Digital Marketing: The Dawn of a New Era
Digital marketing has been described as an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers and retain them. It takes place via one or more forms of electronic media and differs from traditional marketing in that it uses multiple channels and methods that enable an organization to analyse marketing campaigns and understand what is working and what is not – typically in real time. While the internet is, perhaps, the channel most closely associated with digital marketing, others include text messaging, instant messaging, apps, podcasts, electronic billboards, digital television and radio channels, etc. Digital marketers monitor things like what is being viewed, how often and for how long, sales conversions, what content works and does not work, etc.
Digital media is so pervasive that consumers have access to information any time and any place they want it. It is an ever-growing source of entertainment, news, shopping and social interaction, and consumers are now exposed not just to what a supplier says about their brand, but what the media, friends, peers, etc., are saying as well. Consumers want brands they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalized and relevant, and offers tailored to their needs and preferences.
Digital marketing success involves, responding to and initiating customer interactions, managing complex customer relationships across a variety of channels – both digital and traditional and; extracting value from big data to make better decisions faster. It has become synonymous with targeted and interactive marketing for products and services that deliver measurable results for marketers. It has enabled consumers to become a part of the brand’s journey and define their own expectations from the brand.
Digital marketing is a mix of marketing channels such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer engagement, campaign marketing, social media marketing, email direct marketing (EDM), SMS Marketing, Whatsapp Marketing, display advertising and any other form of digital media to communicate brand message to the consumers. Digital marketing is about reaching your target audience on digital devices through digital media anytime, anywhere.
Strategy and Integration
However, digital marketing is more than simply adding these online channels of communication. It requires careful integration of digital into all aspects of marketing and requires a strategy to run in cohesion with the other traditional media. Some of the most common misconceptions that may impede the implementation of a successful digital marketing strategy for brands include:
- Campaign result measurements are unclear in digital marketing: On the contrary, the results of a digital marketing campaign are measurable with exceptional accuracy. Unlike traditional media like television or newspapers where an accurate depiction of audience data is not available, each click, each message delivered and read by the target consumers is available to the marketers, enabling them to make tactical adjustments to their strategy during a live campaign. These quantifiable insights make digital marketing a unique proposition for marketing professionals.
- Digital marketing is about paid activities only: Digital marketing offers a larger pool of tactics to choose from to marketers. Some of these activities like a search engine and social media marketing, display advertising, EDMs, etc. fall under the paid marketing activities, while others like content marketing and influencer engagement need not be paid activities at all. It is among the unique features of digital marketing where the tactics do not restrain brands from achieving their targets. Brands and marketers can experiment freely while choosing which tactics to deploy without straining their resources to optimize their ROI.
- Digital marketing campaign should cover every social media platform: Social media platforms can be fun for the brand and its audience, and enable the brand to communicate with the target audience quickly and directly. However, marketing on social media platforms requires sharp focus. Employing too many platforms at the same time may weaken the campaign altogether. The social media strategy should be targeted at a select few social platforms that are used frequently by your audience to deliver relevant communications to them regularly. It must make sense for your brand and market, and should not be governed by trending platforms. Facebook and Twitter are great to begin, but you may want to consider LinkedIn or Pinterest depending on your target audience.
- Digital marketing activities can be implemented à la carte: Brands ought to define their objectives at the beginning of any campaign. Digital marketing activities should be customized to reflect those objectives by means of incorporation in the overall brand strategy that will inevitably differ for each brand and for each marketing problem.
- Digital marketing is a one-time activity: Marketing communications delivers the desired results when it is a sustained effort. And since digital marketing is not a soiled activity, it needs to be incorporated into the overall marketing strategy as a sustained strategy to communicate with the target audience and interact with them regularly to retain brand recall among them. These interactions also deliver additional content for the brand in the form of customer testimonials and act as a showcase of the customer-centric approach of the brand.
A carefully crafted strategy is the key to conquering the market in the digital world. A brand’s perception and, therefore, its market is defined by its understanding of the market. Digital marketing goes beyond the tactics alone to offer analysis, market research, technology, and business design through carefully drafted strategies to help the business realize its full potential. Every marketing strategy is designed with the objective of attracting, converting and engaging customers with the brand. It, therefore, becomes imperative for brands to stand out from among the crowd in the online space and reach the customers effectively in this brave new digital world.