Although traditional marketing and advertising campaigns are still effective, many programs and companies are now relying on digital marketing tools and approaches to implement their marketing strategies. In the vast digital realm, it can sometimes be difficult to identify which program, tool, network or approach to leverage to meet your objective. Marketers sometimes feel that they have to do it all or risk losing out on an opportunity, but marketing is about finding the right strategy and the right approach to reaching brand objectives and this concept has even more weight when it comes to digital marketing.

So in the digital space, which must-have marketing tools do organizations need for a successful digital marketing strategy?

Web Analytic Tools
Analytic tools, like Google Analytics can provide valuable insight into the success of your digital marketing campaigns. From tracking the click-through rate (CTR) of a digital ad campaign to monitoring website traffic, using web analytic tools to keep track of your numbers helps you identify what works and what doesn’t. Compared to more traditional, non-measurable types of marketing, campaigns that have tracking ability can deliver better reporting structures that help marketers hone in on where to focus their efforts. In the world of web analytics, more integrated solutions are now being offered, such as Optify, Hubspot, Acton to name a few, allowing for an integrated approach to measuring the effectiveness of your digital initiatives. A word of caution here: Tracking and analytic tools doesn’t necessarily achieve more effective results! Strategy and creative still play the most significant role in achieving objectives.

Email Marketing
Email is still one of the most efficient and effective ways to engage your customers and prospects – if you use the tool in a creative or informative way. When it comes to attracting new clients and maintaining great relationships with exiting ones, email marketing campaigns can be very effective. Companies can take advantage of email campaign managers like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor for their easy-to-use editing features and subscriber management tools to help them stay connected with customers and deliver campaigns like newsletters and promotional blasts. More recently, inbound marketing is more utilized as a term and a tactic. Rather than just pushing information out, the more effective strategies that push information out with an intent of initiating engagement onto your website, with the ability not only to track open and click through rates, but also to evaluate where potential customers go… and to capture their information.

Digital Advertising
Now more than ever people are spending more time online and on social media networks, either on their computers or their mobile devices. Digital advertising is a way for companies to reach more consumers and get measurable results. However, with the onslaught of so many digital ads, all with the new trinkets, bells and whistles, internet browsers are getting wary. Impressions still matter when assessing digital properties. The beauty of digital advertising still remains its targeting flexibility.  With many digital spaces, as with Facebook ads, companies can target specific locations, interests(psychographics) and consumers with more precision than traditional advertising could ever offer. You can slice and dice niche markets to the minutia. Again, I have to say, the ability to achieve the performance you set is based on your strategy, creative and execution.

Social Media
This one is obvious – you can’t ignore the giant marketing prowess of social media. With a vast variety of tools and promotional possibilities, social media has emerged as arguably the most powerful marketing tool in today’s digital universe. From Facebook, to Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, the social media giants offer companies a valuable and effective way to reach consumers on a more relatable, engaging and exclusive level – with the ability to track and measure all efforts.

Many companies are just starting to explore the digital marketing possibilities available to them and shifting from traditional to digital campaigns. I would add a word of caution here, to approach marketing as it always has been approached, integrating parts of all channels to make a better whole.  It goes without saying that Digital Marketing is one area that cannot be ignored – digital is where the customers are and where the future of marketing is evolving and as marketers it’s important to own that space.

What digital marketing tools and efforts does your company apply? And where do you see the future of digital marketing going?