Of course we think digital marketing is a cost of doing business. We’re a digital marketing agency! But there’s more than just self-interest behind our perspective.
The reality of today’s digital consumer is that the vast majority of people, from Gen Z to Boomers, are using the Internet to research local businesses before making a purchase. That means Google searches, websites, online reviews, social media channels and more.
If your business isn’t engaged in digital marketing, any future customers will almost completely be in the hands of your current customers via word of mouth. If you run a good business, you will hopefully still be able to earn new business this way. But growing without a digital marketing strategy is certain to be difficult and slow.
I sometimes hear from businesses that they’ve built a strong, thriving business without digital marketing, so they feel they don’t need it. Others say that the way their industry works, digital marketing just isn’t necessary. These perspectives have validity, but they represent short-term thinking. Just because something functions a certain way today, doesn’t mean it will remain that way tomorrow. When almost every adult in the US has a computer in their pocket, how can any industry be insulated from the impact of these devices?
Also, after doing some keyword research, I often discover that people are looking online for these kinds of business at a greater rate than these businesses realize.
It’s true that some businesses and industries have grown and expanded without needing comprehensive digital tactics, but we are in the midst of one of the biggest generational shifts in our country’s history. According to Pew Research, 10,000 men and women turn traditional retirement age (65) every day for the next 19 years, being replaced by generations that have grown up with technology and digital tools.
Beyond high rates of personal social media usage among these “digital native” generations, they will also be more inclined to embrace digital technologies from a business context as well. So it is very likely that industries will transform as the people that run them do as well.
While we strongly believe digital marketing is a cost of doing business, this isn’t to say that all digital marketing tactics are 100% necessary. The tactics will depend on the budget, the needs, the business type/industry and a number of other factors.
There are foundational digital tactics that fall under the “cost of doing business” category which would include: brand/logo design, websites, and SEO. However, with SEO increasingly being influenced by online reviews, blog content, social media activity and more, the lines between “foundational” and “optional” are starting to blur.
At the very least your business needs to understand how digital marketing influences consumers. From this position of knowledge/understanding it will be easier to determine what might or might not make sense for your business.
If you would like a free quote for your business, please contact us today.
Joe is the owner and chief digital marketer at Rithm Marketing. He has been building websites and executing digital marketing strategies for about 10 years. Previously Joe was an analyst and director of marketing for a prominent digital marketing trade association.