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Seven ways internet marketing is changing how we do business

Is your business prepared to meet the demands of digital marketing and online reputation management? Do you have the resources and talent to elevate your online advertising efforts into a more integrated, cross-channel marketing mix?

While ROI and branding are still the cornerstones of marketing, new strategies have emerged that are critical to prolonged success: search engine optimization, pay-per-click and social advertising, social media integration, mobile marketing, web metrics and analytics, digital campaign management, email marketing, and more. Internet marketing and public relations requires professionals to design, manage, optimize, and measure persuasive multi-channel, integrated marketing—all while meeting the business objectives and goals of their organization.

The business landscape has already shifted toward more digital efforts, and whether you’re a small business with limited resources or a large corporation, you’re expected to not only do internet marketing, but do it well. Of course, before marketers and public relations professionals dive into the digital realm, they need to know the foundational principles and processes of the industry.

PR professionals are being asked to support goals of various types of organizations through effective communication in a complex global environment, and understanding the essential components of public relations will help them as they navigate digital PR and marketing. Learning how to apply critical thinking skills, understanding human communication, and focusing on how communication is utilized within professions and organizations are the first steps marketers and PR professionals need to take to achieve success in the field. Beyond the foundation, professionals in the marketing and public relations fields should consider the following seven ways internet marketing is changing how we all do business.

Balancing the Marketing Mix

For the first time in history, online advertising spend beat print advertising spend in 2012, according to Mashable. The Interactive Advertising Bureau estimates that in the past 10 years, online ad spending grew at a compound annual rate of 20.3 percent. These increases are impossible to ignore. Understanding how to create a balanced marketing mix and reach the average US consumer where they spend the most time (32 hours a month spent online, according to comScore) is essential to marketing and public relations success.

The Engagement Factor

For years, businesses have relied on pushing out their advertising and hoping consumers react, but without the advantage of actual interaction with the customer. Today, marketing and PR professionals receive instant feedback in the form of social media.

The engagement factor is essential to digital marketing success, and professionals need to understand how to construct relationships with users online and maintain those relationships through constant engagement. Asking questions, requesting feedback, providing contests for fans are tactics that help ignite a conversation—something marketers should embrace.

Creating Community

The motivations for communicating remains the same as before, but the tools we use to interact with consumers are vastly different than a decade ago. Marketers are now tasked with creating a sense of community among their customers, in addition to their prospective customers.


Exhibiting a genuine interest, providing transparency, and adding value to the conversation will bring consumers back to your organization and help showcase your reliability. Become an authority on a subject and share your knowledge—social media is all about creating a welcoming community online.

Internal Relationship-Building

Marketing and PR professionals are accustomed to working with various stakeholders within an organization to get the job done, but with the evolution of marketing into the digital realm, IT is playing a larger role in the execution of digital marketing strategies.

From social media to the website, mobile apps to online advertising, digital marketing efforts need to be designed and delivered with skill and an integrative approach. IT professionals and marketers need to come together to meet the marketing challenges of 2013 and beyond. This requires a higher investment in relationship building between departments and a collaborative strategy to executive the deliverables.

Measuring Success

With digital marketing, marketers are able to learn what works for an organization more quickly through measurement. You could say measuring the success of marketing initiatives has never been easier—everything is built in to track the reach, virality, clicks, and beyond. But with these new metrics comes the responsibility of dedicating time and resources to conducting and analyzing the web analytics. Building solid relationships with the IT professionals in addition to finding marketing and PR professionals who have knowledge of analytics is crucial to digital marketing success.

Staying Ahead

It seems as though there’s a new social networking platform or way to advertise online every other week, and it’s important to stay just ahead of the trends as well as be able to recognize the fads. What’s here to stay? What’s here for a whirlwind week of hype?

Learning how to identify trends and knowing which ones need the investment of time, money, and human capital is important for PR pros and marketers. For instance, let’s look at the website Pinterest, a social visual bookmarking site, which has seen explosive growth in the past years. As Pinterest makes its way toward monetization, this is a service marketers should use to help grow e-commerce businesses that are looking to receive exposure via mobile.

Paid Social Advertising

While paid social media advertising makes up less than 10 percent of overall marketing budgets across the US, according to eMarketer, it’s a growing component of digital marketing initiatives as paid social advertising results in higher engagement. There is proven growth in ad spend on social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn—all of which are social platforms that are an integral part of free digital marketing efforts for most organizations. The addition of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to these free tools will only help grow the online communities being built by marketers.

It’s time to reevaluate the skills needed to thrive in business, marketing, and public relations. Having a high-level knowledge of these important subjects (social media integration, online advertising, search engine optimization, email marketing, internet marketing communication, and more) is not enough to succeed in 21st century e-communication. It’s time to dig deep and learn the in-depth knowledge and best practices needed to excel beyond the competition.

(Editor's note: This paid content is supplied by the University of Denver's University College.)

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Amy Kelsall

Dr. Amy Kelsall is the academic director of the Organizational and Professional Communication program at University College, the college of professional and continuing studies at the University of Denver. Refresh or add skills with a graduate certificate or earn a master’s degree in one of the following concentrations in the Organizational and Professional Communication program:

Public Relations and Marketing
New Media and Internet Marketing
Organizational Communication
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Organizational Development, Training, and Learning

Our ten-week courses are available online or on campus in the evenings at the University of Denver.

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