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The digitization of the marketing industry has upended traditional formats and led to an increased demand for personalized consumer experiences.
It can be daunting as an established traditional marketer to adapt to the new technologies and approaches of the digital marketing industry. Key platforms and best practices can shift rapidly, leaving even the most experienced marketer feeling adrift. From one side of the fence, the ever-changing nature of the digital environment can seem like a negative, rather than a positive, but it is rife with opportunities for your career and business.
If you’re considering upskilling or moving from traditional to digital marketing, this blog will provide you with an overview of the field to help you identify your transferable skills.
Traditional Vs. Digital Marketing
Digital has brought about a seismic shift in the way we approach our potential customers, placing more control in their hands when it comes to how they consume their advertising.
Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are fast becoming the norm in major marketing campaigns and it can sometimes feel as though everything is evolving too quickly to keep pace with.
Though there are plenty of differences between traditional and digital that are worth discussing, here are three key points that stand out:
1. Consumers are More Empowered
One new type of marketing that is booming is micro-moment marketing. When we understand marketing in the context of this newly defined approach, we can get a feel for the way in which digital marketing needs to be approached differently than traditional advertising.
Micro-moment marketing is a generalized term for the type of searches that consumers are increasingly conducting today. They are no longer reacting to ads that are placed in front of them; instead, they are doing several quick, short searches every day. In this manner, digital marketers today face the challenge of finding consumers in a certain moment, rather than being able to catch their eye with, say, an ad on TV that the consumer is already in front of.
2. Metrics are More Accurate
Digital marketing professionals need to be able to track and report on their metrics on a regular basis. Although the very technical side of this process will likely be handled by a given team’s analyst, every person on a digital marketing team needs to have a solid understanding of how these metrics can be used to inform their marketing strategy and build brand awareness.
This type of tracking was never possible with traditional advertising, though it could be comparable to TV viewings and ratings, or the number of newspapers sold. Today, there’s much more accurate tracking and reporting available, which leaves room for creating highly targeted ad campaigns.
3. Demographics are Different
Globally, users are engaging with brands in an entirely different way than they used to. This has to do with a number of factors, but it stands to reason that, compared to something like a billboard of the past, there’s a much broader audience presence today than there was. Users are more dynamic than ever before, and any information you post online, at least in theory, has the potential to reach a global audience. This means that things are different competitively as well as in the way that users are interacting with a given brand or bit of information.
The Blended Digital Marketing Strategy
Some companies and agencies are still going for a blended strategy, and this can work. For instance, it's highly likely that you know how big Super Bowl Ads are, there’s absolutely still money to be made in this field if you’re really dedicated.
In general, the days of loud TV commercials being profitable are becoming a thing of the past as consumers develop more and more control over their social media streams. With this in mind, businesses are obligated to pay attention to the rise of this type of consumer behavior.
The good thing is that as an experienced professional in the traditional marketing space you can still apply your talents to agencies that regularly use a blended strategy which combines online and offline marketing techniques. Businesses these days are turning to digital marketing out of necessity - but that doesn’t mean traditional marketing is dead.
The Most Transferable Skills for Advertising Professionals
You don’t need to know how to code a website if you’re going to be in a leadership or creative position in this field, but you’ll need to be comfortable with the basics to inform your strategy. You’ll need to be able to communicate these details to clients in an understandable way.
Creative: If you can write persuasively, you will be an asset to almost any company. And if you have in-house experience in a major ad firm, you have an extraordinary advantage over the many millennial-aged people that are seeking to enter the creative digital workforce mainly because you will have a solid, professional portfolio where they will not.
Copywriting: This skill that is needed for almost any type of business. Web copy can go a long way to building a business, so anyone with solid writing skills can definitely jump into the digital sphere and apply the same principles. You will want to get a good sense of how to apply your copywriting skills to other formats, like emails and social media, too. But if you already know how to engage an audience with words, making the transition to digital marketing should be smooth.
Design: A valuable background for those wanting to make the move from traditional to digital advertising. If you’ve got a visual arts background, you can easily transfer those skills into a number of areas in digital marketing, including website design, infographics, photography, and video.
Business: If you’re really great at project management, delegating, and streamlining workflow, you’ll want to consider going into the managerial end of things. Business knowledge and aptitude will always come in handy in any kind of marketing context, so you can’t go wrong with the types of skills you may have learned in business school or on the job as a manager.
3. Categories of Digital Media
One of the main struggles of the modern marketing professional is the sheer volume of information being processed; which can sometimes manifest itself as information overload. If you’re making the switch from traditional advertising to digital, you can start with getting a solid sense of where each type of media resides:
- Owned media is the kind that you have as a part of your own property: a website and blog, for starters. You have control over this part of media, and you are in charge of figuring out how to optimize them for inbound marketing.
- Paid media is when you pay someone else to place an advertisement. In the digital world, this includes things like Facebook ads.
- Earned media is the free advertising that happens via word-of-mouth and in the digital sphere, this mostly means sharing. Customer reviews are a perfect example of this.
Why Internet Marketing is More Effective than Traditional
Here are a few of the key reasons why online marketing is becoming favorable over traditional marketing:
- More Leads with Less Cost: Back in the day, large corporations would spend millions a year in advertising and for the most part that might be local or national. Now we can reach a global audience on a budget of just a few thousand a year.
- Next-Level Audience Engagement: Today there are more and more opportunities to interact with audiences from any location through social marketing but also through innovative personal messaging techniques such as chatbots.
- Real-Time Tracking Means Better Targeting: Technology today allows marketers to track and analyze both historical and real-time data in order to understand how effective a given campaign is and measure this against your overall ROI. In traditional marketing, there was no way of doing this accurately. You can use this data to target your audience in a much more precise way than ever before, and with AI this is only going to get more accurate.
Where to Start Your Digital Marketing Career
If you’re used to working in-house, one recommendation is to find a marketing agency that offers a blended strategy to its clients. This way you can apply your marketing skills while learning about digital marketing.
Here are some things you can do to start building your digital marketing career right now, from the comfort of your own home; it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and you can do it at your own pace.
- Take everything you learned from your old job and put it online (for example, a portfolio)
- Learn some tech and design basics by building a simple website
- Familiarize yourself with new trends and technology
- Play around with different social media applications
- Find a comprehensive, forward-thinking training program and get certified
Digital media is a field worth looking into if you love pretty much any aspect of the business or marketing world. You can specialize in a range of areas, or just one, and land yourself a fulfilling, dynamic job. There’s also a lot of room for people in the digital sphere to work remotely, which means that you can travel and work, or stay at home if you’re parenting, and still follow an exciting career path.