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Glossary Index

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Glossary term

Digital marketing campaign

Quick definition

A digital marketing campaign involves the execution of a marketing strategy across all the digital channels where consumers engage with a brand, usually for the purpose of improving a company's conversion rate.

Key takeaways

To start a campaign, marketers need to understand who their customer is and where to reach them and anticipate what action the customer will take next.

Customers approach brands though an omnichannel lens. So to effectively reach a customer, marketers should connect digital marketing campaigns across all channels.

Digital marketing campaigns can be less expensive than other marketing campaigns and can engage with customer behavior in real time.

Companies can use a digital campaign for a variety of uses, from raising brand awareness to telling loyal customers about a new product.


Q: How does a company launch a digital marketing campaign?

A: The first step is to gain insight on the customer and understand who they are. Marketers need to figure out which customers are already actively engaging with the brand — who is opening emails, clicking through ads, or visiting the website.

The second step is to take action on the insights gathered from consumers. By understanding past behavior, marketers can anticipate what consumers are likely to do next and personalize future marketing efforts. Based on a customer’s past behavior, a marketer might decide to send an email offering a discount code, make an upsell offer, or show a display ad with a new product that might appeal to the customer.

If a company can understand their target audience and anticipate what they're likely to do next, they’re able to provide compelling experiences. And creating a personalized experience comes down to content, regardless of the touchpoint.

Q: Why are omnichannel digital marketing campaigns important?

A: For some marketers, a digital marketing campaign might refer to a strategy focused on specific channels, like search or display. In general, though, the most successful online marketing campaigns cover all the different channels a customer might engage with, because most consumers engage with a brand through more than one channel or touchpoint.

Customers, unlike marketers, don’t view their interactions with a brand in terms of channels. When they want to find out information on a brand or ask a question, they use whatever touchpoint is easier for them. They don’t care about the channel. To implement a successful digital marketing strategy, marketers need to connect with the consumer where they are in the journey, not where the marketer thinks they should be or wants them to be.

By only focusing on one or two channels, a marketer might miss out on the opportunity to effectively interact with the consumer. Instead, they should take an omnichannel approach and meet consumers where they are with the right content and with the right message.

A digital marketing campaign can also connect to traditional or physical channels. If a customer calls a company’s help line, or walks into a physical location, does the employee on the other side know who the customer is and what marketing efforts have already been delivered? By connecting a digital marketing campaign with non-digital channels — thus becoming truly omnichannel — a brand can create a holistic view of a customer and offer the most relevant and timely experiences.

But omnichannel might not always be the best option. If a company is getting nearly all its engagement on one specific channel, it might not make sense to spend money on channels that don’t drive engagement and revenue.

Each brand should know which channels their customers are using and how to reach them. For one brand, mobile might be the best channel to focus on. For example, nearly all of Uber’s customer engagement was driven through the mobile app until recently. Everything from booking a ride to leaving a review afterward occurred through the app. A hotel, on the other hand, might rely more heavily on directing people to the booking website through display or banner ads. Another company might focus their efforts on search engine marketing, with either search engine optimization or PPC, because potential customers are more likely to find their products by asking questions on Google. 

If a company does want to add channels to the content marketing campaign, they can use the information they have to explore the other channels they could use to reach consumers. Uber, for instance, though a mobile-first company, has expanded their marketing to include email campaigns.

Q: How do you gauge the success of a digital marketing campaign?

A: To determine success, a company needs to have full visibility across all the touchpoints used in that campaign. They can then not only see if they are driving engagement, but make sure they can attribute a particular action or response back to the appropriate touchpoint.

Since customers make purchasing decisions after interacting with a company through a variety of channels, sometimes it isn't clear what channel led to the conversion. Companies can use analytics solutions to track where and how customers interacted with them, and use that data to determine how well a digital marketing campaign worked.

Q: How do companies know when to close out a campaign?

A: It comes down to diminishing returns or less frequent engagements as they relate to that particular campaign. If companies have full visibility across their channels, they can see when results start to taper off and either adjust the current campaign or launch a new one.

Q: How does a company determine the goals of a campaign?

A: The campaign goals should align upward with the overall company goals. For a travel company, for example, the overall goals for a company would be to drive loyalty and revenue and cut costs. The digital marketing campaign should have similar goals. Each industry, and each brand within an industry, will have goals they want to work toward, and a successful and effective digital marketing campaign will make that possible.

Q: What are the benefits of digital marketing campaigns?

A: If it's all digital, it could be potentially less expensive than a more traditional campaign that uses more costly channels, like direct mail or print advertising. SEO and social media marketing are examples of free or low-cost channels digital marketers can use. Digital marketing can also deliver an experience where the customer is and respond to their actions in real time, which can be a more efficient approach than traditional marketing.

Q: What problems do companies run into when launching digital marketing campaigns?

A: Major problems occur when marketers don’t act on a complete understanding or profile of who a consumer is, relying on a small piece of information to drive the strategy. It creates a disruptive experience for the consumer where the brand is not showing the consumer that they know where they are. The brand is unable to provide a cohesive experience, and it's also not using previous results and successes.

By gathering data and using it effectively to anticipate consumer behavior, companies can offer better personalization and more relevant experiences and also avoid turning the consumer off to the brand.

Another challenge a company may face is not taking into account physical experiences. Digital marketing can’t account for the entire customer journey, so it’s important to connect to those physical channels as well.

Q: How do companies balance creating personalized experiences with privacy concerns?

A: Marketers have a wealth of information on their customers, but they need to use it wisely and in a way that builds trust. It goes back to the marketer really understanding who a consumer is and providing them with not just relevant and personalized experiences, but also very human experiences. Providing the consumer with experiences they can relate to builds trust. And as that trust is built, the consumer has less apprehension about giving up data or the fact that they know they're sharing data with a brand. If the data is used wisely and the consumer trusts the brand, then they accept it.

Q: How will digital marketing campaigns change in the future?

A: There's great promise with artificial intelligence and machine learning, which take out some of the guesswork and can streamline operations. Something, like figuring out the best offer to send to a consumer, that once took weeks to do might take minutes or even seconds. But as technology improves, there should always be an element of human interaction to make course corrections, to make informed decisions, and to avoid losing sight of that human element in experiences.

Other opportunities could arise where companies get better at using the context of an engagement. Considering how hyper-connected consumers are now, thanks to mobile devices, there could be an option for companies to understand where a customer is physically and incorporate that information into a digital marketing campaign. That could look like delivering the right offer at the right time because a brand knows exactly where somebody is, and they know exactly the time and day of the week in which they're engaging because they're on their mobile device. 

This concept of location-based marketing has existed for a while, but it’s starting to mature and become more incorporated in larger omnichannel strategies.

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