Marketing today is exper-iencing a period of profound and accelerated transformation. Technologies such as blogs, podcasts and streaming video are permanently changing consumer attitude and behavior. The good news is that this transformation creates opportunities for everyone in terms of advertising. The key, however, is to integrate the tried and true “old media” outlets with the emerging “new media” to get more consumer engagement and better results from your advertising dollars.

Before you start spending time and resources in online marketing, take a look at the following five pillars to enhance the engagement and response of your digital marketing campaign so you can successfully integrate your old and new media approaches.

1. Personalization

Consumers will be more interested in your ad if it addresses their specific needs and interests. The question is, how do you personalize an ad that’s going out to millions of people? Fortunately, with digital marketing, you can personalize. In fact, the Internet allows for ever increasing ways to target and create personal experiences and ads for consumers.

Remember that “junk advertising” is really just good advertising that went to the wrong person. By personalizing your advertising to your consumers, you greatly reduce the amount of junk advertising you invest in and you give people a meaningful experience with your company. Even better, when you can personalize someone’s experience on your web site, it’s like getting permission to market to them. They actually want to know what you have to offer.

Ask yourself: How can we use targeting and personalization to introduce a new product and grow brand loyalty?

2. Communities

Two types of online communities exist: communities of interest and communities of practice. A community of practice is a professional type of community where members share their ideas and best practices. It may be all the salespeople in a company or industry, or perhaps a group of cardiologists.

A community of interest is a hobby type of environment where people share similar interests or passions. It may be people who love dogs, sailboats or even motorcycles. You can even get granular when it comes to communities of interest. For example, you can narrow your motorcycle community to one that only includes people who drive a Harley Davidson Heritage Soft Tail Classic. The more granular you get, the more targeted you can be in giving people what they would like, rather than the junk they don’t want.

Ask yourself: How can hosting or belonging to an electronic community of interest enhance customer interest in our products or services?

3. Intelligent Multimedia Search

Internet searches are going through a metamorphosis. It’s no longer about typing a term into a search engine and being satisfied with sifting through the thousands—if not millions—of pages of results. Search is getting intelligent and is taking into account more than just web pages.

Intelligent Multimedia Search gives you the ability to search the Internet (or your computer) for text, graphics, video, animation and sound using simple commands. Even better, with intelligent search, people can use natural language or simple questions to find exactly what they want. For example, people could search their computer, their network or the entire Internet for a segment of a video or audio recording and retrieve it quickly.

Ask yourself: How can we use search to help consumers solve problems and find product information faster, including photographs, audio and video?

4. Content

As technology evolves, new forms of content emerge. Just a few short years ago, there was no such thing as a podcast. Today, they’re taking over the digital world. Once podcasts took root, it wasn’t long until we had video podcasts. The same thing happened with blogs: now we have video blogs and places like MySpace.com and YouTube.com, where anyone can create and post videos.

Because all the software needed to create these new types of content is virtually free (much of it comes pre-loaded on today’s new computers), anyone can create video or audio and unleash their creativity. Today advertisers can stimulate users to create content that does the advertising for them. For example, one of the recent Super Bowl ads was created by a young consumer. The company ran a contest calling for people to create their own ads for the company’s product. The grand prize winner would have his or her ad broadcast during the Super Bowl. Remarkably, that winning ad ranked the third best of all the Super Bowl ads—and the company didn’t spend a dime producing it.

Ask yourself: How can we use different forms of content, produced by both professionals and amateurs, to create interest in our products?

5. Interactivity

In the past, advertising was static. Users would sit back passively and read or watch an ad. Today, people are interacting with digital content, clicking on icons, moving things around, playing games, adding content and in some cases creating their own content. Anytime you can get people to go beyond reading and start clicking, you’re getting consumers engaged. And engagement is the key to creating a positive outcome—action in the form of a sale.

Ask yourself: How can we add interactivity to our ads and marketing campaigns?

Think Five for Your Campaign to Thrive

As you create and implement your old and new media advertising campaign, ask yourself if you’re making use of all five pillars. If you’re not able to use them all, decide which ones will serve you best as you integrate old and new media outlets. Remember, a new world of advertising is dawning, and the new tools are available to all. Use them. If you don’t, your competitors will.

DANIEL BURRUS, author of six books including the
international best seller
Technotrends, is one of the world’s
leading technology forecasters and business strategists. He has
established a worldwide reputation for accurately predicting
technology-driven trends and their impact on the world of business.
www.networkingtimes.com/link/burrus