The strategic use of data is one of the pillars of Digital Marketing. It helps marketers to understand trends and variations in consumer behavior, resulting in more qualified experiences. But you already know that, right?
The big question now is how to keep up with a fast-changing market and keep your content relevant, especially amid the social isolation caused by Covid-19.
To talk about the present and future of Digital Marketing, Rock Content held an interview with Rand Fishkin. He’s the founder of Moz and recently launched SparkToro, a software company focused on audience insights.
During the live chat with Diego Gomes, founder and CEO of Rock Content, and Rodrigo Nascimento, Product Marketing Leader at Rock Content, Rand talked about the data industry, discussed how to act during the pandemic, and much more. In this text, we’ll bring you some of the topics covered in the interview, like:
- Gathering customer data
- How can marketers react to own their data
- Fighting for attention during the Coronavirus outbreak
- Digital Marketing during the Coronavirus pandemic
- Tips on how small companies with low budget should act
Gathering customer data
Gathering customer data is one of the most important activities for structuring successful marketing campaigns. However, Rand Fishkin doesn’t seem very optimistic about the current state of this market.
According to him, the last 3 or 4 years have been marked by large companies monopolizing data access and thus making it difficult for smaller companies to compete:
In his words: “In combination with keeping their data private, they are also lobbying governments to prevent other people from collecting data under the guise of privacy. That bothers me a lot,” he said.
As an example, Rand mentioned GDPR, legislation that regulates the use of data in the European Union. He believes that, despite the legislators’ good intentions, the law ended up “preventing any European tech startup from ever being able to compete on the global market”.
Does that mean there is no way to react? Wrong! Rand is very excited for a possible change of scenario: “the thing that I want to see from SparkToro and other companies is innovation that disrupts that model, that puts the power back in smaller businesses,” he added.
How can marketers react to own their data?
As you know, Content Marketing is a very useful strategy to get fist-party data. By offering engaging content, you can attract the persona and build a relationship of trust. This enables you to collect information.
In this sense, the interviewee called attention to the importance of companies strengthening their own platforms: “make your website the first place any content appears,” he emphasized.
Naturally, Rand encourages that this content can then be distributed on other channels, such as social networks. For him, what matters is that the website should be the first to receive traffic and thus become a reference for those who want early content.
After collecting and validating the data generated by your website, it’s possible to create a high-quality funnel showing details about the consumer’s journey and behavior. It’s interesting to have a graphic representation of this funnel, in order to make it easier to visualize.
An expert in the strategic use of data, Rand also called attention to the importance of focusing on the quality of information rather than quantity: “we (at SparkToro) think of data less as a commodity and more as a way to get insights,” he stated.
Fighting for attention during the Coronavirus outbreak
We always say that one of the most important qualities for a Digital Marketer is to know how to adapt to adverse situations. But let’s be honest: nobody was prepared to deal with a global pandemic.
In addition to all the problems Covid-19 has been bringing to the global health and economy, it’s also changing consumer behavior on the internet, which directly affects any digital strategy. Rand noted, for example, that this is the first time desktop use is going up and mobile use is going down.
As Diego Gomes recalled during the interview with Rand Fishkin, the attention span of Internet users is getting shorter and shorter, much due to the external interferences caused by the social isolation routine. News consumption and concern about other topics are also challenges in the competition for people’s attention.
The post-Coronavirus world
About the post-coronavirus world, Rand said it’s difficult to predict what will happen. He suggested, however, that it’s possible that many people will remain frightened by the disease and stay isolated even longer, using the internet for all their activities.
This could be an opportunity for those who operate digital sales: “e-commerce is the primary thing everything will get bought and done. So if you are in that field and can serve the wealthiest 20-30%, those folks are going to continue to buy online”, Fishkin said.
Another point highlighted by Rand is the likely warming up of the B2B market for digital services. He believes that many businesses will seek contractors, agencies, and service providers to do all the work they need instead of hiring full-time workers.
If this scenario is confirmed, we’ll probably see growth in what Rand calls innovation and digital creativity, generating new startups. “Think about how your products and services can serve one of these new people”, he advised.
Digital Marketing during the Coronavirus pandemic
With social isolation forcing many people to stay at home, the demand for distance education activities is increasing. Rand pointed out that this is also relevant for the marketing professional, whose task will be to attract the public to the digital events held by the company.
Although it’s possible to take advantage of some opportunities, Rand called attention to the fact that the moment is not the most favorable to converting leads. According to him, however, it’s a great chance to increase the brand’s reach, build email lists, strengthen social channels, and create links with the audience.
His own company, Sparktoro, is offering free resources and solutions, in an effort to attract subscriptions and start a positive and lasting relationship with customers: “when the economy hopefully recovers, people will remember that SparkToro helped solve their problem and come back to us”, he stated.
It’s, therefore, time to focus more on the middle of the funnel than on the bottom, educating the public about the problem and putting your brand in a consultant position. Whenever they want to know something about it, the lead comes to you.
More than just marketing actions, this kind of approach reinforces the idea of brand humanization, so valued by the 4.0 consumer. The moment requires empathy and solidarity more than any business result.
Tips on how small companies with a low budget should act
Streamed live, the interview attracted the participation of the viewers, who asked questions that generated interesting debates. One of them, by Ricardo Padilha, questioned what small companies that are low on budget should do to confront the present crisis.
Rand’s first answer could not be different: invest in organic channels. With the growth of digital traffic, this is the perfect time for you to improve your web design, boost your SEO strategy and bring more and more people to your website, your landing pages, and your social networks.
Also, the customer per acquisition of an organic strategy is much lower than what is offered by paid ads. Another factor is a possible reduction in competition, since, unfortunately, many businesses are shutting down or making cuts in their marketing budgets.
According to Fishkin, therefore, companies able to stay afloat during the crisis can grow from Content Marketing efforts.
In addition to stressing that companies must strive to become sources of influence to the public, he mentioned videos and podcasts as types of content that can be used for this purpose.
The idea, remember, is to hit the middle of the funnel: “get your email list rocking right now! There has never been a better time to capture people who have interest but potentially have no budget at the moment”, Rand said.
To reinforce his view, he said SparkToro would follow a similar protocol in the coming months.
Without much investment in paid marketing, the plan is to focus on building up the audience over the next few months to reap the rewards in the future: “it’s not that it wasn’t a good strategy before, it’s just that it has become especially useful and powerful now”, he reasoned.
In approximately 1 hour of conversation, Rand talked about the current challenges in Digital Marketing and, using his knowledge and experience, shared tips that can be valuable to any professional.