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Forget about digital marketing

How digital marketing makes way for marketing in a digital world and why strategy and branding may take a center stage.

The number of digital platforms and possibilities with which brands can get into direct contact with their customers have never been more numerous. At the same time, danger lies with marketers who are forcefully making use of these mediums while unknowingly disregarding all basic principles of marketing and branding. Thereby achieving the opposite of what they want, confusing their customers and making them less loyal to their brand.

Beyond the boundaries of on- and offline

Digital customer engagement can be very successful, but only when it is a part of well thought-through and consistent strategy and branding. It was Marc Mathieu, Global Senior Vice President Marketing of Unilever who, during his keynote presentation on the STIMA International Marketing Congress in Ghent, put his finger on the key question when he said: “Stop talking about digital marketing and start marketing in a digital world”.

If you look at traditional marketing as a mass medium, it is true that it loses ground in favor of online media. But when looking at traditional marketing as the foundation to define a crystal clear strategy, branding and brandproposition, traditional marketing is more important than ever when wanting to establish a successful brand.

Integration is the key

The STIMA congress, which grew into the annual highlight for marketers in Belgium, lured about a thousand marketers to Ghent for this year’s Festival Edition. Among the speakers where some big names like John Porter (Telenet), Josh Patridge (Shazam), Phil Barden (author of Decode marketing), Derek Scobie (Google), Nilofer Merchant (Author and speaker from Silicon Valley) and last but not least Kevin Lane Keller.

Keller, who was appointed by the widely acclaimed Philip Kotler as co-author and successor, referred the marketers back to the (simple) essentials: the ideal marketing communication plan bets on different horses (online and offline) in a way that they complement and strengthen each other, making one and one adding up to more than two. Basically this means that you are generating sales whilst creating brand value.

In short, do not go digital just because of its hip and trendy character but because it gives you the best results within a well though-through strategy. A vision in which we at The Reference believe in strongly as well. Our baseline says it all: 'it's more than digital, it's your business'.

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