Grant Johnson has studied and applied his theories in marketing for years as the founder and leader of Johnson Direct, a marketing and branding agency. Here, he discusses with us the new frontiers of digital marketing, and how to pick the right marketing technology for your business.

What’s new in digital marketing that we need to be aware of?

The use of Smart Zones, a cookie-less platform that does not get blocked by browsers, is new, as is programmatic advertising that becomes smarter the more you use it.

The ability to target into very niche segments, both online and offline, is also a growing trend because it works; the use of analytics and testing is becoming more common.

The importance of great (relevant) content is becoming more critical today.

What are some common misconceptions about digital marketing that you often see?

“I never click on banner ads, so they don’t work.” Typically, the advertiser is not the target market.

Also, that digital marketing is too hard to track and measure. With the right tools and the right people, it can be one of your most, if not the most, testable and measurable forms of media used.

Another misconception is that a digital-only strategy works. Digital works best when it complements traditional media to boost ROI – that is tracked and measured.

What are some of the parts of a digital market strategy, and how do they fit together?

Begin by setting goals: leads, conversions, likes, clicks – whatever works best for your situation – and test around those goals.

Understanding how digital fits in with your current, non-digital marketing and what you expect the additional digital to help you achieve is paramount. Ideally you want to test to the optimal media mix that proves the best ROI.

Understand how your paid and organic search, re-targeting, content, banner and social media will work together and enhance your offline strategies.

What’s more important in digital marketing, content or technology, and why?

While the technology component is vital, content creates the dialog and the reaction – the click and, ultimately, the sale. So I would say that content trumps technology because it creates the relevance that’s needed for marketing to be effective today.

If you could ensure every business knew one thing about digital technology, what would it be?

Simply to not expect miracles from social media. Like all media, it takes time and patience to discover what works and what does not work. Digital can help you get to at least a part of that answer faster than other media options. Then, take those findings and apply them to your entire digital and non-digital marketing. However, do not forget to continuously test. It is the only way to ensure on-going marketing success.

For more of Grant’s thoughts and insights, follow Johnson Direct on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.