage of a word tends to erode its meaning over time. Few words are as over-used (describing vast and quickly evolving fields) as ‘digital’ and now its boundaries are becoming muddier as the masses try to keep pace with the inventors. Let’s revisit basics and define the word ‘digital’. In its purest sense, digital refers to transmitting content (e.g. text, graphics, audio and video) over the internet or other networks in a machine readable format (this is the digital part). The term ‘digital’, as used today, includes websites, videos, social media, virtual reality and augmented reality with no end is sight as our brains stretch to create better, more impactful and easier ways to communicate and live.
What this definition of digital misses its true power.
DIGITAL IS POWER
Digital lets people interact with other people in a two-way exchange (moving past traditional broadcast media which is only one-way). With the entrance of on-demand, streaming and Netflix, one-way becomes blurred as users request the information they want, precisely when they want it. Now we’re getting to the truly exciting part of this new digital world.
After creating interaction, digital allows people to form groups (thank you Facebook), which give users even more control over how they interact with the world. Control is the new incentive and it’s so powerful and intoxicating it drives behaviour.
NEW DIGITAL RULES
Websites were once viewed like brochures: static, long-lived, without interaction and not the main marketing focus. That was then (in the infancy of the .com era). Now (and with a huge nudge from tech), websites are the first digital giant for brands. However, the face has changed and longevity has shortened in response to evolving consumer demand and the digital explosion over the last five years.
Videos experience the same digital explosion as smartphones become smarter, video load speeds become faster and better technology has made watching videos easier. Videos are the new darlings of brands. According to Cisco, by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic and video-on-demand traffic will have almost trebled. YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month. Forrester has equally impressive statistics. They estimate that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million. Another study claims seven in 10 people view brands more favourably after watching interesting video content. It’s hard to argue with numbers.
Search remains a more powerful and impactful brand-building and behaviour tool than social—just compare Google to Facebook—but the shift is in motion as social wins with immediacy and peer reviews. How will it play out? Most people (61+%) still search before buying (making rankings critical) and brands continue to love and trust the behaviour data that search provides. However, social hits back with influencers claiming their behaviour-changing dominance and social platforms delivering immediate and interactive information. Both must learn to share budgets and play nicely together.
COMPETING IN THE NEW WORLD
While the rules are changing, that doesn’t mean small brands are priced out of digital. It’s about being smart with planning and taking advantage of lower cost production. The bar has been raised for all brands: Consumers are difficult to impress, they’re impatient, they’re sophisticated hunters and gatherers, and they demand authenticity, which all work together to shorten the lifespan of any digital asset.
To survive, brands must respond to consumer’s search behaviour; to break-through information saturated markets, brands must remain relevant; to win, brands must deliver the wow to engage, attract new customers and keep current customers coming back.
ATTENTION BRANDS: WORK CONSTANT DIGITAL INNOVATION INTO YOUR MARKETING BUDGETS.
THE MADLEGS MEDIA WAY
We don’t just build digital, we build brands. If what you want is just a flat, brochure website, visit GoDaddy or Wix. If what you want is just higher SEO rankings and more likes, there are thousands of companies who do just that. However, if what you want is to CHANGE THE CONVERSATION, MAKE A BIG SPLASH, REACH NEW HEIGHTS, BECOME AN ICON OR CREATE SOMETHING AWE-INSPIRING, you’ve found the right partner.
THE CHANT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD: WOW ME, TEASE ME, OFFER ME SOMETHING NEW, GIVE ME SOMETHING DIFFERENT. IN RETURN, I'LL RETURN. IF YOU FAIL, YOU ARE FORGOTTEN