The Ethics Behind Digital Marketing

So let’s first start off by clarifying what ethical marketing actually is. It is not a marketing strategy, but a philosophy that is behind all your marketing activity. Most people have the subjective view of ‘ethics’ as what is right and what is wrong. However, there is no hard or fast rule about ethical marketing, but there is some guidelines to help aid judgement when developing marketing strategies. Some of these principles include; a common standard of truth in all marketing communications, the marketing professionals aid a high level of personal ethics, advertising is different from news or entertainment content and transparency about who they pay for endorsement of their products.

There are lots of forms of unethical advertising through marketing strategies as well. Including ‘puffery’, which is when an advertiser relies on subjective rather objective claims, such as ‘the best tasting honey’, without being confirmed, which also leads to unverified claims. These are claims without any scientific evidence, such as shampoo commercials with shiny, stronger hair without telling consumers how or why.

A company example of ethical marketing is the popular footwear brand, TOMS. They have created socially conscious shoe, that are vegan. This shows that they are not out to make profit but rather incorporate the brands core values. Further TOMS uses a form ethical marketing as the first touchpoint when consumers visit their website. As with every product you purchase, TOMS helps someone in need. It encourages users to buy the product, not because they desperately want it, or there is a sale but for the greater good of helping someone in need.

Businesses should work towards making honest claims that excel to satisfy their needs of their customers through their marketing activities. As well as going above and beyond to use their reputation and voice for the greater good of society and their marketing channels to spread important messages. This practice overtime builds customer engagement, customer loyalty and employee retention. And of course, word of mouth to create more brand awareness!

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Virtual Reality in Digital Marketing. Is the next big opportunity already here?

You may have only really heard about Virtual Reality in the ever popular movie, ‘The Matrix’. And whilst watching that movie you may have thought “wow this is crazy”! Well, that crazy is now upon us. While regular people don’t quite understand VR and how it operates, 75% of the top world brands have already integrated VR into their business strategies. But first, we must establish what is VR?

VR is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. It places a user inside of the experience, it does this by stimulating as many senses as possible including hearing, touch, smell and vision. In today’s society if a company creates a new website to build an online business, virtual reality marketing is one of the best ways to allow consumers to become closer to your products and services. Virtual Reality marketing simply allows consumers to be more emotionally connected to the product, as compared to traditional forms of media. It makes people feel like they are in a different place or time.

VR creates an entirely unique experiences to reach your customers. This forms a deeper connection between the consumer and the business. VR is a great platform to connect to customers, but organisations should remember that while VR is a great, interactive, creative and engaging way to connect to customers, the marketing message itself still needs to be impactful. While organisations create VR strategies, they should keep in mind their main message to attract increased customer engagement. Organisations should also not forget their existing audience. They should still be analysing how their audience consumes their products and services, and determine what channels are most preferred by their audience. Using tools such as Google Analytics is a great way to get a deeper insight to your audience and of course, their behaviour. Once organisations understand their primary set of customers that VR will attract, they can create the VR content accordingly.

Finally, VR should be used as a way to showcase all that your products have to offer. It should be a way to explore your products without stepping out of their front door. For example, the IKEA Virtual Store gives consumers an opportunity to explore rooms and departments at any times and browse products and then buy them.

Virtual Reality, whilst scary, is already evolving and is implemented worldwide. It is very important for marketing departments in organisations to keep up to date with these trends as when VR becomes a tool everybody uses, all brands and advertisers will be able to reach all customers and allow them to be fully immersed.

Now the Strategy of Email Marketing

When brands want to communicate about their brand or sell products, email marketing is a great, inexpensive way to do so. However, a lot of companies are unaware of how to effectively stand out in a usually full inbox. So here are some strategies to help you!

Firstly, people ask how do you begin to find an email list? The largest investment is building and maintaining an engaged subscriber list. To create an email list; you should create a signup form on the website you use, so that when consumers visit the website they can see what you are about and if they want to subscribe. A good idea is to have a pop-up window so that when visitors visit your website the ‘sign up’ window is the first thing they see. Companies should also drive their signups through social media outlets (such as posts and stories on Instagram) so that all audiences are encouraged to sign up. While some people buy email lists, it is definitely not recommended.

It is also important to segment your list of subscribers. Not all subscribers want to see the same discounts or new products as others. Therefore knowing what each subscriber is interested in, based on selection of interests or previous orders, is incredibly important. As you are not going to get through to a tech ‘pro’ with new dresses.

Further there is little to no point in having email marketing, if no one actually opens your email. Therefore, improving your email open rates is extremely crucial. Firstly, companies should avoid spam filters, if you are using a non-reputable email service provider it is likely that your emails will fall into spam folders, and likely not be seen by your audience. So make sure your consumers have opted-in to the emails, send emails through verified domains, personalise tags (such as to: name) and avoid ‘sale’ language, such as discount, clearance or cash.

Test your email marketing before you send. Try A/B testing if you are torn between ideas. That could be a subject line, a photo or the content written. Run them both and then compare their performance. That way you can find out what works best and then once you know this information you can officially send it out to all your subscribers.

While this is only a few ideas on how to start and improve your email marketing strategy, they are key points that should be noted for a successful email marketing campaign.

The Strategy Behind Great Social Media Marketing

There are a million different social media accounts in every industry for all categories, so the question is, how do you make your account/page stand out from the crowd?

Here are some steps your business can take to build your following in 2019:

  1. Set Social Media Goals, particularly S.M.A.R.T. goals. Without establishing objectives and goals there is no way to measure success or Return on Investment. Particularly these goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. These goals will guide your actions and ensure that they are attainable and possible to achieve. Examples of these goals, could be increased brand awareness or engagement, achieve more sales, improve return on investment or improve customer loyalty.
  2. Know your audience: In order for your business to be successful you need to understand and know your audience completely. If you make assumptions about your audience it can be dangerous. Social media applications now have tools (analytics) that analyse the audience viewing your account so that you can understand your audience’s demographics. From knowing this information you can make informed decisions about your business. These analytics also allow you to know organic and paid likes, engagement, reach, clicks, profile views, impressions and hashtag performance.
  3. Optimise your account: Your businesses marketing strategy is obviously centered around content and creation. After you have established your goals you should have a pretty good idea of what you want to publish on your page and your brand identity. Ensure that you are posting interesting content that will be seen by your target audience. Other ways to optimise your account include being present with your followers, by liking, replying and commenting on your followers posts, and on your own.

Within the social media industry, things change fast. Including the way social media operates and how your followers think. Therefore your business must also be ready to adapt and change your current marketing strategy based on research. Refer to the marketing strategy often but don’t be afraid to make changes and new goals and plans.

The Paradox of Technology in Digital Marketing and how to avoid it…

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The world of digital marketing and technology is an amazing place that is constantly evolving at an exponential pace. It is hard for marketers to try to keep up with the pace and actually understand the changes. This constant new technology is a paradox: it is both confining and liberating. A lot of questions brands are trying to understand are, how do we incorporate all the new channels and technologies in a marketing mix? Does it achieve a Return on Investment?

So the way I see it is that brands have two options, firstly the can do nothing and let it be…after all it will change again tomorrow anyway! Or they can focus on the basics and re-evaluate their strategies and get to work! If you choose the second option, you should keep open-minded and willing to learn. So now that you are open-minded and willing to learn here are a few ways marketers can avoid ‘the paradox of technology’:

  1. Know your audience: Never start programming before you know who you are designing your marketing strategies for. It just defeats the purpose of planning and setting objectives in the first place. If you don’t know your users, you won’t ever be able to eliminate the paradox of technology, because you will never understand their technological abilities. Create prototypes, and sets of people to test your ideas.
  2. Don’t distract your consumers/users: Keep it simple. Short and sweet. To the point. These sets of three words can make a lot of difference! Determine the functions needed by users and consumers and make them easily accessible to them. Ensure you find all of them and don’t miss any. Find the features that will genuinely work, and don’t be afraid to let some good ideas go, and learn from that and adapt it to another idea. If you leave some features out, others can be more salient and possibly more intuitive. Make sure you prioritise your features and then put them into categories to be certain you are correct in your selection.
  3. Focus on the user experience: With the amazing range of new technology, everything seems to be a bit impersonal. We don’t truly communicate, we ‘instant message’ or tag each other in a ‘meme’. We consume a lot, but don’t stop to appreciate everything. We have the chance as producers and designers to make our marketing user experience, easy and user friendly. You can also make it fun and exciting, with a personal aspect. Things that will allow users to learn new things, and face new, non-confronting technologies.
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I do believe that the new technology is a paradox. While it offers us some great opportunities for advancement, it also confines and confuses us as to what to do and how to go about doing it. However, through utilising these ideas you can minimise and even eliminate the paradox of technology for your users.

The Importance of Restaurant Review Apps

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Now a days the amount of people that look at a printed takeaway menu and ring up an order, that find out what restaurant to go to for dinner, or that read restaurant and cafe reviews in a newspaper have decreased dramatically. This is all due to the rise of powerful food review apps such as Zomato, Tripadvisor and Yelp. These apps allow you to review and read reviews for restaurants, look at photos of the food offered and the atmosphere, look at the menu, make reservations for the restaurant and see what features are offered at the restaurant e.g. child friendly, BYO, vegetarian friendly, outdoor seating etc.

Tripadvisor

In order to restaurants and cafes to utilise this growing corner of the web world, they should focus on the below aspects of these apps. The main reasons these apps have changed the game of restaurants being successful are the following:

  1. Ratings & Reviews: The review feature allows the restaurant and the customers to interact in a new way. By allowing other customers to review the service and quality of food offered at the restaurant, customers can know what to expect when they visit. Restaurants can also take on board the feedback from customers to ensure better customer service.
  2. Bookings & Reservations: By using this booking feature when a customer sees your restaurant nearby their location, it reduces the amount of time customers spend to dine out and get take away.
  3. It is not just for your suburb: Food apps such as Yelp and Tripadvisor I have used from Melbourne to Washington to Dublin. These apps can be used worldwide so that if you are stuck in a foreign country you can find your way to great food with no stress or worry.
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The food industry game has changed drastically due to the invention and use of these apps, therefore if restaurants do not utilise these spaces to advance their marketing, they are likely to fall short, especially compared to other restaurants in the area, or of the same cuisine.

How to use Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing

In today’s society we live in an era where if a marketer is not utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their marketing strategies, they are already lagging behind. AI not only helps marketers execute their strategies but also helps to form business objectives. It is a very important tool for marketers as it removes the human error factor, delay, human bias and small errors. Eventually, AI is going to be an extension of human brains and even run our cars without a driver. For inspiration, here are some examples of how you can implement AI systems in your marketing strategies:

  1. Chatbots: This is pretty much Siri/Google Assistant or Alexa on a website or app. You don’t need to ask questions during opening hours, or wait on hold for someone to be available to talk to. Chatbots are designed to be included on a chat screen on a website, or social media site, to chat with consumers and answer any questions they may have. As well as to serve the user and converse with them to help them on a variety of topics, and fulfil their information needs.
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2. Recommendations: One of the best examples of AI. And something that is done extremely frequently is to analyse consumers activities on the internet and in apps, and then recommend your products and content to create more spend and times on other websites you may be interested in. In this case, marketers look for ways to engage with you as they want you to spend the maximum amount of time on their website or app without using a salesperson to get you there but just by analysing what you are interested in.

3. Voice Search: Use the major players already curated voice search programs, such as Google, Amazon and Siri instead of attempting to create your own. So half the job is done for you. Voice Search is going to change SEO strategies, and brands should try to keep up to date. Organic traffic can be created at high levels to brands that perfect voice search, which will lead to high purchase intent.

4. Content Optimisation: In the social media world, people who share care. Consumers who click, rate, like, share and comment want others to see relevant, valuable content. You can AI technology to optimise content based key insights and an in-depth analysis, again the job is done for you. It helps build visibility and drive traffic to your website.

All signs lead to the possibilities of using AI to boost your brands marketing strategies and overall achieve your marketing objectives. Whether your company is a startup or you’re a successful business, embracing AI technology can work wonders to your profitability.

Market Yourself

I would argue LinkedIn is the most powerful social networking site in the world to help you sell yourself. If you want to find a great job, get more leads on jobs, connect with headhunters, find sponsors, sell an event to companies or learn about your industry, you can take advantage of LinkedIn to market yourself. Here are some ways you can take advantage of LinkedIn:

  1. Keep your profile up to date. It needs to be 100% correct and completed so that you can market yourself properly. Do your research, look at other people’s profiles with over 500 connections for tips on how you can improve yours. When applying for a job, the company will look you up and ensure your resume matches your profile. Basically they will ‘stalk’ you. They always do their research to ensure you can bring significance to the team. Ensuring you have a profile picture, personal summary story, recommendations, no spelling mistakes and accurate details will maximise your marketing opportunities.
  2. Make Connections. Ensure you connect with everyone on LinkedIn. Import your contact list and ask everyone to connect with you. The worst that can happen is the say ‘no’. When you apply for a job, search for the recruitment officer in that field. For example, search – ‘Deloitte Human Capital Recruitment’. Find the manager and connect with them. That way when they see your application, they know your name already, and will likely look at your profile and see you are proactive for finding them. You never know where an opportunity can come from and where it can take you. Expand your circle and do not keep the same limited network.
  3. Personalise. Each time you send a connection to an important person, ensure you personalise it. Send them a message with the invitation, and express who you are and why you want to connect with them. Make sure your profile is personal. Not just your boring resume. Add a headline of who you are, what you do, who you help and include these factors in the other sections of your profile.
  4. Activate your profile. In order to make your profile seen by others, you need to be active on your profile. This way your profile will be viewed and will lead to good things such as new connections, conversations and opportunities. Activation can be done through; sending out connections, liking, commenting and sharing updates of companies and connections, get the LinkedIn app to stay active and participate in group discussions.

If you invest time in these four LinkedIn profile tips you will be a digital asset that attracts you to companies and connections of importance. LinkedIn is a launchpad to build a large network and get your message out there, and market yourself!

The Strategy Behind Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising the content, the technical systems and reach of your website so that your company appears at the top of the search results for a specific set of keywords that have been entered. By using SEO it attracts a higher volume of visitors to your website to look into purchasing your products, services or information. SEO is also one of the best practices for good digital marketing. It means that key companies in the market can be found easily and have valuable content.

However there are some disadvantages to SEO that should be considered before an organisation adopts an SEO strategy digital marketing strategy. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of predictability. It is hard for companies to estimate the return on investment and effectiveness of SEO’s. Another disadvantage is that there is no instantaneous results to the investment of SEO’s. It takes time for results to come into effect and companies often have to wait for it to be the most effective. It is also costly, and an ongoing investment, which does not always result in return on investment.

A very common SEO tool is through Google. Google offers the Search Console to track the analytics behind your SEO. This Search Console allows brands to confirm that Google can find your site, you can view your search traffic, and use tools to optimise and enhance your site.

To get the most out of your SEO strategy, companies should stick to current SEO techniques. Therefore, they should steer clear of techniques that are dying out such as link spamming; automated tools that build thousands of back links to a site, link networks; back link networks that build links to sites automatically and press release spam; submitting press releases with every blog post made or whenever you have a minor activity (e.g. a good dinner).

Overall, 67% of all the clicks of a customer journey map are from the first 5 listings on a search engine results page. Therefore, it is definitely worth while to look into SEO and how it can promote your company.

The role of Facebook in the death of 50 innocent people…

On the 15th of March at approximately 1pm in the town of Christchurch, New Zealand, a white supremacist opened fire in two mosques, leaving 50 worshippers dead. One of the attackers live-streamed the entire attack on Facebook in a live 17-minute video. This video showed him selecting his guns of choice and shooting multiple people praying. The 17-minute video was left on Facebook for 1 hour after being published…a lifetime in social media. In that time 1.5 million copies of the massacre video had been re-uploaded. It then took Facebook 24 hours to remove all traces of the video on its site. New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern calls for Facebook to understand their responsibility of the distribution of violent and inappropriate content on their platform.

It raises serious concerns. Why was it not taken down sooner? Did no one report it? Why are there not automated processes to not allow this kind of content to be posted in the first place? Facebook targets consumers trying to advertise in microseconds, why can’t the exact same technology be used to regulate the use of Facebook live? Citizens are quick to discuss the responsibility of the government, the police and our community for acts of terror, but the tech sector must do its part to combat this behaviour.

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Facebook has commented on the issue, stating that it relies on Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to regulate content posted. Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President for Integrity, said that AI has made progress over the years, however the AI systems are based on ‘training data’, which requires thousands of examples of content in order to train the system to remove a certain type of text, imagery or video. The massacre video posted did not trigger any warnings in the system, therefore leading to it being left up for too long.

There is definitely a lesson to be learned from using AI systems in companies. This extends to using AI in marketing situations as well. Everything we love about civilisation is formed from intelligence, so improving this intelligence in the form of AI will help our society to flourish like never before. However, marketers and social media companies need to be take care on how their practices and procedures using AI effect the current society. While some people are incredibly advanced in their AI techniques in marketing, such as automatic target segmentation, sales forecasting, chatbots, speech recognition and data filtering and analysis, the majority of the current society still uses more basic forms of technology. This needs to be recognised by companies. And the prolonged reaction by Facebook to the massacre in Christchurch is the perfect example of this.

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