To be an effective marketer in today’s digital age, you have to understand the basic concepts and strategies used by marketers online. Today’s marketer has to be a digital rainmaker, understanding that making digital rain is about the generation of business results online. Digital rain begins when marketers know how to generate customer leads and evaluate online consumer behavior data being generated digitally across multiple platforms and technologies. In essence, today’s digital rainmaker needs to know where and how to meet its customers with a digital handshake.
But those who aspire to be a digital rainmaker should have a basic understanding of marketing principles before they set out to making digital rain. They should understand that digital marketing is an exchange whereby one side creates a market to satisfy a consumer need in exchange for something of value. Most often, the value is currency, but it can also be a barter arrangement whereby the provider receives something in return that he or she perceives to be of equal value.
Before any transaction can occur, marketers must first assess what consumer needs or wants are either not currently being met or are only partially being satisfied. Product and/or service concepts are developed and tested to gain feedback on consumer acceptance and production viability. Then, the marketer has to determine what type of market there will be for the new or adapted product and calculate the cost/benefit of mass production based on forecasted sales targets and investment returns. Pricing, distribution, promotion and customer service need to be well thought out prior to launch.
With sound marketing knowledge as a basis, there’s also much more to being a successful online rainmaker than just creating a Facebook and Twitter account and pushing out promotional messages. Today’s digital rainmaker needs to know how to integrate traditional marketing principles with new platforms that target consumer behaviors, lifestyles pursuits and content consumption preferences online. The rainmaker needs to know everything possible about its target market. When and how often are they online? What do they search for and how do they interact with information? Who and what influences their product interests and purchasing decisions? Are they sharing or observing social content? And what technologies are helping or impeding their conversion probabilities?
These are just some of the countless questions online rainmakers are constantly seeking answers to in order to sharpen their digital marketing strategies. And like any other new platform, the key to success is understanding both the benefits and shortfalls of every marketing vehicle. YouTube might be a perfect channel for the marketing of restaurants or food products, given the visual nature of food preparation and setting. But technology product equipment discussions might be better suited for LinkedIn groups or technology forums.
Picking the right digital marketing channels is only the first hurdle, because it’s just as important to understand how consumers react to your attempts to interest them in something you’re offering. Are they apt to click through a paid search engine text ad, if the copy is intriguing? Will a rich media display ad on one of their favorite websites put them in your new leads category? Or is better to send them a time-based mobile incentive message to visit you when they’ve checked into a nearby establishment?
Once you’ve actually moved them through the online marketing funnel from awareness and information gathering to conversion, you’ve made it rain. But was it a light sun shower or a torrential downpour? It’s time to kick in your high-powered social customer relationship management (CRM) initiative to help encourage customer loyalty. Using site tracking tools, you can better serve their unique interests and only serve up relevant product offerings in your database marketing initiatives.
The digital rainmaker also needs to know how to make it easy for existing customers to share their favorable product experiences, encouraging online influencers to accelerate word of mouth marketing efforts. Social media is also being used as a 24/7 customer service channel by many brands. Rainmakers can and should immediately listen to and address any less than flattering feedback on popular channels like Twitter and Facebook.
Being a successful digital rainmaker requires basic marketing knowledge and experience, a positive stance on the art of salesmanship and an insatiable thirst for information and evaluation of metrics that can improve your efficiency.
I’m passionate about sharing insights and learning from my readers about the practical ways they’re using new digital and social media platforms to grow their businesses. Follow my regular posts by registering for email updates and embrace the digital raindance.
Al Quintana, aka, The Digital Raindance is a marketing and communications expert who has developed award-winning campaigns based on measurable business value for global brands and small businesses. As an adjunct professor of marketing at Miami Dade College, his expert blog highlights best practices in digital, social media marketing and new platforms that create new customer leads, improve existing customer engagement and secure conversions. Read and register for email updates at The Digital Raindance blog. You can also follow The Digital Raindance on Twitter @DgitalRaindance.