Digital Marketing and Its Growing Influence
Dr. S. Shyam Prasad
Digital marketing seems to have caught the imagination of our young professionals. It is logical because the evolving technologies have a tendency to move away from analog to digital. The ever growing digitalization seems to be the future of business activities. Evidence show that digital media forms are rapidly gaining ground over their traditional rivals. In UK, according to the Office for National Statistics, over 82% of adults went online in the first quarter of this year i.e. more than 40 million people. This trend has been noticed worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. There is therefore an increasing pressure on the businesses to adopt the digital technology rapidly.
The growth of digital media is also evident from the fact that there is a sudden increase in the demand for digital marketing courses. Many online certification companies have noticed a spurt in their admissions to their courses in the last six months. According to these companies, students are increasingly taking digital marketing, social media marketing & analytics courses. About 60% of the students composed of professionals with traditional marketing experience who are now looking to shift to digital marketing roles. This phenomenal digital growth is also inspiring some to start their own ventures.
Digital Marketing – What is it?
Digital marketing is defined as the promotion of products or brands through electronic media. In some way, this definition is outdated or at least narrow. This is because, besides promotion, some products are now co-designed by the customers through internet and some are also distributed using electronic media. Internet allows download of softwares, music to name a few and 3-D printing enables tangible products to be sent through digital media. In some cases, even the price of the product is determined in the digital media. Hence we might define digital marketing as marketing of products or brands through electronic media.
Some of the important forms of digital marketing are:
Ø Websites and SEO content
Ø Internet banner ads
Ø Online video content
Ø Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Ø Email marketing
Ø Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
Ø Mobile marketing (SMS, MMS, etc.)
Ø 3-D printing
Ø Augmented reality
This list is by no means complete as new forms of digital marketing are evolving all the time.
Here we may explore as to why digital marketing is becoming important. Digital marketing helps one to use the proven marketing strategies more efficiently. Marketers can specifically target the right kind of people for their products and expect better returns. Another major benefit of digital marketing is that the results can be easily tracked. The benefits of digital marketing are enumerated below (Courtesy-Digital Marketing Philippines (DMP)):
1. Digital marketing provides a level online playing field.
Digital space provides opportunity to all businesses irrespective of their sizes to attract traffic.
2. Digital marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing.
An email or SMS campaign, for example, can reach a wider audience than TV or print campaign for a fraction of their cost.
3. Digital marketing facilitates interaction with targeted audiences.
Digital media provides ample scope for interaction with the target customers.
4. Digital marketing helps generate better revenues.
The highly focused marketing activities and the ability to interact with the customers, lead to higher conversion rates resulting in higher profits.
5. Digital marketing now caters to the mobile consumers.
Smart phones have evolved from being a mere phone into something that is influencing their purchasing decisions.
6. Digital Marketing Earns People’s Trust.
Digital Marketing leverages on social media signals, social proof and testimonials from actual consumers. The more reliable these social signals are, the higher the trust rate it generates.
7. Digital marketing makes the firm ready for the internet of things.
One has to be digitally connected to survive in the era of the “Internet of Things”.
Digital Marketing – What next?
Digital media’s growth is all encompassing. It is the source of entertainment, social interaction, shopping, news etc. and people’s exposure is not limited to what the company says. Consumers now have access to information any time and at any place they want it and they are more likely to believe social media than the company. Customers want brands that they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalized and relevant, and offers tailored to their needs and preferences.
Further, the growth of digital technologies has led to availability of very large quantity of data. Whenever consumers make a purchase or visit a web site, a large amount of data about them is collected. Marketers collect data such as what is being purchased, at what quantity, at what price, the mode of payment etc., or if they visit a web site, what is being viewed, how often and for how long, sales conversions, what content works and doesn’t work, etc. Handling of all these data to extract the right data for making the right decisions is extremely difficult.
The digital era consumer’s wants and expectations are different and are changing with the evolution of newer technologies. Marketing has to keep pace with their behaviour.
The bottom line is that this is the digital era and digital marketing has come to stay. Businesses have to adopt digital technologies for survival. The professionals craze seems to be justified.