At its core, the basics of marketing remain the same: drive traffic and consumer interest. Basically, the goal is the same, but it’s the steps along the journey that have been technologically tweaked.
Marketing by Any Other Name
Marketing, branding, advertising — all are terms that basically mean “get noticed.” Whether mass or streamlined, marketing has changed more in the past couple of decades than it has since its inception. At the same time, technology has grown at a rapid-fire pace. It only makes sense that “getting noticed” would need to grow as well.
An algorithm is described by Oxford University Press as a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
From a marketing standpoint, algorithms basically allow someone to gain the latest insights about demographics and consumer habits, in order to understand where the consumers’ focus and interests currently lie.
The insights can be invaluable. Plus, algorithms are capable of delving much deeper into — and unearthing more data about — a potential consumer’s everyday life than any focus group ever could.
What began as “keeping up with the Joneses” has morphed into alerts on your mobile device, narrowcasting, facial recognition, data collection, and cookies (no, not the furry, blue, googly-eyed monster type).
The more “they” know about you, the better to tailor towards you. At least, that’s the intention — but you know what they say about “best intentions.”
Since the dawn of time, one of the primary purposes among living organisms — from single-celled amoebas to towering dinosaurs — has been acquisition. Whether it be knowledge, peace, food, shelter, or just “stuff”, acquiring what we desire and need is an urge that cannot be denied.
Marketing is simply an end to that primal imperative.
Word-of-mouth has almost always been the optimum way of achieving advertising success. The flip side was that word-of-mouth (when negative) could also be deadly to your product or service. The same holds true of social media. Word-of-mouth has been replaced by snap/pic/like/dislike/emoji, etc.
Criticism, whether positive or negative, has an immensely powerful effect — and now people possess the ability to make knee-jerk reactions to the entire world at the touch of a button. “They told two friends who told two friends” has multiplied to the nth degree.
Monetization Makes the World Go ‘Round
From pop-up advertisements to selling advertising space, there is little doubt that having a website for your company is a necessity.
There are about as many ways to monetize items as there are items themselves. The kind of monetization you employ depends greatly on what your site is about and what niche it specializes in.
There are numerous content monetization platforms out there that can be of assistance — some of those preferred include:
- AdSense (by Google)
- Audience Network (by Facebook)
- Amazon Associates
Even social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube have their monetization merits.
The Bucks Start Here
Additional ways of monetizing your website or blog include:
Banner Ads: We’ve all seen them. The little rectangular boxes that routinely pop up to inform us of a product’s latest design or capabilities.
Affiliate Marketing: A marketing process by which a website earns money through the promotion of another business’ products and services.
Selling Your Services: Let the world know who you are and what you’re capable of offering. Essentially, sell your expertise.
Selling Access to Remarketing Pixels: “Remarketing pixels” brings you the identical product or products (in pixel form, at least) you just browsed through on another website. You can earn money by selling access to these pixels, thereby allowing brands to tap into your audience.
Donations: Some of your site’s visitors may not be thrilled with ads but are often more-than-willing to make a donation — especially if they feel it’s going somewhere worthwhile.
Paid Subscriptions and Memberships: Once you’ve established an online following, ask visitors to sign up for more. If they like the content they’ve seen from you so far, they’ll certainly clamour for more.
If You Post It, They Will Come
At least, that’s the hope and intention. No marketer can literally make someone go and purchase an item. With all the information out there in our everyday world and across social media — the latter of which has pretty much entwined itself within our everyday world — cutting through the clutter might be more difficult than ever before. To survive, marketers have optimized their search engines, so to speak.
Where will marketing go from here? As online worlds, virtual reality, and immersive events become increasingly popular, our imagination might be our only boundary. Be prepared for any and all eventualities as best as you can because the future is inevitable. How best to prepare? The way you have always done — by learning as much as possible about your business, your competitors, and most of all, your potential consumers. It’s called “best practices” for a reason.
For better or for worse, the algorithms are among us — some might argue that they are us. How you choose to perceive and benefit from them is 100 per cent up to you.
But they knew you’d think that.
Peter Campbell | Contributing Writer