Content marketing takes on special relevance in the new digital era, where limited tracking and the integration of new technologies lead the way to the future in digital marketing. We spoke to Jessie de Booij, professor of the Master in Sport Management at Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam on the key to sustained brand visibility
Our every move in the online environment leaves a digital footprint that is easy for digital marketers to track. The new technology revolution has had a direct impact on the way products and services are presented to us, but recent changes to privacy policies and user data management have put an end to the ‘anything goes’ rule to lead the way to a more defined user experience. Content marketing is the new advertising and the key to sustained brand visibility in the digital space.
Privacy, a more comprehensive and cohesive content marketing strategy, inclusivity and the integration of new technologies such as voice search, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are, according to Jessie de Booij, professor of the Master in Sport Management at Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam, the major changes that will impact digital marketing in the coming years.
Jessie is the founder of DigiJes, a company dedicated to the implementation and optimization of digital content marketing strategies for freelancers, entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized companies looking to create brand value. “Digital marketing should be in the DNA of any company,” says Jessie, who in addition to directly managing her clients’ digital channels, performs audits for companies looking for more online visibility or a customized digital marketing strategy.
What are the latest trends in digital marketing?
Privacy is one of the biggest trends right now. Apple is giving some power back to consumers, in terms of how we want to be tracked. Google is also planning to create a cookie-free era, presumably from 2023 onwards. So, consumers are becoming increasingly in control of their data and that affects digital marketing because tracking will not be as easy as it was before.
Another trend is to move away from ad hoc campaigns to adopt a more comprehensive and cohesive content marketing strategy. Instead of just looking at the objective of a specific campaign, we are working on a more global strategy, looking at the entire customer journey and the so-called ‘buyer personas’, how they move from the moment they become interested in a product to the moment of purchase, to create specific content at each moment. It is not about creating a campaign for a product that, for example, we have to launch in two months, and that’s it. We focus on content and also on context and, going back to the issue of privacy, content is going to be key because there will be fewer and fewer options for segmentation.
“Content is going to be key because there will be fewer and fewer options for segmentation”
And in line with that, with advertising, another trend is inclusivity. As a brand or company, our digital marketing strategy should be inclusive; the videos, the photos we use should include differentiating aspects such as gender, origin, race, etc. The Black Lives Matter movement is a great example of this. People are more receptive and pay more attention to inclusivity.
Another trend is adapting to the speed of change in the digital world brought about by new technologies, be it voice search, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, etc. The digital world must be in the DNA of any company and that means having the right people and the right tools. At the time a company is created, the digital part must be taken into account, even when choosing the name you must check if there is a web domain available, if there is a user name available for social media, etc.
“The digital world must be in the DNA of any company and that means having the right people and the right tools”
Why are brands increasingly considering influencer marketing as part of their online campaigns?
Firstly, because they have influence over thousands of followers and, as a brand, your reach is going to be greater. Nowadays, with ad blockers, it’s harder to display advertising, the targeting options are getting smaller and smaller in the cookie-less era, and it’s harder to get that broad reach within your target audience. And that is what is offered by influencers, who tend to know their audience very well. So, you can reach your target audience by choosing the right influencer. And it’s cost-effective in terms of return on investment. It is estimated that for every dollar you invest in it, you get $6.50 in return, a really high conversion for a digital marketing channel.
“It is estimated that for every dollar you invest in an influencer that is perceived as authentic, you get $6.50 in return, a really high conversion for a digital marketing channel”
Secondly, if someone recommends something to you in person, you tend to take it better than if the brand itself does it; it’s more authentic. You have to be careful when choosing an influencer because if it’s not perceived as authentic it can backfire, but it can be an interesting strategy.
How can a company achieve sustained brand visibility online?
This is no easy task due to the number of digital marketing channels, but it is paramount to be consistent in terms of the visuals you use, the types of content and, of course, the username should be the same across all accounts so that you can be easily found.
From there, the content must be appropriate to resonate with your audience. It’s no good just having a presence in the digital environment. To create that sustained brand visibility, you have to listen to your audience, create content that is relevant to them and offer value beyond simply selling your product.
Marketers are always under pressure to demonstrate the ROI of their campaigns. How can data analytics help us understand our customers’ behavior in the online environment?
Data analytics is a tool that allows us to determine ROI per channel. Tracking can be done with the right tracking: adding UTM parameters to social networks, or in email marketing, or by installing tracking APIs and setting up feeds, for example.
“To create that sustained brand visibility, you have to listen to your audience, create content that is relevant to them and offer value”
Tracking allows us to follow the behavior of our customers in their journey through the web and if the purchase is their main objective. Data analytics in social networks allows us to check whether we are reaching our target or which network we are most interested in, depending on our digital marketing strategy, to achieve brand visibility. The data gives us information about the customer journey, but also about possible gaps that may exist.
Which channels are the most effective, based on consumer behavior and habits?
Social media continue to be one of the most powerful tools in digital marketing, and email marketing, despite being nothing new, is still the one with the highest return on investment. And, of course, having a responsive and optimized website so that it appears in search engines and people can find us because, in the end, that is where they will find all the information about us.
“Social media continue to be one of the most powerful tools in digital marketing, and email marketing, despite being nothing new, is still the one with the highest return on investment”
Should we attribute the growth of podcasts to the pandemic?
Podcasting, as a digital medium, was already a growing content trend before the pandemic, but there is no doubt that the pandemic contributed to its popularity. Although I would say it grew in the number of casual listeners, people looking for short, light content. The regular podcast consumer predates the pandemic, but I think it’s a medium that will continue to grow in user numbers.
How can we measure the engagement of a podcast?
That’s a good question. Most people tend to look only at listens or downloads of a podcast, but there are other metrics to take into account, such as subscribers, for example. Most podcasts invite you to subscribe to the channel, and it is ultimately the community that will certify the success of a podcast. It is also interesting to see if it has been shared on other platforms and the number of ‘on-demand’ views. All this information can help us to define future content and refine our podcasts to reach more people.
A good digital marketing strategy takes time and money. What would be your advice to sports organizations that have a tight budget for their marketing campaigns? What is the minimum recommended?
Sometimes to be effective with few resources you have to apply the ‘less is more’ rule. A small business or sports organization should make sure it has a well-optimized, easy-to-navigate website and good SEO to appear in searches. Another basic tool is to have a CRM to be able to manage communication with your customers very well and make sure you follow the data protection policy. That should be the starting point and, after that, social media and email marketing are the cheapest and most cost-effective channels.
“A small business or sports organization should make sure it has a well-optimized, easy-to-navigate website and good SEO; another basic tool is to have a CRM”
If you have really good content, I would focus on content marketing, on creating quality content for both the web and social media because, sure, you have to invest a lot of time, but organic content, not paid content, is what makes sense. If you focus on paid advertising to get more clicks but then, once they reach your website, they don’t convert, you have wasted time and money. With a good social media strategy and the creation of good content you can achieve very good results.