There’s no denying the power of digital marketing methods and the added effectiveness and flexibility that they bring to the sales process. Just consider that, according to Ibis World, the web design market is worth $24 billion in the US alone.
Digital marketing versus traditional sales methods
But when it comes to the tried and trusted sales and marketing methods, are they ready to be shelved completely? While CMOs are saying that digital marketing spend will take up three quarters of their budget within the next five years, the fact is that digital marketing doesn’t necessarily need to replace traditional sales and marketing tactics. Instead, the two can work together to form a more cohesive and comprehensive marketing approach. Employing a multi-pronged strategy can help ensure that various touch points are created throughout the customer journey and that they are perfectly timed and executed.
This is not to say that the methods and strategies will be the same across industries and markets. Instead, it depends on the nature of the sector and the digital maturity of the organisation. For example, there are still industries where face-to-face meetings can’t be replaced such as the construction industry where relationships are built and sustained offline. However, when it comes to other industries, such as retail, there already countless examples of organisations who use purely digital sales and marketing methods.
Personalisation is still key
Overall, digital marketing enables organisations to get up close and personal with their customers, helping to understand them and their needs, and ultimately how to improve engagements. The overriding aim of digital marketing is to provide customers with the best possible experience, and often this is accomplished through the high levels of personalisation — based on browsing behaviour, past purchases, and so on.
Personalisation can be further enhanced through the use of a number of digital marketing tools such as marketing automation and lead scoring. Marketing automation leads to more conversions — Aberdeen Group says companies that use this strategy convert 53% more leads and report higher market growth than those companies that don’t. Organisations can tailor their approaches to defined audiences and deliver different messages at the most opportune time in order to maximise conversions.
By using sophisticated CRM and CMS systems, organisations can add personalisation, and other features, to complement traditional sales methods, like cold calling and direct mailing. However, given the instantaneous nature of digital marketing and the wide use of tools like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content personalisation and automation, offline approaches won’t be able to fully keep up in terms of matching products and services to demand and requirements.
Getting personalisation to work
Ensuring that the two sides of the marketing coin work together can be tricky, especially when an organisation is embracing a digital transformation strategy and employees that are used to certain operational practices need to adapt. This is where working with a highly skilled, technical vendor becomes crucial. Organisations can take advantage of the skills and capabilities of these vendors to ensure that all relevant platforms, like CRM and CMS, payment gateways and stock systems, are properly integrated with one another. Just as important, is getting internal stakeholder buy-in, i.e. ensuring that all key personnel are fully involved and knowledgeable about how digital and marketing offline sales methods can work effectively in tandem.
Making sure that they have a unified approach, encompassing both digital and traditional tactics, can help organisations deliver those elevated levels of personalisation across the board and help improve the overall customer experience.
Digital marketing is growing, and growing quickly. But perhaps the key thing to remember when it comes to marketing is that digital needn’t be seen as a revolution — effectively replacing what went before — but rather as evolution. A gradual industry change where new and old methods can complement one another and be used to improve personalisation, the customer experience, and ultimately sales figures.
By Robert Yardy, Head of New Business and Marketing, MMT Digital, they design and build bespoke websites and applications.