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Top Digital Marketing Trends – Expert Advice from the Greater Des Moines Region’s Marketing Gurus

Katherine Harrington

From Katherine Harrington, President & CEO | West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce

The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce recently held a sold-out luncheon that featured the area’s top marketing experts. The goal was to learn about current trends and how to best leverage digital marketing for area organizations. Here are some of the many important takeaways.

Google AI and SEO: Google’s AI-driven search results are evolving, making SEO more challenging. Investing in original, well-written website copy is crucial for visibility. The expert panel recommended that every page on your website be an ‘FAQ’ style, and answer what you think your customer would ask. Make headings throughout and include short paragraphs. Leverage valuable, relevant copy, rather than less copy. Web pages with at least 600 words per page are the best. Use real life images – vs stock images – is important to help create an authentic experience.

Purpose-Driven Marketing: Purpose-driven marketing has been a long-standing trend, emphasizing the importance of aligning with causes and listening to audience feedback. Budweiser’s misstep highlights the risks of ignoring audience sentiment. Dove, for instance, is committing to never use AI-generated imagery to represent ‘real bodies’ in its advertising. Rather, the company will use real photos of women.

Influencer and Micro Marketing: Influencer marketing and micro marketing is currently a big trend. A target audience that trusts the brand helps to build the brand. The influencer is your lead pool. Leveraging influencers and micro-marketing allows brands to target specific audiences and build trust. Understanding your audience and utilizing the right channels for the right message are essential for success.

User-Generated Content: Authentic user-generated content, such as testimonials and reviews, is becoming increasingly influential in marketing strategies.

Embracing New Technologies: Brands should prioritize customer experience by embracing new technologies while ensuring employee engagement. Research, including online communities and mobile surveys, is vital for understanding consumer preferences. Talk with customers and don’t go with your own ‘gut reaction’. It may be incorrect and could be costly.

Telling Your Brand Story: Authentic storytelling, supported by strong writing and visual appeal, helps brands connect with their audience and differentiate themselves. ‘Educate, don’t sell’. Organic and ‘off the cuff’, behind the scenes’, not over edited content is gaining a lot of attention. Don’t over think the content. Sometimes a social media post does well that you don’t think will go well. Go organic and authentic. Some companies try to look ‘causal’ and it can backfire.

AI Integration: While AI offers efficiency, it should complement human creativity rather than replace it. AI removes the tedium and compliments what marketers can do. Don’t have AI to write your web page for you. Using AI tools for tasks like design and content ideation can enhance marketing efforts and excite creativity. Look toward tools such as Canva, Chat GPT, DALL-E, and many more being created every day.

Consumer Engagement: Strategies like rewards programs and valuable content creation foster consumer loyalty and engagement. Providing consistent, educational content tailored to different platforms is key. “Content is king”.

Video Marketing: Video content is increasingly popular, particularly among younger demographics. Organic, authentic content performs well, emphasizing the importance of staying relevant and genuine. There is not a ‘perfect’ or video length. The length of a video will depend on what you want to convey and the purpose.

Targeting Diverse Audiences: Balancing traditional and digital marketing tactics is crucial for reaching diverse demographics. Understanding each audience segment and adapting content accordingly is critical.

Brand Ambassadors and Community Engagement: Building brand ambassadors and engaging with communities and industry forums fosters trust and valuable connections. All of us should be ‘cheerleaders’ for our organizations and for others in our community.

Consistency and Adaptability: Consistent engagement across chosen channels, coupled with ongoing refinement and adaptation, is key to achieving marketing goals. Consistency is vital. Pick a couple of channels and keep doing it. If you are adding value, you will get traction. If you do that you will reach your goals. Don’t give up.

What I learned at this event is that successful digital marketing involves understanding audience needs, leveraging new technologies responsibly, telling authentic stories, getting the right message at the right time to the right people and building a consistent experience for your customers. We hope to see you soon at another insightful event because the WEST is yet to come! KH

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