July 23, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Marketing is an evolving practice that changes with cultural trends and human behavior. Whether your company works primarily in print, digital, or hybrid marketing, using a marketing platform can help elevate your efforts to reach more clients and customers through all channels.
A marketing platform is a framework that helps create and analyze marketing experiences through different channels. The primary goal of these platforms is to drive customer engagement. Marketing platforms are structures that allow companies to leverage and maximize their resources so that they can create more cohesive marketing campaigns.
A digital marketing platform uses technology to assess the creation and performance of a marketing campaign. It includes tools that provide business and technological capabilities to support multiple marketing department functions. These platforms often integrate or partner with other applications and data sources. While digital marketing platforms may not include tools for every component of digital marketing, they typically address those that cover function-centric elements like optimization, brand tracking, media buying, and performance measurement.
Digital marketing is any marketing initiative that uses online media, the internet, and devices like mobile phones or personal computers to share branding and advertising information with the public. Digital marketing campaigns may focus on content and media for websites, email, social media, search engines, or apps. One primary goal of digital marketing is to reach customers with conversion-centric messages in multiple channels and track the progress toward conversion milestones.
Digital marketing is important because today’s consumers spend a lot of time online. In fact, studies show that nearly 30% of consumers prefer to interact with brands online or through social channels rather than visiting an in-person store. Luckily, there is an abundance of marketing technology that can help companies reach their audience through their preferred channels at any time.
It’s also important to note that digital marketing doesn’t automatically eliminate the need for print marketing. Using both methods may help you reach as many people as you can through as many channels as possible.
There are multiple types of digital marketing that you can use to connect with consumers online. Some options include:
Affiliate marketing is a practice that combines referral programs and influencer marketing in order to create agreements with outside parties. These agreements allow these parties to promote your products or services for a commission on each sale they make. For example, a YouTube personality may engage in affiliate marketing with a fashion label. They may film a demonstration video while wearing the company’s clothes and then provide viewers with a discount code to shop at the fashion company’s online store. These types of codes allow you to credit sales to a specific affiliate.
This practice can save money on promotional costs, but it requires trust in your affiliate network to uphold your brand’s reputation. Those who engage in affiliate marketing may spend more time monitoring and tracking data than those who use other digital marketing practices.
Content marketing is a useful tool when trying to increase organic views and search traffic for your website and other digital channels. Content marketing teams create videos, blog posts, infographics, or other written and visual pieces to provide tips, information, or other value to consumers. Some marketing teams may create this content in-house, while others use contract and consulting services like CopyPress’ blog post content writing option. Content marketing often addresses the three stages of the consumer journey, which are:
For example, a consumer may decide they want to install a ceiling fan in their bedroom. They realize they can either go to their local hardware store and browse available options or look online to compare their models. They conduct an online search and find an informative article from a ceiling fan manufacturer about the best features for a bedroom fan. The consumer compares the company’s models with their needs and purchases from the company’s online store.
Email marketing allows you to share your marketing efforts with a group of people who have typically already consented to communication with your company. Sources say that 73% of millennials prefer communications with businesses to come through email rather than through other channels. Additionally, you can use software to integrate information like purchase history or brand engagements into your email marketing, which allows you to customize newsletters and other mailers to different demographics or groups within your target audience. Some of this information can even help you pinpoint the wants or needs of individual subscribers.
For example, a consumer may purchase a new kitchen appliance from a home goods retailer online. During checkout, they may create an account and consent to receiving email notifications about promotions and sales. The home goods store can then collect and store the customer’s purchase information for marketing purposes, which can help the marketing department create personalized email advertisements for the customer with other products they may enjoy.
Influencer marketing is a popular digital marketing trend on social media platforms that involves partnering with high-profile content creators to endorse a brand or product. Research indicates that 70% of teens say that they trust influencers’ reviews and endorsements about products more than traditional celebrities. Even more so, 49% of all consumers say they depend on influencer recommendations before making a purchase.
Partnering with an influencer can help put a product or service in front of a large target audience. For example, an Instagram influencer may partner with a local escape room and document their experience playing the game on social media for their followers to see.
Mobile marketing strategies take place exclusively via mobile devices. Mobile marketing may also include other digital marketing tools and strategies such as content marketing or influencer endorsements. However, the difference is that mobile marketing engagements exist only through things like text messages, social media, push notifications, apps, and email. For example, a record store may send text messages to its subscriber list to announce new album releases each week and any associated special events.
PPC advertising allows marketers to purchase internet ad space to drive traffic to their websites or social channels. Many websites, search engines, and social media channels host PPC ads that appear in banners, feeds, or at the top of search engine results pages (SERP). Prices for ads may vary depending on their type or location. For example, a dentist’s office that uses PPC ads to appear at the top of a SERP for the search query “dentists near me” may pay a fee each time someone clicks the ad to visit their website.
Search engine marketing focuses on the strategies that drive organic traffic from SERPs. According to iMPACT, the first five organic results on a SERP account for 67.6% of all the clicks for a keyword search. Those who engage in SEM work to optimize their web content for certain keywords and create a preferable user experience so that search engine crawlers can easily find and index their content.
For example, a pet store may optimize a landing page to appear for the keyword search “gourmet dog treats in Atlanta” so that their content appears on the first page of SERPs for that phrase.
Social media marketing takes place on websites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and TikTok. The average social media user has about 8 accounts and spends about 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on platforms. For these reasons, it’s common for brands to be active across all channels and pay attention to the emergence of new platforms so that they can engage customers wherever they are online.
With social media marketing, you can use paid ads and sponsored content and segment them to appear on your target audience members’ feeds. Most platforms have the capabilities to let you place ads by location, interest, or age. This is good for organically promoting products and services as well as engaging with consumers, answering customer services questions, and providing quality content.
Having a quality social media presence can also help you build a brand and establish a voice for your company. Explore CopyPress’ eBook on social media content curation to learn how to integrate your digital marketing strategies with an optimal curation process.
Though similar in purpose, changes in the marketing climate have influenced a shift from print marketing platforms to digital marketing platforms. Some of these changes include the following shifts:
Print marketing platforms are typically specific to different types of channels, such as magazine ads or billboards. In the digital landscape, people move across channels quickly and expect consistent branding and marketing on each one. Companies that hope to uphold these new standards use digital marketing platforms to create consistent branding strategies that they can implement in all places from one hub.
Print marketing often targets the general consumer. While print marketers may have an ideal demographic for a buyer or user in mind, they’re creating content around a generalized group rather than an individual person. Digital marketing technology, conversely, allows companies to reach individuals by collecting their data and using tools to increase conversions. Personalized marketing has become standard in the digital industry, and digital marketing platforms allow for this kind of cohesive, targeted experience across all channels.
Print marketing often focuses on campaigns that follow a specific timeline. These campaigns launch on a certain date, run for a designated period, and then get replaced by the next campaign on the marketer’s schedule. In contrast, digital marketing focuses more heavily on the consumer’s schedule, meaning new information can become available 24/7, depending on their needs.
Because of this, digital marketing relies on continuous conversions that marketers can implement and consumers can follow any time across coordinated channels. For example, a marketing campaign may advertise a new model of smartwatches, but a digital conversion may invite consumers to “shop now” to browse both new and standard models.
When targeting a general consumer group in print marketing, you often use demographic data such as age, gender, and general geographic location. While this data is still important in digital marketing, it’s the basis for a form of greater behavioral targeting. Users of smart devices, social media, and the internet share a lot of their personal information online and often provide technology permissions to track their habits and behaviors. Marketers then use digital marketing platforms to access, collect, and store this information to create highly personalized content across their channels.
While print marketing does use basic data to plan campaigns and target consumers, it may be more limited than what’s available for digital marketing. Print marketing platforms may rely on intuition to shape campaigns, while digital marketing platforms offer an abundance of easily accessible data about past initiatives that marketers can access, store, record, and annotate to help shape their next campaigns or conversion strategies.
When looking for a quality digital marketing platform, consider the following elements and their relevance to your campaigns:
All-in-one digital marketing platforms can generally track customers, contacts, and context across all social, mobile, and digital channels. They can also turn that information into a data hub from which you can pull information for different purposes. They may also support other functions of your marketing department such as planning calendars, coordinating content, shaping the marketing budget, and tracking investments.
Good digital marketing platforms let you design and coordinate your customer experiences and how they progress through their journey with your company. Programs may allow you to distribute relevant, personalized content across channels. They may also provide data options that allow you to track and segment users.
Marketing best practices and strategies evolve constantly. Therefore, a good digital marketing platform provides guidance, tips, and support to help new and veteran marketers stay current in the industry. Some companies may also offer other resources like training or module-based learning programs to help with this initiative.
Data quality is important for creating the most effective marketing campaigns. Programs that provide timely and widely representative data are important for making informed, strategic decisions. They’re even more important if you use the platform to source data across second- and third-party sources, as these programs can ensure that all figures are accurate and easy to understand.
As you work to distribute your content digitally, you may use third-party apps or services for different aspects of your campaigns. Consider a platform that integrates with programs you currently use or has compatibility with many programs to give you more creative freedom. Also, consider platforms that pull data from a variety of sources to help you better understand who sees and interacts with your content and ads.
Most marketing departments often run both digital and print campaigns simultaneously. Programs that offer the capability to input offline campaign data or that integrate with a related offline solution can be beneficial. This can make your overall marketing strategy move more seamlessly among channels.
Using a quality digital marketing platform can have a variety of benefits, such as:
Marketing platforms can come with a variety of features and functions, so choose the one that compliments your content marketing strategy best. All-in-one marketing platforms offer several functions that allow customers to get many features without purchasing different systems, while digital marketing tools may handle only one aspect of marketing, such as social media, graphic design, email marketing, or SEO. In either category, platforms may be specific to the types of markets, channels, or industries they serve.
Your marketing strategy and needs may determine which solution is right for your company. With that said, here are 50 marketing platforms you can explore:
Understanding your company’s specific marketing needs can help you decide which type of marketing platform is right for you. Choosing an all-in-one platform, a suite of individualized tools, or a combination can help you stay current as marketing trends change in the digital age.
More from the author: