The Fascinating World of Digital Marketing

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India enjoys a huge ‘Demographic Dividend’ with one of the youngest population in an otherwise aging world. According to ‘International Monetary Fund (IMF)’, by 2026, India’s average age would be 29, which would be the least among the global average. The Indian youth also have an advantage of digital literacy and English literacy. The demographic dividend along with fast paced growth of digital economy and digitalization, has lot of opportunities to offer for marketers. Digital Marketing is one of them. The country is all potent to capture the sea of opportunities that Digital Marketing has to offer. Digital Marketing is amazing and fascinating. Let me tell you why.

Digital Marketing is Non-Intrusive (almost!)

In today’s world where ‘personal space’ is regarded very high, digital marketing scores over traditional marketing by being non-intrusive. Customers go to search engines asking for / seeking for / soliciting for information pertaining to products and services that they think will satisfy their needs or solve their problems. And the Search engines (with techniques like SEO and SEM) serve the users, exactly the information that is sought out for – nothing less, nothing more. Only the required information – without noise – is music for the ears of the customers….isn’t it. This is just not possible in traditional marketing where there is so much noise and clutter, bombarding the audience with thousands of unwanted and unrelated adverts, 24/7. This is not what the customer wants. Also, ‘Remarketing’ – is a technique in Digital Marketing, where in you pick and choose your target customers intelligently, based on their previous search and buying behaviour patterns and show only those display ads that make sense to them. Customers would love to see ads, which match to their taste, likings, preferences and their current buying needs. Carefully choosing and picking your target prospective customers and serving them only relevant ads, and at the same time not disturbing the others with unwanted ads – Wow! That’s what I would like to call it a real ‘Surgical Strike’ in Marketing. To make it better, the icing on the cake is that all this is automated with the help of cookies and advanced algorithms. Even if you are one who get overwhelmed by technical stuff, you can chill – ‘Google’ and ‘Google Display Network’ is there to take care of everything, automatically. Customers come to you via search engines, social media and referrals, rather than you go in search of or sought customers. That’s real, cool.

Digital Marketing is Inclusive – is for ‘ALL’

Traditional Marketing in Newspapers, TV and Bill Boards has become very expensive over the years and has become exclusive – only for the big guys, out there, with deep pockets in the form of advertising budgets. In contrast, Digital Marketing is inclusive in nature and caters to the promotional needs of all players – Startups, Micro, Medium, Small and Large enterprises. Even if you are a day-old startup or a small house-hold micro enterprise having a very small advertising budget, you can still engage in Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing as it costs pretty less. Home-makers, wear a different hat as ‘women entrepreneurs’, by selling homemade stuff ranging from food snacks to organic soaps, on social media platforms and other digital channels. Digital Marketing is empowering everybody – student entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, part-time entrepreneurs, startup enterprises and large corporations. It puts all on the same level-playing field and gives a platform for everybody. Its entrepreneurship, made simple with digital.

Digital Marketing is not a ‘Black Box’

In Digital Marketing, advertisers ‘Pay for Performance’ – This is the concept behind Search Engine Marketing, also referred to as ‘Pay per Click’. Only if you see visitors coming to your website by clicking on your Search Ad, through a Search Engine, then only you pay the Search Engine. The more visitors you get, the more you pay – and you get less visitors, you end up paying less. On a day, if you don’t get any visitors, you don’t pay anything. It’s as transparent as it can get. The same principle holds good for ‘Digital Display Advertising’ as well. Here also you pay for performance only. Google Analytics gives comprehensive reports about the performance of your Ads and a detailed analysis on a timely basis. So, you can be assured that you get the maximum bang for the buck you spend. Whereas traditional marketing is a ‘Black Box’, as you cannot really quantify the performance of your advertising budgets, wherein you spend millions of rupees and just hope that it is working. Digital Marketing provides the best ROI for your marketing investments in a very fair and transparent manner.

Digital Marketing provides value to the customers buying process

Digital Marketing assists the users in every step of their buying process –

  • Need / Problem recognition (Gives possible solutions and choices by independent parties and also advertisers)
  • Information Search (Gives a plethora of choices and information)
  • Evaluation of Alternatives (Gives reviews, ratings and feedback of customers and also third parties)
  • Purchase decision (Gives choice of stores both online and offline including financing options)
  • Post-Purchase behaviour (Gives voice to customers in the form of reviews, ratings, comments, likes, testimonials, complaints and feedback).

Customers trust other customers, more than the advertisers. Digital Marketing has amplified the voice of customers from ‘word-of-mouth’ to ‘word-of-mouse’. Electronic word-of-mouth communication (eWom) is capable of reaching a far wider audience in far less time. It has given enormous power in the hands of the customers. Manufacturers and service providers should really concentrate their efforts on getting good testimonials from the customers as bad reviews can rally kill a product mercilessly. This also gives the marketer an opportunity, to ‘listen’ to their customers, which was not possible otherwise. Communication is interactive and two way, only if marketers have an ear to listen to their customers and engage them for a win-win interaction and relationship.

Digital Marketing is all-pervasive

With Digital Marketing, the entire world is your market. The world can access and connect to you from any part of the world, 24/7. The digital world never sleeps. Digital technologies have shrunk the world into a ‘Global Village’. As marketers, you ought to be there, where your customers are. Where are your customers? Today, your ‘Gen Y’ customers are on mobile, on search engines and on social media. Today it is very difficult to find a human being without a smart phone in his hand and who is not hooked to his mobile device at least for few hours in a day. The social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have followers in billions and can process humongous amount of data in the form of text, audio and video in fraction of seconds. Digital marketers can leverage the phenomenal power and followers of Social media to market their products and services. For e.g., you can start selling Indian handicrafts to a customer in US, sitting right her in Bengaluru. With world-wide audience, the reach is far and wide. That’s what I would like to call as a ‘The world at your fingertips’.

Digital Marketing is all potent

With digital marketing the tools and channels available for promotion is enormous. You can start your digital footprint with a good website (your home on the web), for the best user experience. You can choose from Search Engine Optimization / Search Engine Marketing (Pay-per-Click) for better listings in the Search Engines. You can campaign with ‘Social Media Marketing’, to leverage the immense power of the social media platforms. ‘Mobile Marketing’ helps tap the potential of the ubiquitous mobile phone. The touch-screen feature, GPS, Mobile Apps, SMS / MMS features of mobile phones help in global as well as local marketing in the Neighborhood. ‘E-mail marketing’ can tap the huge free email subscriber base. ‘Digital Display Ads’ on websites help touch upon those users who would be interested in your products / services. Marketers can also try out content marketing / affiliate marketing to engage customers and also potential business partners.

Digital Marketing rewards Merit (Meritocracy)

Google is the undisputed market leader of the search industry. And Google has a very robust algorithm and, approximately, uses over 200 ranking factors that go into ranking a website, and over 500 updates a year to their ranking and listing algorithms. So we can be sure that Google rewards websites with good rankings and top listings, both in the free and paid sections of the search results, based purely on merit. There is no hanky-panky here. So all you need to do, is to do all the right things required for ‘Search Engine Optimization (SEO)’ or ‘Search Engine Marketing (SEM)’ and relax. Trust Google to take care of the rest. And No, you don’t need to be a technical wizard to do all that. You are not going to do coding or write thousands of lines of complex computer programs. Whether you are a geek or a technical rookie, you can still make use of the free / licensed digital marketing tools available, with beautiful user interface, to master your digital marketing skills.

So, what are you waiting for? Jump on to the digital bandwagon and enjoy the ride. You would love it. And spread the love, digitally.

Dr. Chithambar Gupta, School of Management, Presidency University, Bengaluru

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