#4 – Diana Spielman
In a room full of millenials, it’s not uncommon to see everyone with their
heads bent, absorbed in their phones, with no regard to the world around them.
Sometimes they’re texting, but more often than not they’re scrolling aimlessly
through different forms of social media, absorbing a constant barrage of photos,
videos, and text. They’re clicking on an interesting article, sharing it, and debating it
with their peers, all online. Purchases can be made with the tap of a fingerprint,
without ever whipping out a credit card to laboriously input numbers. In this
rapidly evolving online world, internet marketing will not only be increasingly
important, but is revolutionizing how marketing is disseminated and consumed.
One of the most influential and important aspects of internet marketing is the
ability for a company to target a specific demographic, getting their information in
front of the people who are actually looking for it. With the abundance of data points
available on the habits of most people who use the internet, marketers can easily get
their advertisements in front of the people who are searching for their product
already, or are most likely to use it. Time and money is no longer spent on a
television ad that may be seen by millions of people who are largely uninterested,
and instead focused efforts can be made to attract a 28-35 year old male who lives
on the East Coast, eats out frequently, rents but does not own a home, uses internet
dating, and is part of a specific income bracket. Internet marketing is increasingly
interactive, appealing to exactly those customers the company aims to attract, and
making the experience a positive one for both sides. Rather than a boring television
ad that the potential customer tunes out or a print ad that gets flipped past, internet
marketing engages the customer, and enables the resulting purchase or interaction
to be instantly realizable.
Brilliant examples of internet marketing can be seen in the wedding industry.
Upon getting engaged, many people choose to share this exciting news on social
media outlets like Facebook. This life event, often even explicitly indicated by a
relationship status update on the website, indicates to marketers in the wedding
industry that this is someone who will be in need of their specific wedding service.
Just targeting a demographic of women in their twenties and thirties would cast far
too wide a net for a wedding planner, but as a result of data analytics the planning
company can instead get their marketing material in front of the people who are
actually looking for it. The customers are not only receptive to the product, but are
often actively seeking it out, and welcome the advertisement. Without internet
marketing, a small company like a wedding planning service would be very limited
in how it could advertise to its target market.
Internet marketing, and search engine optimization in particular, are
especially important for local businesses. Continuing with the example of the
wedding industry, it is often local businesses that are competing. They can market in
some conventional ways like placing advertisements in local wedding magazines,
but the best and most targeted way they can reach people is through the internet. A
favorable presence on wedding websites like The Knot, in conjunction with email
marketing and search engine optimization is often the best way for local businesses
to attract customers in such an oversaturated and specific market. When someone is
searching for a local wedding planner, their first step is likely going to be opening
Google and searching “wedding planner” and their location. They’re looking for a
highly rated, expensive, quality service, and therefore will very rarely venture into
the murky page 2 of their Google search. If you perform a search like this, you’ll see
that the top hits are a mix of wedding planners’ websites and links to lists of vendors
on wedding websites like The Knot. The planners who are utilizing search engine
optimization the best will appear under their own name, as well as featured on
those lists because the future customer who performs a Google search and sees
multiple entries for one wedding planner is far more likely to do the minimum
research necessary and assume that the business they’ve found is reputable.
Sponsored content can play an important role in this equation because if a customer
trusts the website on which the sponsored content is featured they are far more
likely to pay attention to the advertisement. Local companies may feel that search
engine optimization is only useful for large corporations, but in reality people are
constantly searching for local companies and are often skeptical of becoming a
customer if the service is hard to locate on Google. The more local businesses utilize
the tools available to them, the better they can keep up with the changing marketing
For ecommerce websites the opportunities afforded by effective search
engine optimization are potentially even larger, because the most important thing
an ecommerce company can do is convert internet users into customers. Since their
launch Jet.com has had an extensive campaign in New York City, covering subways
in their advertisements, as well as city busses, bus stops, and even direct mail. This
strategy perplexed me, and I question it’s effectiveness. A subway ad may certainly
increase brand awareness, but while your customers are trapped underground with
no cell phone service they are not immediately logging onto the website and making
a purchase. When it comes to ecommerce, online marketing allows the company to
immediately convert their target market into customers. Search engine optimization
is critical for ecommerce websites because Google is often the first place a customer
turns when searching for a product online. Once the customer has been brought to
the website, it’s loading time, security, and an easy and pleasing interface are key to
the customer actually completing the sale. The internet has allowed for an
enormous opportunity for ecommerce retailers, but it also means that these
companies must have the best possible internet marketing in order to succeed.
In the ever-changing face of internet marketing, it is critical to employ a
company with the knowledge and expertise to optimize your internet presence. The
trends we have seen in the past five years have only highlighted how quickly the
face of marketing is changing, and how companies need to update their strategies in
order to change with it. Now, more than ever, local companies need to keep up in
order to capture the millennial generation who complete almost every transaction
online. When you can order dinner, groceries, laundry services, or even a spa
treatment with the tap of a button, companies that are not utilizing internet
marketing to it’s full potential will be quickly left behind.
#3 – Jacob Einwechter
Internet Marketing and How It Is More Important
I remember in the 90s when everyone was investing in online businesses in a hurry. Then, some online leaders started emerging in the early 2000s such as Google, Amazon, and so on. At that point, many of us felt that we had missed the internet shower of money. However, most of new comers now realize that is not at all the case. The competition goes on! Small and large businesses need internet marketing not only to sell products or services online, but also to advertise their local businesses in a targeted manner. Digital marketing is an essential part of both bricks and mortar business as well as purely online business, and it will continue to reward those who carve out new niches as we move into the future. There are three important aspects of digital marketing that I want to emphasize the importance of which for every business: (1) Search Engine Optimization or SEO; (2) paid advertising; and (3) Social Media Marketing or SMM.
SEO takes more time than paid advertising, but it it is well worth the investment, especially for smaller businesses. The goal of SEO is to get one’s website to the first page of search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and of course the holy grail, Google. The way this goal is accomplished is by connecting links from other sites to one’s site and vice versa. It is also accomplished by designing one’s website to have the right key words that mirror the key words in the ideal search for their goods or services.
The exciting part of SEO for the future is that both businesses and consumers will benefit from the way SEO is structured. In order to improve a business’s chances of appearing on the first page of Google, the digital marketer must make the website extremely specific to its niche. This requires written words that Google robots search and algorithms organize in highly efficient and specific ways. This is beneficial to the savvy business that has a product or service and knows how to condense it into a specifically worded niche. This is also benefitical to the consumer because when they search for a specific good or service, they will find exactly what they are looking for. As I anticipate the future developments of this SEO process, I am extremely optimistic about how this process will both specialize knowledge (mirroring the academic process) and expedite business transactions for the benefit of all. This is why SEO is so very important today in 2017 and will only become more important as we move forward. The internet is not going away, it is just comping up.
The second aspect of digital marketing that is so important for business and the consumer is paid advertising. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Google had much less stringent standards for approving websites for the Google Adwords paid advertising venue. Today in 2017, the standards are much more strict and they raise serious questions about the legitimacy of a private company having so much influence over the way the internet functions. Google now filters out websites that do not meet some arguably arbitrary standards such not enough written content on a site, or a site making what they deem to be false promises, or what is more legally known as “high pressure sales tactics.” The problem with this process is that it is not legal professionals who evaluate the legitimacy of a website’s promises, but Google bureaucrats. This is aside from my point. Once a website is approved by the Adwords team (who I call upon to make their evaluation process more transparent), one is able to pay to have his website on the first page of Google. While this route can be expensive, it can save a startup a lot of time by skipping the SEO process of backlinking. This second aspect of digital marketing is of great importance, and I am eager to see how it evolves in the future in relation to Google standards.
The third important aspect of digital marketing is what is sometimes capitalized, Social Media Marketing or SMM. This is a relatively ineffective method for the greater number of businesses and it is easy to understand why: people do not go to social media websites in order to make a purchase. When I want to purchase something I go to Google Shopping, Ebay, Amazon, and so on. I go to Facebook to socialize, and most people do just for that reason alone. However, even though SMM is more difficult for business, it is not impossible to craft a successful campaign. One can combine socializing with paid advertising in SMM to promote goods or services that are amenable to social interests. One fine example of this might be charitable donations. Social media is a great place to promote philanthropy, and philanthropic endeavors are important to making the world a better place! In this way, this third aspect of digital marketing is so very important for the world. Perhaps the best way to leverage SMM is through a thrid party that can do it professionally.
These three aspects of digital marketing offer insights into the true importance of online marketing both for today and for the future: a business can utilize (1) SEO in the long-term; (2) paid advertising for boosts in traffic; and (3) SMM on a regular basis to stay connected to one’s target audience. These three aspects are vital to every business that is serious about its growth. The first and third aspect are especially time consuming, and for that reason it is advised that a business hire a professional marketing company for maximum returns. For those businesses that see this vital importance of digital marketing as I have mapped it out here, hiring a professional third party is clearly the right choice.
#2 – Sophie Zang
As an influencer through my blog, YouTube channel, and social media accounts I have personally become a marketing venue touching over 165,000 consumers. While these numbers categorize me as a relatively small influencer, my online presence commands attention from businesses throughout the world. I have had companies send me bathing suit lines, jewelry, clothing in addition to recruit me for co-marketing opportunities that I would be paid to participate. All of this is due to the fact that companies of all sizes understand that internet marketing is a cost effective, direct, and lucrative essential component of their marketing strategy.
“When social media is part of their buyer’s journey, customers tend to convert at a 129% higher rate. They are also four times as likely to spend significantly more than those without a social component. Kasey Lobaugh. Chief Innovation Officer | Retail & Distribution Deloitte Consulting LLP
Soar Online forecasts that internet advertising is predicted to grow by 12% in 2017. Online advertising is becoming a great equalizer as it gives organizations with smaller budgets the ability to be creative and target the consumer just as successfully as the huge conglomerates. Today in 2017 it’s not a question of should a company incorporate internet advertising into their marketing strategy, but instead how they will do it and how it will change their traditional marketing plan. Challenges to be addressed: finding top talent who know this field, keeping on top of the constantly changing media platforms, and determining what resources should be pulled from the advertising campaigns of the past.
Social Media Manager, Digital Marketing Executive, and Online Marketing Manager are roles that didn’t exist just ten years ago. All of these leaders need to integrate their brand’s website into the company’s existing marketing program. In doing so they need to effectively engage their clients online just as much as they need to capture sales in person. Lead generation, sales conversions, client retention, and content marketing are top topics covered at management conferences across the country in every industry. All of these stem from the success of a company’s website, which is in turn supported by print and display advertising. These business leaders need to be nimble to the changing opinions of their target market. Pop-up ads, for example, were hot for several years yet now consumers feel taken advantage of and companies can lose favor by using this type of tool.
“81% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a webpage because of a pop-up ad.” “Native Advertising Rises as Consumer Opt Out” – Mimi An HubSpot.com
This is a challenge for every size of organization from an independent, sole-proprietor; to an international power house, such as Pepsi Co.; and to a national chain, such as Target.
Smaller, local businesses have an opportunity to compete with the national chains yet this doesn’t come without challenges. Larger organizations can recruit from top universities using their existing relationships and they also have the resources to approach the current top online influencers. The start-up or local business needs a different approach and many are finding themselves wading into the world of search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO was a game changer for many businesses over the past ten years. It is now an essential component of even the smallest business’ marketing, in fact, with lower name recognition smaller businesses need to maximize their SEO more than anyone. When I go to Google and type in “oil change” the page starts with four paid ads from these national companies: Valvoline, Firestone, Goodyear and Jiffy Lube. The section listing all of the organic search results has eight more companies and review sites that are national chains. After this comes the first local business organic result for Krueger Auto Tech & Tire. I skipped one section after the paid ads, however. There is a Google map and three listings, the third of which is Charlie’s Hometown Car Care. How did Charlie get to be number three? This is the question that all small organizations need to tackle.
Ironically, anyone with access to a search engine can figure this out themselves if they have the time and patience. Resources are abundant to assess the usability of a site on multiple devices, to see how a local business looks online with actionable steps to improve performance, to identify the keywords consumers are using to search for the services a local business provides, to see how to create custom codes to favorably display information about a business and its events on search engines, and more. It’s all there to be found using a search engine. If a business owner doesn’t have the time or instinct to do this themselves then they need to look to another one of their team, possibly having to pull this person away from another role; or they can outsource their solution resulting in another expense. A successful business operating in today’s market needs to make these decisions and consider how their longevity and profitability will be affected by getting consumers to notice them on the web.
This overview of SEO circles back to the start of this essay. For many companies, their internet marketing strategy goes beyond SEO and utilizes “influencers” who are not only in touch with the organization’s target market, but actually can directly tell their followers what to buy and where to get it. Social media channels, bloggers, and YouTube are full of influencers of a diverse background and level of influence, many of who today actually make a bountiful income by growing their sphere of impact. Their incomes are derived from paid advertisers and sponsors and it is a lucrative world for these online celebrities many of which have even transitioned in reverse. They start online and then build relationships with brick and mortar businesses and TV outlets.
Fortunately for local businesses, there are also online influencers who are smaller in scale like myself and will promote and advertise products for free as long as we like the product and company. These smaller players typically get a percentage of the sale when a consumer purchases it through their link in addition to the perk of free swag. It’s all available to businesses of all sizes as long as they understand the rules have changed and television, print and bill boards are losing their rank as the prime marketing channels. One video on YouTube that goes viral on Facebook may be all that it takes to make a no-name into a star and a small local business into a destination presence of their own. SEO, social media, website advertising, and online influencer relationships are the future.
Kids today are driving this from elementary education all the way through their search for colleges, first homes, and into retirement. As early as kindergarten, children are on computers to write research paragraphs on puppies and dolphins. Free choice time is a combination of learning toys, arts and crafts, and computer games. School libraries provide a learning environment yet the tool used within their walls are computers as most books on the shelf are for recreational reading. Marketing to students is no different than other consumers although companies also need to learn how to get around firewalls if this is where they want their presence to be established. These open minds and very computer savvy young consumers are ready to embrace new products that they’ve never actually seen in person, whereas many older shoppers prefer a combination of online and in-person contact. In essence, the preferences of the target market dictate the need to support online marketing with other traditional forms of connecting with the consumer.
“Adults in the United States devoted about 10 hours and 39 minutes each day to consuming media during the first quarter of this year.” – “The Total Audience Report: Q1 2016” Nielsen.com
Exceptional customer relationships, quality products, and strong management commitment to employees remain the foundation for every successful business and internet marketing alone will never replace these essentials. What internet marketing brings are the consumers who experience a majority of their lives online and consider their favorite online sites, brands and personalities as their “community”. This is the present and future of marketing throughout the world.
#1 (Winner) – Arwyn LaPella
In today’s society technology and the internet plays a huge part in just about everything
including marketing. Marketing is important because it creates, captures, satisfies, and keeps costumers
coming back to the producers. Marketing is one of the most important aspects of the economy. Before
we relied mainly on technology big producers would utilize newspapers, flyers, billboards, or some other
type of printed advertisement to push their business and their products. Now, almost every big business
has digitized their marketing techniques.
The amount of different forms of technology that is available to society today is extensive, from
laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Society relies on these different forms of technology for almost
everything and has completely outdated the old forms of advertising. It has been proven that the
average person looks at their phone about eighty-five times a day so it only made sense that bigger
companies paid the extra money to make their advertisements more mobile.
Almost everyone has some form of social media, whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the
list goes on. With big companies taking that into consideration they decided to move their advertising to
the social media world. Ever notice that your Facebook feed will simultaneously advertise a product that
you had previously googled earlier that day? That is a prime example of the companies pushing and
advertising their products. Your smartphone, tablet, or laptop knows what type of person you are and
what your interests are based on the products you are searching on different search engines.
With these big companies monopolizing buyers’ market and all the money they have to spend
on marketing it is difficult for local and small businesses to stay in afloat. With the option of search
engine optimization, or SEO, it makes it a lot easier for local and small businesses to advertise for their
company, the different deals they have, and their products. Search engine optimization helps smalls
businesses with their online visibility. Local search engine optimization utilizes a few different engines
that help promote small businesses such as, Google, Yelp, Yellowbook, and a few other websites. The
amount of people that use these different search engines to find local business for different services is
more than you think. If a business utilizes these different options the chances of them gaining more
customers if greatly increased.
There are plenty of reasons why local businesses should utilize local search engine
organizations. Some of these reasons include and are not limited to: local customers utilize the internet
to find local businesses on either their desktop or their smartphone device. About ninety-six PC users
conduct local searches and about forty-six percent of Google searches are local. Also, the mobile
internet is constantly growing every day. Mobile searching is at an all-time high in the United States at
about fifty-one percent as opposed to desktop being at forty-two percent for local business searches. A
great aspect of this form of marketing is that most of it is free and it has proven to be successful.
Ecommerce is the commercial transactions that are processed electronically on the internet. It is
especially important for primarily ecommerce businesses to utilize search engine optimization simply for
the fact that everything is online to begin with. Ecommerce businesses should utilize search engine
optimization for the same reasons why local and small businesses should. It is a smart way to launch any
type of business and promote your business whether it is an actual physical store or it is an internet-
Search engine organization is a good skill to have for business owners because it promotes their
business and it brings in more business to keep their businesses up to speed with the bigger companies.
These search engines offer free advertising, help bring in more customers, and keep costumers coming
back to their business. It has proven that search engine organizations, SEOs, are a big step for all current
business owners and future business owners.
As for the average consumer the search engine organization concept is especially helpful
because it makes finding the exact product or service they are looking for easier. When we are going to
make a big purchase, we tend to find the best deal. For example, when you are in search of a new
vehicle you may spend a few hours, or even days, looking at different car dealership’s websites to see
what kind of deals they are running. For a scenario like this it is also easier because all the different
models are listed for each vehicle and all the different trims, accessories, and extra add ons you can get
for each vehicle.
Another great aspect of these search engines is that consumers have the ability to post reviews
and ratings on different products, services, and customer service. When we are making a bigger
purchase, we try to get as much feedback as possible on the product before we make the purchase, this
even goes for smaller purchases as well. For instance, if you are looking to buy a new vacuum you might
doing extensive research on all the different brands and types of vacuums that are available to you for
purchasing. Not only will you compare prices at different stores, but you will compare the different
reviews for each brand name and model. A consumer would do the same thing if they are looking for a
service such as a hair place, a car garage, or some type of home maintenance. One would not trust just
any person to work on their vehicle or gain entrance to their home to fix something. This is where
search engines such as Angie’s List or Yelp would come in handy for the consumer. Search engines like
this allow the consumer to see other reviews and ratings for previous customers so they can make a
knowledgeable decision on where to go for these services.
The future is technology and if small and local businesses want to stand a fighting chance
against these big corporate companies then it is within their best interest to utilize search engine
organizations. These search engines are the best form of marketing for any type of business, whether it
is a service or a product that you are either selling or purchasing.