No industry has experienced the revolution and disruption of technology more than marketing.
Digital marketing in the past decade has transformed how businesses develop and implement marketing strategy. Where once television, print, radio, billboards and direct mail dominated the industry, the emphasis now is on reaching consumers through the digital world.
That’s because, increasingly, that’s where consumers spend their time and do their shopping. The number of online shoppers in the United States reached 209.6 million in 2016. It’s estimated to reach 230.5 million by 2021, making the U.S. one of the largest markets for online consumers in the world, according to Statista.
Knowing this, New England College has developed an MBA in Digital Marketing that prepares graduates for leadership roles in this rapidly expanding area of marketing. For those interested in working in digital marketing, here are some of the ways it is transforming business.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Digital marketing has helped to level the playing field in a competitive marketplace. Because online marketing rewards focused effort, not huge budgets, small and mid-size businesses in local markets can compete for their share of consumers. Certainly, larger companies can put more resources into digital marketing. However, those with MBAs in digital marketing can find jobs with full-service digital marketing agencies that cater to small or mid-size businesses just as well as they can find positions with larger companies.
Data Is King
Data collection and analysis is now key to success in marketing. Data is used in many ways. Digital marketers must develop expertise in all of them. Some of those ways include the following three.
Data allows companies to create subgroups of consumers based on demographics and behavioral patterns, which in turn leads to creation of targeted marketing campaigns.
Maintaining analytics on a site can show the importance (or unimportance) of certain web pages, how people are entering a site, how they are exiting a site, and whether landing and conversion pages are working, among many other issues.
What exclusive deals brought in new clients? Did a rewards program lower the churn rate, leading to more retention of loyal customers? Did the targeted email campaign work as intended? Data can provide answers to these and other questions that help identify marketing efforts that are successful.
Social media sites are where many of today’s customers spend a great deal of time – some of it spent communicating about the products and services they buy. It presents a golden opportunity to start a conversation with customers and potential customers, rather than just speaking at them with a marketing campaign.
Creating a social media presence and using it to launch conversations with customers is now crucial to success. But it requires time, commitment and the expertise of digital marketers. The payoff is having satisfied customers online, evangelizing your product or service with their social media circle.
If handled well, digital marketing can cut down the costs of traditional advertising and promotion. Areas such as content management and search engine optimization can bring in customers without having to spend on traditional methods of advertising or marketing.
Of course, the digital world can cut both ways. While there is almost unlimited potential in getting free advertising by “word of mouth” means online, one disparaging review on Google, Yelp or the many other review sites can hurt a business’ reputation. Smart digital marketers know to monitor this situation. Answering customers complaints – and acknowledging their praise – is a hallmark of sound online reputation management.
These are some of the areas where digital marketing is changing how businesses approach reaching consumers. As more increase their spending on digital marketing, those with an MBA in the field will position themselves for some of the most challenging and rewarding careers that marketing has to offer.