OPINION: Bridging the digital divide

In this day and age, staying on top of the marketing game can be a daunting ambition.

The rise of digital media has created a brave new world of almost unlimited marketing options.

But for renewables companies, getting to grips with digital media will become increasingly instrumental in delivering their messages effectively.

In our industry, sales cycles tend to be long, and customers cautious. Marketers aiming to promote larger-cost products and win sizeable contracts know that potential customers have to understand the often elaborate features of their offerings in order to make informed investment decisions.

Fortunately for us, digital media offers us innovative possibilities to demonstrate expertise and explain a product’s value in a meaningful way.

Indeed, digital platforms have favoured the emergence of what is known as content marketing, which is essentially a technique based on the digital distribution of content-rich communications with a high degree of utility.

Content marketing allows marketers to take the potential client on an ever-deepening learning path, supported by heavily content-driven strategies using videos, infographics, webcasts, podcasts or white papers. And all of those can be promoted digitally in multiple ways, such as augmented reality.

So how do you get started?

Squeeze your company’s intellectual capital. Get your key people to participate in a webcast. Compile the same content into a white paper. Promote the white paper through social media and online banners. Turn the white paper into a video, integrate it into your print adverts through augmented reality, post it on YouTube and on your website. Split the white paper into blogs and post them on your website and on social media... and on and on it goes.

That’s the way content marketing works.

The development of a rich and engaging online presence will boost website visitor acquisition, lead capture and brand awareness.

So what does our modern renewable-energy marketer look like? He will exploit digital channels and dynamic content. He will be fully committed to keeping up with the evolution of marketing technology. And because 21st-century marketing teams need professionally qualified marketing people who are experts in their niche technological areas, they will make sure to have geeks on their team.

In this ever-changing digital environment, the ability to understand and exploit technology developments will place smart marketers resolutely ahead of the pack.

Jonathan Collings is operations director at renewable-energy marketing agency Collings & Monney