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Digital is Key: Let Your Media Do the Heavy Lifting

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Chris Cavanaugh
Chris Cavanaugh

Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

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Brand experience and digital media are a great one-two punch: one creates connections, the other helps drive results.

For a while now, we’ve been hearing a lot about the changing role of CMOs. The digitization of marketing and demand for data have placed new responsibilities on our shoulders. What’s more, we’re feeling an increased amount of accountability for our departments to drive real revenue — reflected in a recent Gartner study showing that 73 percent of marketers are now accountable to P&L (profit and loss statement).

So how do today’s CMOs balance the subtle nuances of building relationships with the need to generate tangible results? Fortunately, digital marketing is incredibly effective as a tactical complement to the emotional hook of brand experiences. 

Here’s how we can let it do some of our dirty work for clean and effective results.

Why create a digital media strategy?

As with traditional marketing, successful digital marketing brings these results: creating awareness, generating interest, and driving action. The difference is digital marketing has a breathtaking and nimble ability to be interactive, tailored, and nonintrusive — making it more effective for an increasingly informed and discriminating population.

Also, everyone has a preferred kingdom when online, and making a connection there means brands interact with individuals on their own terms and schedules. This approach results in better dialogue and can often produce Instagrammable moments if the message is precise and authentic. With the right digital strategy, a brand does more than merely acquire customers — it can attract new, valued members of its tribe. These so-called “brand evangelists” amplify value propositions through their loyalty (Apple has a few), which extends across social media, lifestyle, and beyond.

Digital is not a one-off. It’s a symbiotic way to expand the reach of any event.

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Marking brands live and alive

Digital media campaigns present us with a huge opportunity to convince audiences on the benefit of going beyond digital into a live experience — where they can touch and interact with brands for an intimate communion. And as we’ve learned, people are 65 percent more likely to make a purchase at a live event.

But digital is not a one-off. It’s a symbiotic way to expand the reach of any event. Once we’ve created a relationship through a live experience, the influence of that experience can be amplified through social media and other online mediums. It can potentially transform our event into a flashpoint for a larger social circle, and make it a more influential piece of the marketing mix. 

Take the social phenomenon FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). When we give attendees the chance to broadcast about the event through their social and digital channels, we are inviting people all over the world to participate. We are now connecting a broader group of individuals and building a community. This inclusiveness can go a long way toward helping us get a potential customer off the fence and move them towards a purchase.

Again, think of those Instagrammable moments and brand evangelists.

Using digital to drive innovation

Digital is always evolving and changing. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to real-world applications of these technologies. However, it’s not just the evolution of tech that I find interesting — it’s also the ways in which existing tech gets applied. Take micro content, for instance: it offers up bite-sized segments of content (video, copy, photos, infographics, etc.) that are easily digestible and shareable, such as The Economist Espresso

These evolutions make sense. With the sheer amount of competition for today’s attention spans, there’s definite value in brevity. Content that can be consumed during an elevator ride broadens the reach of our messaging and makes our value proposition accessible to a wider audience.

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Using digital to drive brand experience (and vice versa)

The power and popularity of digital are undeniable, and the proliferation of marketing channels and data has forced us to keep up. Now we are even seeing competition from consultancies like Accenture and IBM, who are entering the fray based on their enhanced digital and data capabilities. The pressure on marketers to deliver results keeps growing.

And that’s where the combination of digital media and brand experience can help us move the needle. Brand experience makes the connection, and digital extends the life of that connection. It invites others to participate. It brings new people to the party. It creates new channels to connect with people and gives them valuable reasons to subscribe to what we’re doing. There may not be a single solution, no “magic bullet” to help us own P&L. But the combination of digital media and brand experience is a valuable step in the right direction.

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