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Demystifying Digital Marketing for Your Business

By Lianne Stewart

Published April 10, 2024 • 6 Min Read

Two of Canada’s leading experts in digital marketing are sharing their insights on how to transform digital marketing tactics into actionable business strategies that are easy to implement and that can help your business grow.

Feeling overwhelmed by the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape? You’re not alone. While digital marketing provides a comprehensive toolkit for businesses to increase their brand awareness, unlock lead generation, and build strong customer engagement, the path to success can be anything but linear. We spoke with two of Canada’s leading experts in the digital marketing space, Rochelle Grayson and Amal Gayed, to share their insights on how to transform digital marketing tactics into actionable business strategies that are easy to implement and can help your business grow.

Understanding your audience, beyond demographics

Unlike how some traditional channels typically target customers, digital marketing goes far beyond demographics like age, gender and location. Serial entrepreneur Rochelle Grayson, author of the Foundations in Digital Marketing textbook and founder of the Mosiac Accelerator, emphasizes that digital marketing can unlock a deeper understanding of your audience’s lifestyle, behavior, and motivations. This can open doors to entirely new customer segments, product diversification or category creations you might have previously missed.

For instance, Grayson highlights the limitations of solely age-based targeting. “I have a personal example: when I go clothes shopping, the stores that target my age don’t have what I want. I love bright coloured clothing. This means I have more in common, fashion-wise, with teenagers than with people in my own age group.” Targeting based solely on demographics not only ignores her preferences but could also dismiss not only her share of wallet and close the door on new growth opportunities for businesses.

Unveiling customer motivations

Amal Gayed, owner of Montreal’s AG Marketing, helps businesses develop strategic communication plans, marketing insights, and brand strategies that unlock long-term growth. She recommends leveraging tools that go beyond demographics to reveal consumer interests and online behavior. Web crawling sites like Spark Toro and social listening platforms like Meltwater or Hootsuite uncover deeper insights about your target audiences’ desires and motivations.

Additionally, she suggests looking into research companies that provide cost-effecitve survey options through social media platforms like Facebook and leaning on search engine optimization (SEO) insights to provide a deeper look into the motivations of your customer.

Another tool is online advertising platforms that provide AB testing capabilities at minimal cost. “By allowing the machine to optimize your desired outcomes, you can make data-driven decisions that enhance your marketing efforts and drive better results,” Gayed says.

Turning data into actionable Insights

When it comes to digital marketing, data overload is a real concern. Both Grayson and Gayed recommend tackling analysis paralysis by defining your business goals first to effectively and efficiently analyze the data you collect. Gayed says tools like Power BI can be a game-changer, because it can combine data from various sources into a single platform for visualization and cross-referencing. This allows you to see the bigger picture and identify actionable trends.

Grayson also highlights the potential of easily accessible Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to empower businesses. “We can import Google Analytics data into an LLM (Large Language Model) to identify trends,” she explains. This allows businesses to map these trends to the customer journey and pinpoint key touchpoints where customers interact with a brand. Understanding these touchpoints allows you to optimize your marketing efforts for maximum impact and turns the numbers into actionable insights to help build your strategies.

Repurposing your content for maximum value

Creating fresh content is crucial in the digital marketing space, however Gayed and Grayson suggest maximizing the value of existing assets through tools like AI.

For example, Grayson says if your company provides webinars, you can feed its transcript into an LLM with a prompt to create bite-sized social media content. This repurposed content can then be further streamlined using video editing tools like Wizecut, Discript, and Capcut, or image creation tools like Midjourney. However, Gayed emphasizes the importance of strategic planning when sweating the assets. Repurposed content needs to be tailored to the specific platform and audience to ensure it remains relevant and engaging.

Influencers can also channel your repurposed content, as they play a pivotal role in driving content creation and influencing customer behaviour. Gayed suggests leveraging influencer management platforms to streamline this effort. “[They] offer features such as influencer search engines, contract/payment management, creative approval, and post-campaign insights, all consolidated into a single platform,” Gayed says.

Building offline connections in a digital age

Digital marketing can help your businesses provide value while ensuring your brand’s tone speaks directly to your audience. Our experts believe, however, the benefits of digital should not be overstated or used in favour of traditional methods of building trust and fostering connections.

Whether you opt for digital or traditional marketing, Gayed and Grayson stress that businesses should focus on building relationships where their customers are. Offline events can be incredibly effective in strengthening the authenticity of your brand and complementing your online efforts. Grayson shared a story of a client in the farming industry where in-person events proved more effective than an Instagram campaign.  “My first question I asked was if their customers were on Instagram, and when it was clear that they weren’t, we focused instead on an in-person event to share ideas with their customers over beers,” she says.

The lesson? Don’t be afraid to forgo digital strategies if they don’t align with your customer base. “Sometimes, you think you need permission to not do digital, but the key is to be present where your audience is and engage with them in the spaces that are most natural and familiar to them,” she says.

Time to take control of your digital presence

Now that you’ve unlocked the secrets to a powerful digital marketing strategy, it’s time to take action. Leverage the insights from Rochelle Grayson and Amal Gayed to craft an online plan that fosters deeper connections with your target audience. And don’t be afraid to get creative – explore AI tools and offline events to truly connect with your customers. Implement these insights today to empower both your business and your customers.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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