13 September 2021
Keeping Up With Competitors In A Changing Digital Landscape
by Vartika Pradeep, Digital and Insights Expert, Singapore. Vartika specializes in research with a focus on digital analytics. With expertise in planning, executing, and optimizing digital marketing campaigns to maximize impact and overall ROI across ad platforms.
Staying ahead in a changing digital landscape
For a while, it seemed as if Facebook dominated the social media landscape. That is, until TikTok arrived, which was recently crowned the world’s most downloaded app. TikTok’s sudden popularity is a sign of the constantly changing digital landscape and a reminder that businesses, no matter how large, need to stay up to date with what consumers want and how they engage with brands.
Understanding what consumers expect from brands
People are spending more and more time online, and social media use is now firmly embedded into our daily lives - for work and play. Brands that are yet to capitalize on this opportunity will likely find themselves in a compromising position as compared to brands that are leading the digital charge.
As marketers, we can take inspiration from TikTok’s recent success, which gives us a telling insight into how consumers think in this ever-changing digital landscape. Consumers want content that is simple, convenient, and comes with a human touch. TikTok offers consumers exactly that – with instant content that is relatable, authentic, and engaging.
A key consideration for brands when putting up a digital offer is how to potentially attract a growing consumer base. Let’s face it, with social media there isn’t a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. Not only does a brand’s value proposition need to be communicated through a digital strategy, but it also needs to address what’s in it for their consumers.
How can brands engage audiences?
The abundance of content online makes it more challenging for marketers to cut through the clutter. Consumers want to know why they should care about a brand before making a purchase decision.
Simply amplifying a brand’s products and services has long been proven to be outdated and one dimensional. A brand can’t force its way into a consumer’s life, it has to integrate itself in a meaningful and salient way.
A brand needs to effectively contribute to ongoing conversations, rather than overrule them, to showcase they’re aligned with what consumers care about. Joining in on topical posts also proves that brands are staying up to date. For instance, M&M’s image amongst young adults was revitalized by its Red and Yellow mascots who use their respective social media channels to connect with young adults on relevant topics such as pop culture. Red and Yellow were also given their own personable backstories that only made them more memorable and adored.
All of the above won’t do anything for a brand, if the brand hasn’t locked down on creating trust and transparency.
Where are brands going wrong with digital?
Don’t jump on every trend before doing a full cost-benefit analysis
When Snapchat launched stories in 2013, Instagram quickly copied, followed by Facebook and eventually LinkedIn.
Instagram repeated this by launching reels to compete with TikTok. It’s a lesson for brands across all industries to keep up or risk being forgotten. But the visual-heavy platform Instagram didn’t jump onto these trends without investigating how each change would impact users first.
In a race to beat competitors, many companies jump on the latest trends without evaluating relevance to the brand or its goals. Adapting to every new trend will not only exhaust marketing teams, but it will also result in inconsistent messaging and wasted resources. Trends rapidly fade in the digital world, so it’s important to assess whether a fad is the right fit for a business before taking action. They need to ask; does it make sense for us and will it add value in the long term?
Go beyond the cookie-cutter approach while analyzing data
Another common mistake businesses make is not understanding the value of an online presence. When a brand goes online, it can track data on consumer’s behaviour in a way that brick-and-mortar stores never could. Consumer data on a brand’s website enables visibility to see which pages are performing well and where consumers are dropping out of the sales process.
These vital insights mean online businesses are able to continually hone their sales funnel and watch user interactions in real-time to see how consumers respond. When looking at online data, it’s important to avoid vanity metrics. Plenty of views are great to include in a report but don’t offer a real business impact. Focusing on the number of likes won’t help brands know if their content is leading to actionable growth in sales. So, it’s important to set goals that reflect true achievements, such as meaningful conversations, customer footfall, and new customer acquisitions.
Careful capitalization of trends, consistency in your marketing approach, and frequently leveraging the data available online will help influence a positive impact on your business in the long run.
Digital best practices to keep in mind
Brands that are getting their digital presence right, such as Hubspot and Canva, all have some points in common. First, they understand the power of storytelling and relating to their consumers in a human way.
Bringing a human element to marketing strategy and content creation enables brands to build a stronger connection with their audience which leads to increased trust.
They’re also taking steps such as:
By smartly adapting to the changing digital landscape, brands are staying ahead of their competition and gaining loyal consumers.
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