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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

12 points to consider when promoting your brand

Apply these key elements to your digital marketing strategy.

12 points to consider when promoting your brand
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

With so many advertising options in today’s digital world, how can marketing leaders determine the best bang for their buck?

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On top of figuring out a feasible return on an investment plan to meet company KPIs and create a loyal connection with the brand’s target audience, the tides are quickly changing in the virtual marketing space. For example, stiffer government regulations are cracking down on the amount of access that a company may have to utilize certain data.

Below, Fast Company Executive Board members are calling out 12 major risk factors that digital marketing executives are now facing and how to become better informed and prepared in promoting their business.

1. VIRTUAL BRAND AND LOCAL REPUTATION

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Not understanding their social and online reputation at the brand and local level. Customers use these channels to provide brands with feedback and consumers have indicated online and social reviews are critical to building trust with the brand. Too many brands are tactical with volume and rating which is causing them to fall short. Brands must understand sentiment analysis, topics, and themes. – Zack Hamilton, Stingray Group, Inc.

2. ‘SEO’ STRATEGIES

Organic marketing is poised for a dramatic shift away from the prevailing “SEO,” strategy. Out of Google’s 200+ ranking factors, inbound links still run neck-and-neck with content for the number one position. This has led to “SEO” gamification which cannot last given AI’s rapid evolutionary rate. SEO-reliant companies that have put all of their eggs in one digital basket are exposed to an algorithmic sea change. – Ryan Blanch, Repute PR + Law

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3. MASTERING OMNICHANNEL SETUPS AND SYSTEMS

Digital marketing has become a juggernaut, making it difficult for marketing leaders to maintain mastery of all the systems and technologies a modern omnichannel discipline requires. It’s essential to craft a holistic vision of the customer experience—from consideration to advocacy—and ensure alignment across all parties involved. Keep reminding your team to look from the outside in. – Amaya Weddle, Instabot

4. DIGITAL MARKETING COST-FACTORS

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Digital marketing has become much more expensive, and in many cases can be lost in the noise that bombards people. While it is necessary and can be valuable, balance it out with owned channels that drive inherent value such as high-quality content, partnerships, and targeted account-based outreach. – Esther Kestenbaum Prozan, Flowspace, Inc.

5. TARGET AUDIENCE ADVERTISING

Privacy regulation is the number one risk that most leaders are facing in digital marketing. Today, most advertisers rely on very specific targeting to achieve results and these targeting options will likely decrease over time. In response, leaders should begin to explore alternative forms of advertising options, such as rewards-based advertising, to supplement existing marketing plans. – Fehzan Ali, Adscend Media LLC

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6. SATURATION AND GAMIFICATION

Saturation and gamification are equal risks. There’s a ton of noise the average person has to cut through on a day-to-day basis. That’s why we put a heavy emphasis on experience and community. You want people to feel something when dealing with your brand—something that lives with them. Something that causes them to tune out all that other noise and return to where they feel most comfortable and welcomed. – Richard RB Botto, Stage 32

7. DATA AND PRIVACY RULES

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Digital marketing is facing more intense government scrutiny on consumer tracking tools, which is leading to changes in data and privacy rules. With people spending even more time digitally, companies now have the opportunity to rethink where and how to spend their digital marketing dollars. A digital-first environment is providing legitimate alternatives which will eventually diffuse market concentration. – Eric Zavolinsky, INFERENTIAL FOCUS INC

8. SEGMENTATION AND PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCES

With the cookie crumbling and related consumer data and privacy concerns, many existing strategies for segmentation and personalization will fade. It’s nothing new and a long time coming, yet somehow many marketers are at one end of the spectrum, between being in a state of panic, or avoidance and denial. Resolve to be neither by creating a deliberate plan to migrate now to the highly-effective alternatives that are already out there. – Joseph Zito, (X)form Coaching & Consulting

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9. CLEAR COMMUNICATION

A lack of strategy and clear messaging is a huge risk for digital marketers. With so many avenues for communication today, from digital advertising to social media, and even more to come, each piece must align with the bigger strategy and brand messaging—or else what’s the point? Don’t just engage in “random acts of marketing.” Make sure each activity ties back to the defined strategy and messaging. – John McNelly, Quext

10. CUSTOMER RETENTION EFFORTS

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Digital marketing is facing a lot of risks. One major risk that digital marketers are facing is the lack of customer retention. This can be solved by creating long-term relationships with customers and not just focusing on short-term goals. Leaders need to prepare for these risks by being more in tune with the customer’s needs, listening to their customers, and communicating with them better. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

11. THE ABILITY TO ENGAGE IN REAL-TIME

The increasing amount of privacy measures around consumer data is causing many hiccups when targeting ads and content to audiences. To prepare, learn more about your audience and dive in to engage them in a real way. The algorithm will not always be in your favor. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

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12. HIGH-PROFILED INFLUENCERS

Digital marketing has hit a point where customers are so numb to a lot of the old tactics. A lot of newer and younger buyers are looking for influence on why they should be even buying a product. A review from someone they trust or some sort of re-affirming message that their call to purchase is right. With a lot of digital marketing strategies, it is just a numbers game and a lot of people are getting wise to it. – Tyler Angelos, Angelus Brand

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