Though digital marketing may still be relatively new on the scene, this form of communication has already made its mark. Just since the late 1990s, the customer experience has undergone significant changes as marketers have had to acclimate to the introduction of email, live chat, social media, and mobile technologies—not to mention the penetration of the Internet overall. But, as in the past, each emerging channel brings with it an opportunity for companies to learn, adjust, and grow alongside the consumer.
Yet, even with nearly two decades of experience and exploration under their belts, digital marketers continue to struggle to adapt in conjunction with the evolving landscape. While some have embraced the need for constant innovation, others remain steadfast in their antiquated strategies, for they hesitate to undertake the risk that comes along with new investments. However, most will agree that this fast-paced space all but requires brands to integrate emerging technologies and adopt new skills if they are to retain their competitive advantage in an increasingly cutthroat economy.
Instead of distributing basic messaging out into the void, today's marketers must focus upon starting conversations and building brand relationships with the consumer. "Before digital marketing came on the scene, marketing was largely one way," says Adam Kapel, senior vice president of marketing and insights at Taykey. "Print, radio, and TV were used to broadcast messages to passive consumers. Now, marketers must think about how to interact with consumers—the complete opposite of what they were doing before. The fact that creative is now dominated by the desire to facilitate interactions, whether with an ad or directly with the brand, means that there are new skills to be learned."