I am a long-time digital media executive. In my role, I am frequently asked the seemingly basic question, “What is digital media?” There’s no one easy answer, but it generally encompasses everything involving the creation, distribution and consumption of content – and engagement with content consumers — using new technologies. Think shooting a video, uploading it to YouTube and watching it rack up views (while advertisers market to your viewers). That’s a lot of complexity – complexity that the technology strives to make simple; and, quite simply, digital media is something that matters to every business (including yours).
Here are five reasons digital media is relevant to every business – including yours:
- It’s where the eyeballs are. Mobile devices are transforming the media landscape as we know it. According to analytics firm Flurry, consumers have adopted smartphones and tablets faster than any technology in history. That’s faster than electricity, televisions, microwaves, dishwashers, personal computers, cell phones and the Internet, to name a few. With 7+ billion mobile devices in use worldwide (which is more than the global population), mobile is the single most important platform for dynamic engagement bar none. Nothing else comes close. If your business isn’t mobile, then you aren’t being seen. It’s that simple.
- It’s a global movement with worldwide reach. Due to the ubiquity of mobile devices, businesses can now reach people essentially anywhere in the world via digital media, even in places where traditional infrastructure is lacking. Today, you can watch your local sports team on your phone while traveling on a train through Europe (and your business can pinpoint and market to those viewers). Try that with an old-fashioned newspaper! You can bet your competitors are expanding their borders if you aren’t. Proceed with caution!
- It’s the most effective form of engagement. Behind every successful business is an effective customer (and prospective customer) engagement strategy. Digital media – mobile in particular – is the new frontier of engagement. And, visual messaging is the single most powerful form of such engagement. Online video now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic, a figure that is expected to reach 70 percent by 2016; and video engagement is more than 6 times more effective than textual or print marketing.
- It’s fueled (and trusted) by consumers. 57 percent of Internet users converse more online than they do in real life. While that increases their chances of getting “Catfish’d,” it also means that online engagement is consumers’ medium of choice for communicating. Amidst this reality, peer-to-peer connecting across the Internet has exploded and is the single most effective form of engagement, including business recommendations. 90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14 percent trust advertisements. Bottom line – your best strategy is to have your customers market for you. Engage them, and make it easy. You’ll be glad you did.
- It’s your competitive advantage. Given these realities, an effective customer engagement strategy must place digital media front and center. However, the vast majority of businesses still don’t “get” this and don’t prioritize investing in such a strategy (and, therefore, do not engage effectively with their customers and prospective customers). This applies to every business and every industry.
If your business doesn’t have a digital media strategy, and is not investing in one, you can bet your competitors do or are. Be sure you’re on the Right side of Online Issues. That is ROI you can bank on.