Digital marketing is big business, and interest continues to rise. Global digital marketing spend is estimated to hit $229.25bn in 2017 and rise to $335.5bn by 2020. Businesses large and small are happy to pump money into strategies to make them stand out in a crowded digital marketplace, but the real challenge is keeping up with the trends.
Consumers are pivotal in driving trends.
A sharp rise in mobile use has impacted digital marketing, with Reuters estimating that 75% of internet use will be mobile in 2017. In this era of choice, potential customers want to feel they have access to instant information and a robust customer service department (as appropriate) to respond to their needs. They also expect targeted adverts and emails.
Search engines such as Google have a huge influence on digital marketing approaches as SEO is a game of constant catch up. As they change their guidelines, businesses must adapt their strategies. There are also changing trends and opportunities across the wider digital world. Internet of Things, virtual reality and augmented reality are taking off. Big Data is increasingly recognised as a key cog in the machine to ensure consumers continue to access your products and services. Analytics will come to the fore as teams of marketers try to identify how to stay ahead of the curve by crunching the massive amounts of data users leave across the internet.
Amid all this is the domain name itself. Being online isn’t enough – you need to stand out, protect yourself and find a unique selling point to keep your business relevant. The options within generic TLDs and country code TLDs are limited, but .brands offer a new area in which to personalise your business.
Over 500 .brands have been registered, used by big hitters such as Google, Canon and Philips. Each of these businesses has the freedom to interpret their .brands as they wish. Some will use it to identify the location in which the product is offered, with MINI using wien.mini to differentiate between cities. Others will divide their areas into categorisations, such as global.canon and fnt.canon to identify the different areas of the company.
For many businesses, the additional security benefits of a .brand is the great appeal.
This unique, personalised gTLD offers customers a reassurance that the sites are secure; no one unauthorised can register a domain name in their branded space. Following the spate of cyber attacks on business across the world, security could become the primary driver towards .brands.
Businesses have some time to make the decision and ensure they have the support in place to apply for their own .brand in the next round of applications, likely in 2019. That may sound like a distance away, but there is a lot to be achieved before a business is ready to take on their new personalised domain name in under two years. A .brand needs to arrive into a tight, supported digital marketing strategy to maximise this unique space online. The support of a registry such as Nominet can also be vital to realise the ambitions attached to the .brand, outsourcing the task of running the back-end services to existing experts.
Keeping pace with digital marketing is one of the biggest challenges for a business, but the constant change is also a satisfying aspect for those working within it. Whether you work for the business itself or support the marketing efforts from outside, a .brand could be the secret weapon needed to continue to develop your product and maintain your position as we move into an increasingly digital world.