5 Key Challenges in the Digital Age of Marketing and one "easy-win" for Professionals
by Nina Thompson
The digital age has brought us the advent of digital advertising, which has yielded many benefits such as the ability to reach more people and the flexibility it allows in terms of the medium used to advertise. However, with these benefits also come many challenges. We will address five of these major challenges here:
1. People are Becoming Blind to Ads
Although one of the obvious goals of online advertising is to reach a wide audience, sometimes this goal is thwarted by people’s growing fatigue towards all the advertising that they are bombarded with on a daily basis. There has even been a term created for this phenomenon, called “banner blindness” or “ad blindness”, which is defined as, “a form of selective attention, in which web visitors ignore information presented in banners” (Carmichael 2020). People can either ignore ads consciously or unconsciously, which poses a big challenge for marketers who are trying to reach their audience. Sometimes people just want to watch Hulu or scroll through their social media feed without being inundated with ads, so it has become somewhat automatic for people to tune out those ads. Therefore, the question is, how do we create engaging ads that make people want to tune into them, instead of ignore them?
2. The Digital World is Constantly Evolving, and Marketers Must Keep up with the Pace
One of the fascinating features of the internet and the digital world is its ability to allow people to be creative and innovative in their approach to reaching an audience, which means marketers must keep up with all of the growing trends. The manner in which marketers reach their audience must constantly shift to meet the needs and desires of consumers. TikTok alone has opened up the realm of possibilities for how one can create a message. Depending on the audience a company wants to reach, they must also figure out which trends speak to which audience or generation and whether their target audience is likely to respond well to their advertising efforts. In this fast-paced world of digital marketing, there is no time to lose.
3. Adhering to Privacy and Data-Sharing Regulations
If there is one characteristic that has been made evident by the advent of online advertising, it is that people value their privacy, and they are wary of how their data might be getting used to target them as a consumer. For this reason, regulations and legislation have been created all over the world. This means that companies must not only adhere to rules set by the country they are based in, but also for all other countries in which their target audience lies. With this issue of privacy also comes the issue of trust. How do consumers know they can trust advertisers when they feel as though they are constantly being watched or listened to through their phones or AI devices such as Alexa? Although some people do not mind that when they mention or search a certain product, they begin to be targeted by ads for that product, others find this practice to be too invasive. How can companies maintain the trust of their consumers while also complying with privacy and data-sharing regulations and successfully reaching their target audience?
4. Maintaining Brand Consistency
As there are many channels now through which companies can create advertisements, it becomes important to maintain brand identity throughout all of the various channels. Companies must find the balance between utilizing all platforms that align with the audience they want to target, while also making sure that they remain consistent in their overall message and brand. Not only does the company have to maintain consistency across digital and social media platforms, but they must also do the same with traditional advertising platforms. Therefore, it is important that companies develop a unified marketing strategy and message in order to retain current customers and acquire new ones.
5. Avoiding Poor or Tone-Deaf Messaging
People tend to like ads that don’t actually sound or look like ads, so it is important to keep this in mind when developing an advertisement. Consumers want to feel as though the advertiser cares about them as an individual, and not just as another number or data point that companies are hoping will buy their product. Therefore, it is important not to make an ad sound formulaic and robotic, so as to make the consumer feel special and as if the product is for them. Advertisers must be creative in their messaging and tailor their message to their audience, so it is essential to determine how their particular audience might like to be addressed based on factors such as age group or gender.
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