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By NBF News
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By Princewill Ekwujuru
Where is the place of brand custodians in   the face of digital advertising and the options available in new media? This is a question and many more, which brand watchers may like to know how brands in Nigeria will like to tackle the issue of digital advertising in the nearest future.

Even though some brands, like GTBank, First Bank, Access Bank, MTN etc may have aligned to these options, many more companies are expected to key into this.

From what will be obtainable soonest, days are coming when  companies could no longer buy a magazine Ad or a 30-second primetime spot and have a well-rounded marketing strategy. But these days, having a web strategy is not only important, but increasingly complicated.

In the last few years, companies have gone from thinking about advertising on websites and with search displays, to having to incorporate blogs, social networks, and mobile platforms.

While all these new ways to interact and be informed may be good for the general public, for a company's marketing team, they can present a daunting task: How do you get a customer to focus on your product when their attention is being pulled in a host of different directions?

However, companies are all struggling with this problem. Today, consumers are more sophisticated. They don't react to just an email with text and images. They want things that are more engaging; they want things that are more interactive.'

It was with this in mind that multi channels were created. What companies are now trying to do is empower marketers so they can quickly and easily build out highly-engageable marketing campaigns.'

In effect, one of multi -channel's offerings is the ability to help companies create 'smart polls and surveys' for customers, in which a customer's answers directly influences what the next question in the poll or survey will be. Engaging companies in this respect will also supply the coding so companies can place these polls and surveys virtually anywhere they choose - be it a website, blog or affiliate site, or a mobile landing page.

Iyer and his Kwanzoo team can help marketers with virtually any type of marketing outlet out there - from email, websites and affiliates, to blogs, social networks, and mobile devices such as iPhone and Android.

Those are just the options that exist right now.  Companies are constantly keeping an eye on what new marketing options are around the corner. He's sure they'll come - and with them, still more ways for customers to be targeted. Companies will have to adapt to the new marketing options because they don't have a choice.

From all indications it's not going to be easy, harde, so for marketers, the proliferation of channels is going to continue notwithstanding.

Channel optimisation
Obviously, not all of these channels are the same, but it's important for companies to see which visitors to their site are using desktop or laptop computers and arriving via Facebook or Twitter, and which are visiting the site via mobile devices - and then think about 'how content can be matched to the visitor.'

This is to assist marketers in figuring out which portions of their sites are being accessed by what devices - and to help them make changes.

Each day, when users of the dashboard log in, they are greeted with a report of what portions of their site are being used the most, how customers arrive at the site - and how they are looking at the site. The dashboard also grants companies the ability to quickly make changes to areas of the site they feel need to be improved upon.

'The dashboard is providing a level of control and understanding and actionability,' Wykes says. 'You cannot only measure, you can action your content immediately.'

Winning the web marketing race Web marketing strategists now have their thoughts on how companies should deal with what they call a 'ginormous buffet of marketing choices.' Simply put: start slowly.

'The biggest mistake companies make is that their eyes are bigger than their stomach: they try and do a little of everything, and fail,' However, a better approach is to start with one or two platforms, the ones customers and prospects are already using, and get really good at those.

After a while, blogging, or tweeting, or updating your Facebook business page becomes second nature and it takes very little effort to keep it going. That's the time to try something new and add to your marketing channels.'

There is no one right channel for every business, Companies need to start with where they think their audiences are. The best way to do this is to survey its current customers and ask them where they hang out online, or how they gather information.

Email's staying power While there may be no magic bullet when it comes to reaching people, a new survey ïn US indicates email is still companies' preferred way to reach consumers.

Last month in US, Strongmail, a provider of interactive marketing solutions for email marketing and social media, released the results of its '2012 Marketing Trends' survey, which the company says provides unique insight into how businesses plan to budget and prioritize marketing in the New Year.'

The survey was conducted in November, and 939 businesses participated. Of them, 92 percent said they planned to increase or maintain their marketing spend in 2012, and 60 percent said they planned to increase their email marketing budget, compared with 55 percent for social media and 37 percent increasing their mobile spending or search.

Kara Trivunovic, Global Director of Strategy at Strongmail , says there were no 'major surprises' in the survey - not even the strong showing of email amid all the other, newer choices around.

'There's always going to be a place for email,' Trivunovic says. 'We're a long way away from having a more efficient way of getting customers.'

Trivunovic however noted that all of the social networks out there still 'use email as a key; you have to have email to sign in.' The top email marketing initiatives for 2012, according to the survey, are increasing subscriber engagement (chosen by 48 percent of the survey participants), improving segmentation and targeting (44percent) and growing opt-in email lists (32 percent).

Incidentally, growing opt-in email lists is something Brooks is a big advocate of. Brooks says his experience has been that when he posts a message to Twitter and sends the same message to a 'similar-sized email subscriber base,' the email response is 'head and shoulders' above the response on Twitter.

'When you build up an email subscriber base, these are people who have agreed to receive emails from you,' Brooks says. 'At the very least, they have to delete your email to move on; no similar action is required of Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. That keeps you in front of them.'

While email may be the most popular channel for companies, it is of course by no means the only one - and, like Iyer, Wykes and Brooks, Triunovic realizes the arrival of the next great new marketing channel is inevitable. And companies will initially respond to that next new channel 'just as clumsily' as they have in the past. she says with a laugh.