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Digital marketing has changed dramatically in the last few years. The current market demands marketing managers to be well-rounded and have deep knowledge of tens of different channels and strategies. There are hundreds of new platforms and channels popping up every year and if you want to be competitive you have to learn how to work with influencers, affiliates, create user-generated content, optimize your site for conversions, and master eCommerce and online marketplaces.

In this guide, we break down digital marketing and cover all of the top strategies, tools, and platforms, step-by-step.

But first, let's cover some of the recent changes in digital marketing, and how they are going to affect your business moving forward.

New digital consumers, new industries trends

Few technological revolutions have had as deep and wide of an impact on the world as the internet, and this of course applies as well to the world of business and marketing. Digital marketing has quickly become one of the critical tools and success factors of businesses of all sizes. We know how hard it is to figure out digital marketing, so we have created this comprehensive guide to help you make sense of it all and win the marketing game to help your business expand and thrive.

The digital age has led to significant new trends in various industries and dramatically changed the way consumers interact with businesses. The new digital consumer, and especially millennials, increasingly rely on the internet as their primary source of information and this presents an important opportunity for marketers and business owners.

While several years ago marketers may have viewed millennials as a specific niche market with unique needs that can be catered to separately from the core marketing strategy of the business, today as millennials grow up and enter the workforce they have become key to the future growth of businesses, and marketers are increasingly shifting their attention and efforts to this important consumer segment.

As a matter of fact, according to US Census projections, millennials are expected to outnumber baby boomers and for the first time make up the largest living generation in the US by 2019. Coupled with a growing portion of older generations who are also embracing the internet and becoming digital consumers at their own pace, we believe that one of the most critical and relevant missions of marketers today is to understand the needs of digital consumers and shape their marketing strategies accordingly.

Source: Pewresearch.org, 2018📷

So who exactly are these digital consumers and what do we need to know about them when defining our digital marketing strategy?

Digital Consumer Profile:

  • Always connected (83% of millennials sleep with their smartphone nearby)
  • Dependent on social media (the average consumer has seven social media accounts)
  • Short attention span (the average consumer scrolls 300 feet of social media content daily)
  • Increasingly willing to make mobile purchases (45% of ecommerce will be mobile by 2020)
  • Skeptical and tired of traditional advertising methods and channels (84% of millennials don’t trust traditional, impersonal and generic advertising)
  • Rely on influencer marketing and online reviews/recommendations (53% use mobile devices to look up products before purchasing)
  • Increasingly engage in brand advocacy and share their experiences with products online (44% of millennials are willing to share positive experiences with products and brands on social media in exchange for rewards)
  • Participate in loyalty and reward programs (77% of millennials actively seek and participate in such programs, and 33% admitted to buying things they didn’t need just to earn points or status in a membership program)
  • Expect personalized, targeted ads (78% of consumers like personalized ads and 54% find them more engaging than general ads)
  • Increasingly seek blended digital and physical experiences (for example, global ownership of stand-alone digital voice assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home grew by over 50% in 2018, and the number of owners in the US grew by a staggering 130%)

Source: Accenture digital consumer survey, 2018📷

Evolution of digital consumers in the 21st century

As the internet expands to billions of users in emerging and developing markets around the world, its level of influence on marketing and retail grows. The digital adoption path of different markets can be summarized by 3 stages, according to BCG:

  1. In the first stage, the internet is still gaining ground and becoming more prominent and consumers are just starting to seek out information that can influence their retail decisions from online sources.
  2. As the internet becomes more common, the market advances to the second stage and the level of digital influence increases dramatically. Consumers increasingly rely on online information to shape their retail decisions, but they still make the vast majority of purchases in traditional offline settings.
  3. Finally, as markets evolve to the third and most advanced digital stage, consumers are heavily influenced by the internet and it plays a crucial and primary role in retail decisions. Consumers not only consult digital sources to seek information that will influence their buying behavior, but the share of e-retail from total retail spending begins to increase as well.

The evolution of the digital consumer in the 21st century can be summarized by 3 major shifts that occurred over the past several years:

  1. Moments of Truth
  2. Zero Moment of Truth
  3. Accelerated Loyalty Journey

Source: Think with Gooogle zero moment of truth macro study📷

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