Digital Marketing Hasn’t Changed the Basics of Advertising and Marketing Communications

Last week three of us from GodwinGroup attended the MAGNET—Marketing and Advertising Global Network spring conference in Miami. The theme was “The Retro Future of Advertising.” Nearly 80 of our affiliates from Dubai and Dublin to Phoenix and Philadelphia sought through various presentations and discussions to determine if the future of our industry would look vastly different in five years. Digital marketing has become the darling of our industry, and those who do not embrace it will find their customers increasingly turning a deaf ear to them. Presentations from various members focused on all sorts of new vehicles to engage customers in meaningful ways on behalf of our clients.

The presentations and case studies we considered covered an array of topics from social media marketing to keys for generating creativity that entertains and educates customers at the same time, often on the devices they hold in the palms of their hands throughout their day. Through it all, one thing struck me: no matter how much the tools of communications change from television and newspaper into websites, Facebook, mobile couponing and a thousand new venues, one thing never changes. What does not change is the need to begin our marketing planning by remembering that all advertising, public relations and marketing communications—whether conventional or digital—must assist in fulfilling one or more of three basic needs of any business:

  • Obtain more customers (Call it “brand preference” or whatever makes you feel good about it.)
  • Keep the customers we have (It’s okay to call it “brand loyalty.”)
  • Persuade our customers to spend more with us (Brand building creates value, thus: premium pricing.)

As we learn more about new technologies and channel more of our budgets into digital marketing, let’s not become so enamored with the cool new tools themselves that we forget to first and foremost meet one of these three basic business imperatives in any communications we create.

When planning, ask if this strategy will get us new customers, make our customers love us enough to buy again, or make them spend more of their budget with us. If the answer is not yes at least once, then start over in your planning.

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