The digital era is well and truly here. We are at the point where spend for marketing and advertising on digital is matching that of its traditional counterparts. Being competitive in today’s digital environment isn’t merely a choice; it’s more a way to survive. This week, Search Factory was fortunate enough to attend a forum in Melbourne that was hosted by AIMIA, an association that is dedicated to supporting and promoting the Australian digital industry. While there, we listened to a number of talks centered around the future of the industry. I would like to share some of the key points I took from the event and, more importantly, how they are applicable to your business.

Complexity is no Longer the Driver of a Winning Market

For decades we have seen marketing firms and agencies cater to every sector of marketing, from digital to traditional and everything in between. While popular at the time, these large multi-faceted agencies are unable to provide the unparalleled intelligence and experience of an agency that can specialise in one particular sector, and this makes sense. An agency that spreads resources thinly over multiple areas to capture more of your marketing budget isn’t going to be beneficial to your bottom line. You will see the emergence of agencies like Search Factory who truly understand and own their sector. Search Factory live, breathe and think online marketing. Yes, it is true that you are likely to be shelling out more dollars due to the lack of bulk buying. However, you are also likely to see ROI and find yourself gaining cutting-edge industry knowledge and skills. So next time you are in search of a marketing agency, think about what you want and who can truly deliver the results you are looking for.

Data-driven, Strategic Content is the Way Forward

Probably my most favourite point from the forum was: data-driven strategies that add benefit to your audience should be what drives your content. Being a content marketer, we can be prone to underestimating the importance of data analysis and instead focus on only creative aspects. Don’t get me wrong – you have to continue to be creative with your content. However, if you are unable to direct it at the appropriate audience, your content marketing strategy will never realise its full potential.

Content is being produced at an alarming rate, leading to content saturation. To successfully connect with an audience, you need to know them inside and out. Start to understand what makes them tick – what they are interested in? What is their attention span like? Are they a visual, audio or text-based audience? These are the types of questions you need to answer in order to cut through the saturation and gain positive results. One speaker said, “Something of somewhere is nothing of nowhere” and this can’t be any more on point.

PR & Story Telling is Key

Before I wrap up, I want to touch on the idea of online PR and storytelling. The Internet is this great tool that allows you to interact with the customers who want to interact with you. But how do you get them to be interested? One way to engage your audience is through storytelling. Successful brands are able to tell a story that effectively conveys their persona without appearing overly promotional. Want to see this in action? Check out the Adidas ‘Jump for D’Rose’ video below. This video is able to highlight the ethos of the Adidas brand without using traditional sales signals; it imbues emotions that everyone can relate to, whether you are in the market for basketball shoes or not.

Along with the points above, one thing became very apparent at the forum: digital is here to stay, the modern characteristics of digital marketing being fast paced and hyper competitive shouldn’t deter you from underutilising this marketing channel. Done right, it can be a driving force for your future ROI. How bright is your digital future?