The new face of digital marketing is a strikingly familiar one. That was evident when EVR joined a group of agencies gathered in Chicago recently for a digital conference hosted by the Agency Management Institute.

The room was filled with digital marketing directors and strategists, but there were also account executives, creative directors and directors of content services in attendance. The message is clear: The digital strategists are leading the charge, but digital is a language we all need to speak. Those who are not fluent will be left behind.

As moderator Drew McLellan put it: “Creative and Brand shops are hurting the most when they do not make the shift to include digital seamlessly into their services. Creatives are no longer the `Cool kids’ – it’s the digital staff.”

Here are some conference takeaways and insights into how agencies are defining and featuring digital marketing to clients.

Marketing Automation

Third-party inbound marketing providers (SharpSpring, HubSpot) and other automation tools allow marketers to track consumers who visit your website, even ones who were seemingly anonymous. Identify, track, connect and, ultimately, make a sale. Targeting consumers through email with specific and timely content based on their interest can reduce time in the sales funnel.

Are You Down with OPM?

Some agencies are baking in all digital (PPC-SEO-Social-reputation-reviews-everything!) under Online Presence Management (OPM). This allows them to focus on the result rather than the tactic. OPM is not just a new buzzword, but a shift in focus that reflects the way agencies are meeting the demands of clients looking for tangible results. It is part branding and part lead generation. The client sets expectations (KPIs) and success is based on metrics, whether those are impressions, clicks, shares or sales. Additionally, building and protecting your online reputation should not be an overlooked part of OPM.

The Great Social Debate

Social media can effectively build trust and brand loyalty, and increase website traffic as well. It is a great way for businesses to talk to consumers about their products and services, and just as importantly, it’s how consumers communicate with other consumers about your product or service. How much time does a client want to devote to that? Most marketers are offering social media management; few think they are doing it right. Establishing the goals of a client is important to avoid wandering aimlessly in the social soup.

Content and Digital

Digital needs engaging content to drives consumers to a site. What is engaging content? Checklists, how-to lists, landing pages, quizzes, videos and blogs. It populates a client’s website and spreads into their social outlets; it’s in all forms of advertising and is spread through online influencers. Engaging content inspires people to like, share and spread a client’s message. It’s about what catches the eye of consumers and makes them click. The right mix of engaging content changes with each client.