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Does brand marketing still matter in the digital age?

Most of you know that Biznology is all about digital marketing, which is a nice hot topic to cover. And you’ll be forgiven if you think that all this focus on shiny new marketing techniques leave little room for the tried and true. But you’d be wrong. Digital marketing, in fact, is way more about marketing than about digital. Even though there are many things that are changing, the basics still stay the same. One of those basics is brand marketing. Far from becoming unimportant, brand marketing is becoming more important to more companies every day.

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Digital marketers (including me) have criticized the old “brand awareness” game, where that was the only measurement we focused on to show that our marketing is any good. I’ve often tried to get companies to focus on actual direct marketing metrics and conversions, reasoning that if they buy from you then at some point they probably became aware of you.

But don’t let that focus on measurement lead you to the conclusion that brand marketing itself is unimportant. Sure, we want metrics focused on sales, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need a strong brand. What’s really true is that band in more important than ever for the simple reason that digital marketing makes marketing important to more companies than ever.

In the old days, B2B companies had no marketing more elaborate than, “What should we put in this year’s brochure to bring to the trade show?” Small businesses had even fewer marketing decisions to make: “Half page or full page ad in the Yellow Book this year?” But digital marketing means that you can affordably reach even the smallest group, so suddenly your brand matters a great deal more than ever before.

Every business must think in terms of digital branding that reflects who they are as a company. Your newsletter, your website, your social media presence, and many other marketing tactics now make sense for any type of business, and with that, your brand matters more than ever before.

What do you stand for? How does that image start with the first digital touchpoints and carry through in every interaction with your company? Digital marketing means that you are competing with companies far and wide that you never had to worry about before. How do you differentiate when being the one down the street no longer matters?

These are big questions that every business must face in the digital age, but we do want to help you solve them. We’ve launched a series of Biznology Jumpstart Workshops to help you navigate these new challenges in marketing, and Denise Lee Yohn and I are pleased to offer a Brand Marketing Jumpstart Workshop on-site for your business to introduce or revitalize your company’s brand.

But whether that makes sense for you or not, don’t be caught puttering along with the same old marketing playbook as the world changes around you. If you market online, you have a digital brand. If you have a business, you have a brand. If your brand is literally selling your company short, you need to do something about it.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, a leading digital media marketing consultancy based in New York City. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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