Social media is more than a decade old, and growing as fast as (of faster) than ever, and successful brands embrace it. No longer a “try it and see” platform, an entire generation of consumers have grown up with digital access, coming of age with smartphones in hand. Today’s successful digital marketing campaigns stand on the shoulders of what has worked to determine how to proceed.
An estimated $120 billion is expected to be spent on digital advertising by the year 2021. Using their dollars wisely, some companies, of every size, are focusing on digital platforms and foregoing television, print, and other traditional formats altogether.
Here’s what two huge companies, at the center of some of the most successful marketing strategies in recent history, have done to succeed in online marketing.
Online Domination: a Netflix Story
Netflix excels at the domination game. After mega chain Blockbuster had put just about every mom-and-pop video store in the country out of business, Netflix came in and redefined the rental market with their subscription services and their ques.
But Netflix has not been a company to sit and rest on its laurels, waiting for the next Blockbuster to come along: instead, they constantly reinvent. They added streaming services, then streaming-only services, then set up their entire system to allow for successive viewing of content. They were in territory Blockbuster couldn’t have even dreamed of: unprecedented binge-watching power.
Being a largely digital company, it’s no wonder that they also interact with customers digitally. What may be a bit surprising is their wonderful sense of humor, such as taking the viral phrase, “netflix and chill” and, erhm, embracing it, even going so far as using the hashtag themselves.
Humor is a great way to connect with consumers, in a digital marketing strategy.
Dove Does It Again
Dove has had some of the most successful marketing campaigns in history by connecting with the emotions of viewers, in a completely different way.
When Dove launched, “campaign for real beauty” and the accompanying hashtag more than a decade ago, it quickly became viral–as one article pointed out, “before viral was even a thing.”
Dove could just stick with that campaign and probably experience lasting success, the way that Coca-Cola keeps rocking “Taste the Feeling.” Instead, they’ve stuck with their branding but taken on a new project: the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DESP). The project provides resources for parents and educators, as well as continuing their pledge “never to use models or retouch women’s bodies, faces or hair.”
Lest anyone get weepy and sentimental, the campaign doesn’t just build self-esteem, it also builds revenue: “As well as raising awareness about body confidence, DESP has helped to drive Dove loyalty and growth. Our data from 2015 reveals that awareness of the Project correlates with higher purchase intent, stronger brand positioning, and greater brand differentiation.”
Positive messaging and positive growth? That’s a win-win of a campaign.
Looking to enhance your own marketing strategy with some takeaways from these two behemoths? Smart. Here are a couple of keys, as schooled by Netflix and Dove:
- Embrace change
- Take any press as good press, and roll with it
- Display emotion–humor, if it fits your branding, or connecting with consumers/potential clients on a deeper emotional level
- Be real, people value genuine emotion
- Go ahead and have a cause, if it’s true to your brand
- Stick with it, across platforms, and engage with consumers/clients
- Be prolific–successful campaigns may last for years, but they still take regular updates to content and frequent engagement
In doing these things you can online market like a giant, at a fraction of the cost.