A Dynamic Duo: Digital Media + Inbound Marketing

Author: Mary Jo Preston

You heard right! Digital media is a great partner to inbound marketing. Now I know what you’re thinking, digital media (any paid media) is disruptive and Inbound marketing is not. And for a while, inbound marketers were told “forget media, no one wants to be interrupted and sold to.” 

While inbound strategies certainly show results over time, many clients or organizations need to see campaign results right away. So what tactics do you have in place to accelerate results? Incorporating digital media compliments your inbound campaigns and can help provide an immediate boost.

Much like Robin is to Batman, Prince Vultan is to Flash Gordon, Chewy is to Han Solo and for all my Midwest friends- an Old Fashioned is to a Friday night fish fry... your inbound marketing needs a wingman! A partner who is going to go the extra mile and help you acheive your goal. This is where digital media comes in.

What is Digital Media?

Let’s define what digital media is:  Wikipedia's definition is any media that is encoded in a machine-readable format. Digital media can be created, viewed, distributed, modified and preserved on digital electronics devices. Combined with the Internet and personal computing, digital media has caused disruption in publishing, journalism, entertainment, education, commerce and politics. The ubiquity of digital media and its effects on society suggest that we are at the start of a new era in industrial history, called the Information Age, perhaps leading to a paperless society in which all media are produced and consumed on computers. Gotta love Wikipedia!

Basically digital media is a way to serve online communication through various channels of technology including desktop, mobile, tablet, video and even TV. Through this technology, we are able to target prospects based on their online behavior. As technology changes, how we consume information changes, thus, media has to change and adapt as well.

We need to deliver our content/product/message to consumers where they are in the Buyer’s Journey, through the channels they prefer and on the device they prefer. We need to do it in a manner that is not disruptive, but in a way that it helpful, educational and provides value to them.

Use Digital Media to Extend Your Audience Reach in Your Inbound Campaigns

You’ve developed great content, you set up your campaign in Hubspot, Marketo or another marketing software system, and you are sharing your content via social channels, your blog, and email campaigns - but you want to take it up a notch? How do you get in front of more prospects? This is where your wingman comes in. 

At Stream Creative, we like to add paid media to enhance our campaigns and our clients love the results. Our inbound efforts are great, but sometimes clients and organizations need to see immediate results. 

Time to comic-book-pow2.jpgextend your reach and add some Pow!
There are tons of media platforms out there to explore. Here are few we are using and see great results with:

Facebook Ads and Paid Social Media
There are a lot of options to try but I am going to talk about the top two performers for us.

Facebook - so many ways to advertise on Facebook and it seems like more are emerging every week on this platform. So how do you keep up? I recommend tapping into insights from two of my favorite expert Facebook bloggers: Jon Loomer or Amy Porterfield.  Stream Creative partner, Steve James also writes a lot of content to help businesses get setup with Facebook advertising and how they can use it best for their business. These individuals keep you informed of the latest updates, success stories and offer courses if you want to up your Facebook game. Facebook paid media is a budget saver that delivers results. Our agency has had substantial success on this platform for B2B clients, not just B2C. I think sometimes B2B companies are nervous initially to dive into this social channel, but when they do, the return on investment is well worth it. 

Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Industry Report states that nearly two thirds of marketers chose Facebook as their most important platform.

You can find out more social stats supporting the value of Facebook advertising and the full report here.

LinkedIn advertising is another platform that is gaining ground. With their launch of sponsored InMail, they have brought a really unique way to target in addition to their sponsored posts. I just sat in on a LinkedIn webinar the other day, and from the sound of it, more advertising products will be coming by the end of the year.

Pay Per Click ( PPC)
Not only is PPC a great to drive traffic, it also improves your search placements by putting your organization at the top of search results on SERPs from Google, Bing, and other browsers. Word of caution - if you add PPC to your marketing plan, make sure to pay attention - it is not a “set it and forget it” platform. Paid search will need time in your schedule to monitor, comic-book-pow.jpgchange bids, analyze your campaigns for optimal results, or outsource to a provider to take care of this for you. Oh and don’t forget about Bing who is a nice wingman to adwords - together you get that Bam!

This is a no-brainer and something easy to implement on your own through services like AdRoll or Perfect Audience. These do it yourself platforms allow the average joe to create digital campaigns to retarget or profile and find your target audience with minimal budget. They also provide nice reports to track and enhance your campaigns.

I’m sure you have all experienced retargeting. You are on a website, leave and then mysteriously (or creepy... you decide) start to see an ad appear from the company, whose website you were just on. That’s retargeting, or as I like to call it, keeping your brand top-of-mind and asking the viewer to come back so you can help solve their problem.

Programmatic Advertising
It’s common knowledge everything we do online is tracked, recorded and collected. Amazon is a great example of this because they know what you like through your browsing behavior, and then take it a step further to show you what else you might like. Same thing with Facebook, they record and keep track of all your clicks, likes, check-ins, etc., compiling all this data.
happy-eye-clipart-k7306740.jpgProgrammatic allows you to use this third party data to profile and find your audience based on criteria you select. You can do it via behavioral, contextual - meaning what they are reading, through apps, etc. I guess you could say they are 'Big Brother.'

Trade Publications
B2B take note - trade publications have come a long way from just the standard print ad placements. They have jumped on the digital bandwagon and offer up everything from display ads, to e-newsletters, to sponsored webinars and more. Plus, companies can take advantage of their reach through their social channels and have them spread your content to niche audiences.

Looking for a way to distribute your content through more channels? These are two more I am excited to talk about and recommend trying if you have tons of great content and just need to get it distributed through more channels.

nativenews.jpgNative Advertising
Native by definition, is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. Simply put, it places your content on various websites and makes it appear to look like an article on a page. If you are in a situation where you have all these great blogs or premium pieces of content, check out Taboola, a native distributor and content discovery platform in which you can pay to have your content distributed further out to your target audience in this manner.

nativemobile.jpgVideo Advertising
Check out TeadsTV, if you have tons of video content and want to explore some paid video native channel solutions.

Together these two pack a mean 1-2 punch!

And let’s not forget about the best reason for using digital media - data and reporting. Plus the ability to review, adjust, test, during the campaign, not when it is over! 

For all my data junkies, who need the 'Proof is in the Pudding,' here are some nuggets to swallow:

  1. Our client, Wolf Paving, saw a 65% sales increase over previous year when they added paid media to their inbound marketing strategy. 
  2. Lakeland Industries fire campaign resulted in over 3,000 leads by integrating digital media and inbound together. 
  3. Cardinal Stritch University was able to drive over 500 leads to their admission office in one school year by integrating paid media and inbound together. 

What is hot right now in digital media?

I just sat in on a webinar sponsored by Centro, a company that is know for being innovators in ad technology. If you are using several digital platforms for one campaign, and want to run them through a one stop, digital media shop, check out Centro. Plus, they’re so in-tune with the ever-changing digital space. If it is happening, they are right there reporting on it.

Right now, in the digital media world, we are seeing an increase in dollars spent toward video, proximity and search.
– Jared Rosenbloom Midwest Director of Media Strategy and Operations

A few cool digital media platforms Centro talked about as “hot” today:

amazon-hulu-netflix.jpgConnected TV- a television set that has built-in internet capabilities or is connected to the internet.

69% of households have a connected TV {source: Centro}  ➭ tweet this  

Geolocation (proximity) uses mobile devices built in GPS to accurately show where the device (and therefore its user) is located.

90% of Mobile users turn on location services {source: Centro}  ➭ tweet this

bat_signal2.jpgWhat does the future look like for Digital Media? 

Keep a watch on these digital media platforms, as they are on the rise and picking up pace:

Use of Personal Assistants and Voice search command



65% of Smartphone owners use voice assistants {source: Centro}   tweet this

10% of households now have an echo or similar device {source: Centro}
 tweet this

As technology keeps advancing, another digital media platform will emerge to help you reach your target audience. All the more reason to take your inbound marketing efforts, add some “hot sauce” media to it and make it your wingman! 


Adding paid media to your marketing mix might feel like a risk - but flying into the Danger Zone can pay off big for your organization and your clients.

Have you had success with digital media and inbound marketing being a dynamic duo? We'd love to hear what you’re using and if you've seen results. Leave us a comment below.

Admit it, you now have that song in your head and can't get it out!

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Digital Media, Paid Media

About the Author:

Mary Jo comes with over 30 years experience in media, marketing, advertising, promotions and special events. I love ever changing technology and all the craziness that comes with it.

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