Rapid pace. Pandora’s Box. Endless opportunities. Confusing. Complex. The future. These may be the words you think of when it comes to the digital component of marketing and data analytics. You are not alone. As companies and nonprofits alike find themselves searching for ways to stay ahead of their competitors in the current multi-digital age, the road forward can seem overwhelming and exciting. But how do you navigate this terrain that has so many different mobile devices, social media sites, content-centric websites, digital organizational infrastructures and, of course, the use of artificial intelligence? The Digital Summit, an annual conference held this year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, provided a handle on the digital landscape and offered direction on making the most of it.

The goals of the Digital Summit are to identify new trends and technology in the marketplace, explain how consumers are reacting to content and understand the analytics behind client behavior. Let’s take a look at how content is now being delivered. Everything in both our personal and business lives is showing up on our phones.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, news, sports, stocks, movies, and YouTube can be accessed on your mobile device. So all marketing endeavors must be mobile-centric, and this can be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, this is a marketers dream. We can promote our brand, product or service to an audience that is almost always close to a device which provides limitless access on multiple channels. The catch? Marketers must compete for the audience’s time in arenas that everyone, both competitors and non-competitors alike, is fighting for with equal access. Their targets can get alerts from anyone and see advertisements on the sidebar of every social media site. Audiences are spending less time searching for information because they now have the technology which searches for them based on previous behavior.

So how do you get your content in front of your target audience and manage the channels by which you do it?

1. Content: Find your niche in the marketplace. You don’t want or need to attract everyone. As a subject-matter expert for your service or product, you can weed out those who will never be clients. You want measurables that matter and that influence decision-makers. In order to do this, you need to develop content that matters to your clients. Through social media, websites and email, you have the ability to reach your target audience easily, but you must be relevant. Reaffirming your area of expertise and demonstrating how you can help your potential client is the best way to solidify a relationship.

2. Have structures in place to analyze how you market (through social media, direct mail, etc.). You will need to record the data on the marketing strategies and platforms that are the most effective and determine what language captivates your audience. This is key to understanding your metrics. But recording data isn’t enough if you don’t understand what it means. Many digital companies offer platforms to categorize your data, based on your findings. This will help deliver an analysis of what is working and what isn’t.

3. Accept that the digital age is not only here but is constantly progressing. Take advantage of all digital platforms to increase your odds of making a connection with your targeted audience.

These are the biggest takeaways from the Digital Summit Conference. Content is key to making a connection with your potential clients and building relationships. Internal structures are necessary to measure which avenues are working and which are not. Communication and cohesive understanding of messaging will work only with such structures in place. And you must use all available channels of digital marketing to have the best chance of staying relevant to your audience.