Friday, October 26, 2007

Channels of Digital Marketing

For advertisers, there are many factors increasing the value of digital marketing. First, technological advances are allowing advertising agencies to offer more targeted advertising options their clients. Second, consumers are becoming much more fragmented due to advancement of digital technologies such as the interactivity of computer programs, TiVo, Video On Demand, mobile devices, video gaming, and others ~ forcing marketers to create alternatives for reaching its audience. Finally, digital technologies allow marketers to more precisely monitor and measure the impact of their digital marketing campaigns. These and other factors have contributed to the additions of the wide array of marketing channels. Here we will identify the more highly recognized digital marketing channels and provide a high-level definition of each.

Internet Marketing / Online Advertising
Internet Marketing and Online Advertising are sometimes used synonymously. Although the two communication techniques have somewhat different meanings, for the purpose of identifying digital marketing channels we will use the two interchangeably.

Internet Marketing can be defined as the process of promoting organizations, products, or services using the Internet. The goal of Internet Marketing varies based upon the marketing objectives. For example, many companies use the Internet as a sales vehicle (eCommerce), allowing consumers to buy and sell products and services through the web. Other companies may use Internet Marketing to simply create brand recognition, build awareness or facilitate public relations initiatives.

Several Internet tools are used to support Internet Marketing campaigns. These tools include the following: Email Marketing, Web Banner Ad, Blogs, Webcasts, Podcasts, RSS Feeds, Wikis and Search Engine Optimization. These are all tools of Internet Marketing that when used along with an Integrated Campaign, can be very effective at reaching a targeted audience to ultimately sell products.

Mobile Marketing
According to Pop Solutions, an Interactive Mobile Marketing Company, Mobile Marketing is defined as Spam-free, personalized, permission-based marketing messages sent to receptive consumers via their cell phones. Additionally, Pop suggests that Mobile Marketing provides instant, interactive communications that reach consumers at times when they are most likely to respond.

There are several factors that add to the growth the Mobile Marketing. These factors include: the continued growth of the cellular phone market (expected to reach 4 billion in 2008), the strength of the 14-35 market segment, and the ability to measure response rates.

Marketers are distributing Mobile Marketing communications using Multi-Message Services (MMS), Short Message Services (SMS), and Mobile Web Marketing. Each of these techniques offers unique benefits. For example, MMS allows advertisers to send multi-media message to a mobile device. MMS can be considered as an evolution of SMS, which offers the ability to send only text messages to a mobile device. Finally, Mobile Web Marketing is a form of mobile marketing through web pages that are specifically designed to be view on cell phone.

Increasingly, cell phone users opt-in to recieving messages through their cell phones. This reduces the likelihood of these messages being considered SPAM. Because users "opt-in" response rates are often significantly higher than than traditional marketing campaigns.

Digital Outdoor Signage
In its simplest form, digital signage is a display (such as a billboard or outdoor banner) system used to present a dynamic computer-generated message to an audience. In an article written by Craig Guillot Digital Signs of the Times, Digital Signage is a “living, breathing, high-impact communications platform” that adds to consumer experience with the brand.

This digital outdoor signage is rapidly replacing the traditional static billboards of the past. Marketers are now able to create advertising messages that include animated graphics, full motion video, and audio. As the cost of this technology continues to decrease, savvy marketers are now considering investing in this marketing channel. David Little acknowledges this growth in his article entitled, Digital Signage: Interactive Digital Signs Demand New Marketing Attitudes.

In-Game Advertising & Product Placement
I have personally witnessed the growth of In-Game Advertising, which is becoming a major marketing channel advertisers use to reach consumers. We have become more intrigued by our personal computers and its ability to provide entertainment by way of streaming videos for movies and television shows, computer gaming, internet surfing, and visiting community sites like YouTube and MySpace. As these entertainment avenues detract from television viewership, innovative marketers have begun to follow us consumers to our new entertainment plateau.

Now advertisers are reaching us through our indulgence of playing video games. They are now strategically inserting brands and logos into our gaming experience. This strategic brand placement is called In-Game Advertising and can be described as a marketing technique used to promote products and services using computer and video games as the channel of distribution - and we gamers don’t seem to mind.

The insertion of brands actually increases our entertainment value as long as the insertion fits seamlessly into our experience. Based on this idea and a report presented by Parks Associates, In-Game advertising is expected to grow into a $2 billion industry by 2012. In another research report, Massive Incorporated concluded that brand familiarity increases by 64 percent when In-Game advertising is utilized.

Another feature of In-Game advertising that attracts marketers, is the growing ability to make the advertising dynamic. According to the In-Game Advertising company Double Fusion this means that advertisers can promote their products for a specific period of time, or change their messaging during their marketing campaign. Traditionally, the demographic for gamers have been primarily men between the ages of 18-34 years old. In recent years however, a growing number of women have become console owners.

With the changing demographics, the ability to make gaming advertising dynamic, and the increased brand familiarity with this media channel, marketers should begin to add this channel of marketing into the budget in the coming years.