Digital marketing is a huge industry, and only getting bigger. According to numbers quoted from Forrester Research, the global digital marketing industry was projected at $77.1 billion (USD) in 2016, and will grow to $103.37 billion by 2019. There is no one name or shape of it. It goes by different names (online or digital marketing, e-marketing), is found on different media and platforms (web, e-mail, social, mobile, streaming video/audio), and, for advertising, a plethora of means of placement (native, programmatic, programmatic native, real-time bidding, etc.).
Digital marketing has not only overtaken traditional print and broadcast advertising, it is rapidly evolving from within. “Traditional” online marketing, such as e-mail marketing, is facing a rise of anti-spam privacy and cybersecurity concerns and legislation. Accordingly, e-mail marketers are moving away from being a channel for brand awareness towards one of brand loyalty. People are far more comfortable opening an email from a brand or individual they know. Savvy companies are using e-mail to engage their existing contacts, customers and consumers, interacting regularly for relevant information, deals, and deepened relationships.
Even when e-mail is used for initial contact and lead prospecting, messages are now increasingly shorter and denser than ever, to ensure they fit in the form-factor of a busy user checking e-mail on their mobile device. E-mail marketing is also becoming highly personalized, with emails being assembled on a dynamic basis, rather than a “one-size fits all” static newsletter. However, this requires a far more sophisticated platform to manage disparate assets and content, and a requisite technology base to support it.
Social is also revolutionizing marketing. Social media, which today also encompasses live video engagements, is on track to account for 20% of all Internet advertising and $50 billion in total by 2019. Choosing which platform to focus on also requires an understanding of where and how linguistic markets congregate online. Targeting China, for instance, requires a completely different calculus than hitting the EU.
Mobile and web experiences are also now customized based on a highly-data-driven analysis of user behavior, geolocation, interests, past and recent activities and more. Thus, marketing technology platform providers are employing big data systems to target ads, such as through the iAB Real Time Bidding (RTB) standard. With programmatic native programs, rather than an ad be an all-in-one, finished piece, different digital assets are stored separately and assembled as-needed, on-the-fly, based on the geometry and capability of where you wish to display it. In a way, this simplifies localization of advertising, but it also means you need to pay attention to the underlying mechanisms of delivery.
There is no one-size fits all for digital marketing and localization strategy. You may simply wish to hunker down and keep up the cadence you have today, but simply add more languages to your portfolio. Or you may have to rethink everything from scratch, from how you manage your digital assets, to which channels may work best in which markets, to how you send out the monthly newsletter.