If you want to be successful with digital marketing and design, then your best bet is to study what today’s leading brands are already doing. You won’t necessarily want to copy them, but mimicking their approaches can prove to be quite fruitful.
4 Lessons From Top Brands
The digital marketing industry evolves at a swift pace. Specific strategies may only be effective for a few weeks at a time before the marketplace shifts and something else becomes a “best practice.” Understanding this, here are some lessons you can take from a few leading brands.
Content marketing is very important in today’s digital marketing landscape, but it’s also time-intensive and expensive (depending on how you execute). That’s why you should be on the lookout for opportunities to relieve pressure in this area by driving word of mouth. This is something Zappos does extremely well.
“Zappos sets the gold standard for online customer care. They not only provide a 365-day money back guarantee, but free shipping both ways as well, should consumers decide to return or exchange products purchased on the site,” says Eric Siu of SingleGrain.
“As a result, Zappos doesn’t have to work hard to market its online presence – its policies are so appealing to consumers that shoppers are eager to sing the company’s praises to one another in a completely organic (and viral) fashion.”
You know what’s sexy in 2017? It’s not coupons, membership programs, or free perks. What today’s average consumer wants is transparency. They want brands to be open about what they’re doing behind closed doors. They aren’t fond of secrets and crave inclusion.
McDonald’s, a brand that you wouldn’t expect to be transparent, has led this charge. In 2014, they launched a transparency campaign that acknowledged consumer concerns over food quality and clearly answered questions about sourcing, ingredients, and preparation. The result was more trust between the McDonald’s brand and fringe consumers.
- Whole Foods
As McDonald’s has learned, customers want to be involved. Whole Foods also understands this and has created an online community where customers can ask questions, interact with other individuals, post recipes, and perform a number of other collaborative tasks.
The lesson here is that marketing doesn’t exist in a silo. It requires two-way communication between customers and the brand. When this interaction exists, everything else falls into place.
Far too many brands focus their efforts on selling a product’s features. This may seem like a smart plan of attack, but when you really dig down and attempt to understand customers, it becomes clear that they want solutions – not features. Slack, the popular collaboration app, has excelled at this.
“From day one, Slack has been about selling a solution, not a product,” Siu says. “They’ve focused on customer experience, believing that one positive experience does more than a big marketing budget could ever hope to accomplish.”
The exciting takeaway, especially for small brands, is that you don’t need a huge budget in order to be successful. Providing a valuable solution to a pressing pain point is one of the best things you can do.
Maximize Your Digital Marketing Investment
Digital marketing is an investment – don’t let anyone tell you differently. It requires time, energy, money, and a variety of resources that you could otherwise use in other areas of your business. With that being said, your focus should always be on maximizing your investment. Feel free to do your own thing and get creative, but keep at least one eye on top brands like Zappos, McDonald’s Airbnb, Whole Foods, and Slack. They’re doing some pretty great things, providing valuable lessons along the way.