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Why digital marketing is important for business owners in 2022

What do you think will be the most valuable use case for customer acquisition and retention in 2022? Is it social media? Superpages? SEO? Email marketing?

  • Those are all digital marketing strategies you may have heard of. But what is the most effective one to launch, grow and scale in the next decade?
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  • According to the annual global customer experience (CX) index from Dimensional Research, the biggest driver of customer experience will be online digital commerce. In 2022, 57 percent of consumers expect to use digital products and services in the same way that they purchase physical goods, and nearly six in 10 are willing to transact digitally for their next big purchase.
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  • “These predictions are a reality check for those who think that they are helping by coming up with a new technology or promising something that is not yet here or not really doing anything yet,” says Roy Azevedo, chief product officer of marketing technology company Optimizely. “They are really asking you to focus on the customer journey and digital commerce. The market is already transitioning.”
  • In other words, even the biggest purveyors of enterprise tech cannot keep up with the exponential growth of digital marketing.
  • Just four years ago, digital marketing represented only 12 percent of all marketing budgets. But now that number has risen to more than a third of all dollars spent on marketing, according to a Forrester report. And the market is poised to become even more competitive.
  • “Most companies are spending 90 percent of their marketing budget in one of four channels: search, email, digital, and social,” says Dan Milliner, a partner at Vertium Global Advisory. “The exception is product and sales. Their marketing budget is typically less than 10 percent. They are extremely focused on customer experience, and they want to scale it based on empirical proof.”
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What does that mean for you?

  • The next five years will be about better understanding the customer journey and digital commerce, and then creating the best experience possible in each channel. For the most part, that means applying digital marketing tools to build the most powerful combination of customer acquisition and retention.
  • Today, most companies have already started to follow this path by embracing mobile marketing and optimizing their website to run on any platform and device. But the step from a powerful and robust digital strategy to customer-centric marketing will take five to seven years.
  • “Most of the technology that underlies any of these strategies is not yet mature,” Milliner says. “The big opportunity is to create really amazing digital experiences. The exciting part of that is where we’re headed in the next 10 to 15 years. It will be a completely different way to interact with customers and businesses.”
  • The customer experience is about more than acquiring customers. Successful customer-centric brands consider how to retain their current customers and attract new ones, by balancing the long-term needs of customer satisfaction with short-term marketing needs.
  • “Some companies need to look at their long-term strategy, and they need to talk to customers in a way that they care about them and get them excited to come back,” Milliner says. “The challenge is that a lot of companies are doing this for six or seven years, and it takes six or seven years for customers to stop paying attention. You need to talk to them and keep them up-to-date. Otherwise, you’re in trouble.”

Related: Steps to Creating a Perfect Digital Customer Experience

  • This mindset requires a two-pronged approach: be customer-centric and scale digital marketing with real-time analytical insights.
  • “It’s a very complex and demanding process,” Milliner says. “You have to take customers from first purchase to churn. And, you also have to keep on top of competitive threats and gaps in your offering. If you don’t, your brand will fall flat.”
  • Yet the best thing that can happen for most companies is to move slowly and think creatively. This will help them maintain the strengths of their brands, while gradually developing new ideas and adapting to new technologies. If done correctly, the transformation will not only help grow the bottom line, it will improve the lives of customers.
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