The Five Pillars of Digital Marketing
By Dan Burrus
Advertising today is experiencing a period of profound and
accelerated transformation. Technologies such as blogs, podcasts,
and streaming video are permanently changing consumer attitude and
behavior. The good news is that this transformation creates
opportunities for everyone in terms of advertising. The key,
however, is to integrate the tried and true “old media” outlets with
the emerging “new media” to get more consumer engagement and better
results from your advertising dollars.
advertisers now realize that the trend is not going from old
media outlets to new media outlets; rather, the trend is
about combining the two media outlets so they work in harmony
with each other. That is, the old media (TV, radio, and magazines)
can be used to get the advertising message out into the marketplace,
while the new media (online options) get the consumers’ engagement
before you rush out and start integrating your advertising, you need
to first understand some basic tenets or pillars of digital
marketing. These pillars are the foundation of your online ad
campaign and give some much needed discipline to digital marketing.
Use the following five pillars to enhance the engagement and
response of your digital marketing campaign so you can successfully
integrate your old and new media approaches.
Pillar #1: Personalization: Consumers will be more interested in
your ad if it addresses their specific needs and interests. The
question is, how do you personalize an ad that’s going out to
millions of people? Fortunately, with digital marketing, you can
personalize. In fact, the Internet allows for ever increasing ways
to target and create personal experiences and ads for consumers.
example, let’s suppose you’re a pet food manufacturer. You could run
a radio ad about your pet food (old media). At the end of your ad
you direct people to your web site to download coupons for free pet
food (directing them to new media). Once visitors enter your site,
you can ask them two or three short questions, such as whether they
have a dog or a cat, how many of each type of pet they have, and
ages of their pets. Just by knowing those three small pieces of
information, you know a lot about that consumer and can then
customize the coupons and future ads you direct to that person.
remember that junk advertising is really good advertising that went
to the wrong person. By personalizing your advertising to your
consumers, you greatly reduce the amount of junk advertising you
invest in and you give people a meaningful experience with your
company. Even better, when you can personalize someone’s experience
on your web site, it’s like getting permission to market to them.
They actually want to know what you have to offer.
Ask yourself: How can we use targeting and personalization to
introduce a new product and grow brand loyalty?
Pillar #2: Communities: Two types of online communities
exist: communities of interest and communities of practice. A
community of practice may be all the salespeople in a company or
industry, or a group of cardiologists. It’s a professional type of
community where members share their ideas and best practices.
A community of interest may be people who love dogs, sailboats, or
even motorcycles. It’s a hobby-type of environment where people
share similar interests or passions. You can even get granular when
it comes to communities of interest. For example, you can narrow
down your motorcycle community to one that only includes people who
drive a Harley Davidson Heritage Soft Tail Classic. The more
granular you get, the more targeted you can be in giving people what
they would like rather than the junk they don’t want.
Purina has an online community for both dog and cat owners. It
provides expert advice and creates a place where dog or cat owners
can enter a community of other dog or cat owners to share
information. By setting up such a community, Purina can target their
ads to the specific needs of the group. Every day, eight million pet
lovers visit the community of their choice. That’s a lot of exposure
and potential pet food purchases!
Ask yourself: How can hosting an electronic community of interest
enhance customer interest in our products or services?
Pillar #3: Intelligent Multimedia Search: Internet searches
are going through a metamorphosis. It’s no longer about typing a
term into a search engine and being satisfied with sifting through
the thousands, if not millions, of pages of results. Search is
getting intelligent and is taking into account more than just web
Intelligent Multimedia Search gives you the ability to search the
Internet (or your computer) for text, graphics, video, animation,
and sound using simple commands. Even better, intelligent search
uses software to help the user narrow the search down to find
exactly what he or she is looking for. With this technology, people
can use natural language or simple questions to find exactly what
they want. For example, people could search their computer, their
network, or the entire Internet for a segment of a video or audio
recording, and retrieve it quickly.
All the major search engines are working diligently to make
searching more intelligent so people get more customized results. As
an advertiser, this means you can even target specific geographic
locations online. So let’s say that you have retail stores in ten
different cities. You could make it so that your ads appear only
when a search originates from a city where you have a store. That
makes your ad more relevant to the online consumer searching for the
product or service you offer.
Ask yourself: How can we use search to help consumers solve
problems and find product information, including photographs, audio,
and video, faster?
Pillar #4: Content: As technology evolves, new forms of
content emerge. Just a few short years ago, a podcast didn’t exist.
Today, they’re taking over the digital world. And once podcasts took
root, it wasn’t long until we had video podcasts. The same thing
happened with blogs, where we now have video blogs. We even have
places like myspace.com and youtube.com where average people can
create and post videos.
all the software needed to create these new types of content is
virtually free (much of it comes pre-loaded on computers today),
anyone can create video or audio and unleash their creativity. As
such, advertisers can stimulate users to create content that does
the advertising for them. For example, one of the recent Super Bowl
ads was created by a young consumer. The company ran a contest
calling for people to create their own ad for the company’s product.
The grand prize winner got his or her ad broadcast during the Super
Bowl. Remarkably, that winning ad ranked the third best of all the
Super Bowl ads, and the company didn’t spend a dime producing it.
yourself: How can we use different forms of content, produced by
both professionals and amateurs, to create interest in our products?
Pillar #5: Interactivity: In the past, advertising was static.
Users would sit back passively and read or watch an ad. Today,
people are interacting with digital content, clicking on icons,
moving things around, playing games, adding content, and in some
cases creating their own content. Anytime you can get people to go
beyond reading and start clicking, you’re getting consumers engaged.
And engagement is the key to creating a positive outcome—action in
the form of a sale.
yourself: How can we add interactivity to our ads?
Five for Your Campaign to Thrive: As you create and implement
your old and new media advertising campaign, ask yourself if you’re
making use of all five pillars. If you’re not able to use them all,
then decide which ones will serve you best as you integrate old and
new media outlets. Remember, a new world of advertising is dawning,
and the new tools are available to all. Use them. If you don’t, your
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about Daniel Burrus.
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