A few years ago, clients came to us looking for "digital marketing" which, at the time, focused on creating mini commercials or informationals that would tempt potential consumers to either go to the client's web site or call them to purchase a product or service. The goal was to get your commercial or informational to "go viral" so that people shared your video sales pitch over and over in the hopes that the "ready buyer" would see the video and make the jump to the site or call.
Today, I can see a post on Instagram and with a click or two, purchase the lipstick, hair care product, handbag, dress, and shoes of the model, by taping on an embedded link. I don't have to figure out the designer is or navigate out to a stockist website. I can shop my social media. This is a huge game changer. Not only because it cuts down on engagement distraction (where a potential consumer gets distracted before they actually make a purchase), but it means that smaller businesses can compete on a relatively even playing field, because they don't have the huge commercial cost layouts.
Through social media, I can book a spa, buy concert tickets, reserve a table at a restaurant, book a test drive of a car, all by engaging with a photo or video clip.
But it doesn't end with booking things and buying things. I can now engage with all sorts of professionals. Doctors can discuss my ailments, review my blood sugar and pressure, even look at an injury. Psychologists and counselors can help me with issues. I can attend school, view real estate open houses, interact with lawyers, attend board meetings, participate in industry conferences, and engage with clients. In fact, in my business a majority of my clients work with us remotely.
All of this when boiled down, is as a direct result of changing digital marketing. If I'm a doctor in a small, rural town, there is a limit to the number of patients that I can see, because of my location. But, if I create a website, start engaging people on social media, and brand myself as a specialist in pediatric medicine, as long as I have a platform to interact with them (and accept payment) my ability to earn an income changes tremendously. I am no longer limited by my location.
IMO digital marketing will continue to make it easier and easier for people to instantly buy and sell products and information. Facebook and Instagram are already becoming like the impulse buy isle at the grocery store where inexpensive, flashy things pop up as sponsored ads frequently in your news feed. By the same token, this ease of access will also break companies quickly if they fall afoul of consumer expectation.