Thinking of venturing into the world of marketing? Marketing has changed a lot in recent years, and that’s mostly down to the rise of advanced technologies. It’s no longer the race to get the best billboard poster or biggest newspaper ad, but a push for the highest-ranking website page. All of these technological changes have turned copyeditors into SEO experts, page designers into graphic animators and television producers into YouTube broadcasters. It’s an incredibly exciting time to join the marketing industry, but also a time where most marketing agencies are looking to stay ahead of the curve as possible.
A shift away from print
When we think of marketing the first image that may come to mind is printed adverts and banners, and television advertisements and campaigns. While that aspect of marketing still exists – in terms of advertising still playing a huge role in the marketing world – marketing has had a huge overhaul in recent years.
Companies used to largely hire marketing agencies to design them plush members’ magazines to sit on coffee tables and give guests in reception something to browse through. Members magazines do still exist, but they tend to belong to brands with a die-hard following. Other types of print publishing such as brochures and table-top magazines are now seeing a migration from print to digital. If you are re-joining the marketing world after a hiatus, there are a few things to get clued up on.
A focus on SEO
SEO or search engine optimization is just one of the ways in which marketing agencies are going digital. The way that companies ‘optimize’ their ranking in search engine results is by link building, which effectively means building the number of links that link to and from your company’s website. The way this is done is by creating hyperlinks on static pages, such as a page on your website, or features such as blogs.
In any marketing department, it’s key that you stay on top of new techniques and any updates from Google. The reason for this is that popular search engine websites such as Google tend to call the shots in terms of what is deemed ‘good’ and ‘bad’ links. Google has more than 200 ranking signals in their algorithms, and this effects how they rank sites. Link building with relevant and up-to-date sites will show both Google and page visitors that your company’s site is valid and trustworthy. Not using safe or trustworthy links comes at a cost. Using non-related or ad-littered websites ‘pollutes’ Google’s algorithms and your company’s site will be chucked far down in what the search engine deems as reliable.
The reason for such a big shift to the online world is because customers and users are naturally more inclined to use a service is easily accessible and convenient. It’s also why websites are putting more information online than seen before. Knowing how to link build and use keywords is a valuable asset in any digital marketing team.
Investigating new technologies
Digital marketing doesn’t just refer to using plenty of keywords and moving all content online. It also refers to the progression in technology and the way that information and products are being presented. As the audience becomes more sophisticated, so must the direction of the advertising and marketing. Here are a few technologies that might be worth investigating and investing in:
VR, or virtual reality, has existed for longer than it has been trendy. Although you might argue that VR was previously never taken seriously as a way of displaying content, its rise has been prominent. Not only has VR been used by companies, but more than ever it has entered the home as an extension of a games console. It has been argued that it is not to be underestimated in the marketing field either, with one source claiming: “We should expect Virtual Reality to become a lot more prominent in marketing and advertising campaigns.”
• Voice Search
It used to be seen as borderline space age for a phone or machine to be able to recognize a name of the phrase ‘call home.’ However, more and more technologies are using this feature, and if you end up working for a marketing department that works with phone apps, this is something worth considering. It would be naïve to say that voice-recognition isn’t valued in marketing.
• Machine Learning
Just like voice searching, machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence, or AI. If the company you’re working with calls for it, such as a tech company, face recognition might be a great way of adding to a campaign. Otherwise, machine learning is currently being used in other, less obvious ways in marketing campaigns. Charlie Cole, Chief Digital Officer at Tumi, explains the benefits of behavior prediction to Digiday: “We knew recent browser behavior, email open rates, search behavior — it’s far more predictive than past purchase. What I bought yesterday isn’t always going to predict what I buy today. To get to that layer, you have to combine his purchase history with his browser behavior and email open rates. That’s what AI can do.”
Being visible on social media
Whether you become the social media coordinator, or you end up hiring someone to do the job, it is vital that your marketing department utilizes these platforms. Not being on social media today is the 80s equivalent of not owning a Filofax ¬– it just shouldn’t be done. It’s not only integral to the reputation of your marketing department, but vital to maintain customer engagement. Ensuring that customers or other businesses can find you on any platform shows that you want engagement and that you’re serious about promoting the company’s brand.
It’s also crucial that you use a social media platform that is appropriate for the brand or company you are representing. If your marketing department is for B2B only, then something more corporate such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn would be more apt. If you’re marketing for a brand which is much more poppy and upbeat, then using visuals on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat will attract a far more appropriate audience. Using hashtags and inviting followers to respond to questions will help push you to the top of result pages for certain searches, too.
Further to the point of print publishing being in decline; most print publications used to make their money by advertisement placement. Sales teams would spend their entire days calling up every relevant company to see if they will sell your agency a full or half-page ad. This does still exist, and it’s likely that some of your sales team will be devoted to this. However, modern times call for modern money-making methods, and here are just a few ways that companies market themselves online.
• Affiliate links
As mentioned before, times have changed, and what was once a print out of a product now takes the form of an affiliate link. These are sometimes sniffed at, which is wise to ignore if you’re considering creating revenue online. Neil Patel explains this method succinctly: “The idea behind it is that you promote other people’s products, often through an affiliate network, earning a commission if people actually end up buying thanks to your marketing.” Both parties earn a share of the revenue using this method.
• Internet ads
Google Adwords and Facebook Ads are examples of advertising platforms that allow you to promote your product using internet advertising. Both platforms use their data information to target the ads that your product appears in to ensure that it reaches the right people. You will also receive important stats about how well your ads are performing and who it is reaching.
• Product placement
It is the generation of the influencer, which means that marketing agencies and companies alike have harnessed the revenue-source that is online creators. Investopedia describes this method of marketing as ‘embedded marketing.’ This method of marketing is relatively self-explanatory, and you will have likely seen it more prominently in things such as music videos or movies – particularly if you get more than just a glimpse of a branded watch or food brand etc. This method catches people’s attention, as it’s claimed that people tend to ignore adverts most of the time anyway. A sophisticated product drop in a YouTuber’s video or Instagram influencer’s post could reach the audience your client is after.
Modernized customer engagement
Social media, as previously mentioned, it just one way of encouraging engagement with any brand you work with. Customers will want to rank, comment, like and share information on any social media platform available if they have the option. On top of this, marketing is also seeing the rise of chatbots. While AI is being used to improve the audience reach of certain products, it is also being used as a way of interacting with customers. Part of any marketing strategy should be to keep customers engaged and feel as if they’ve been listened to and online chatbots are a cost-effective way of ensuring that questions are answered without putting extra strain on your sales team. Chatbots not only simulate the experience of talking to a helpful customer service advisor, but they also collect data and ‘learn’ from previous exchanges from customers. Marketing departments now have an entire of wing of customer engagement that takes little-to-no people power.
Many people make their way into marketing through creative experience, but it’s wise to ensure that you have a qualification to your name in an industry that is more digitally-focused. Getting a qualification that brings you up-to-speed with all the modern methods of the industry is a wise move for employment potential. Taking time to undergo training, such as a RMIT online Master of Marketing from RMIT University online will not only make you more employable but will make you a far more reliable leader and director in this fast-changing sector.
While your marketing qualification might be modern and up-to-date, keeping both you and your team trained is absolutely crucial in this now ever-changing industry. Designers will need to be trained on the latest Adobe software and editors will need to be taught the SEO basics. Being up-to-date with software and methodologies will keep the company ahead of the curve when it comes to their marketing strategy. Ensuring that you have the fundamental knowledge to back your strategies also ensures that everyone will be heading in the right direction.
With all the technological updates in mind, there’s one thing that remains the same: teamwork. A campaign or rebrand can’t be designed and executed by just one tech-savvy marketer. Marketing is an industry which is frequented by creative types. Just because marketing teams spend less time around the literal drawing board doesn’t mean that interpersonal work relationships aren’t crucial to a marketing team’s success. When it comes to creating a campaign or what a website should look like, you will rely on the people around you to keep bouncing ideas off of each other. While it’s easy to believe that your creative direction is key to the brand’s success, hearing other people’s angles and interpretations is what makes for a truly multi-dimensional campaign. Collaboration and communication can see new ideas come to fruition that may not have materialized if you worked alone.
Similar to the aforementioned industry of client publishing, marketing comes with plenty of deadlines. This means that sometimes you will be working late nights with your team to get a piece of work finished, or to finish last-minute amends from a client.
As with any industry, the fundamentals will stay the same to a certain extent. Keeping customers happy, understanding your main audience and understanding the client’s brand are all still crucial to any marketing team. However, marketing has become more technologically sophisticated in recent years, which has meant that people with new, modern skills are being recruited into agencies’ teams. With the right training and education, any person can become a digital marketer and any department can be upgraded.