No other year could have more convincingly borne a live testimony to the predictions and foresightedness of all the Digital enthusiasts till date. The year 2020 with its social distancing and contactless customer engagement dictum, gave the already in-vogue Digital Marketing a new hoick. With the in-person selling becoming impracticable by the hour, marketers had to divert all their energies towards devising a more robust and inclusive Digital Marketing strategy.
Having a Digital presence is non–negotiable today. A brand is as good as customers recognizing it. A Digital presence allows you visibility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year – essentially helping you grow your business even as you sleep. Today, people’s attention is on their phones. Passengers in cars do not see the billboards, they are skimming their phones. Before the movie screening in theatres, people are skimming social media, not watching cinema ads. Hardly anyone sits out a commercial break without checking their phone. This, in essence, renders some of the priciest advertising, highly ineffective. Being available online allows your business to be seen by thousands of potential customers via search engines and social media, and with the ever-growing penetration of smartphones this has become increasingly achievable.
Digital Marketing has taken over way too much in the last 5 years, with not just better customer reach but also ensuring customer satisfaction and retention. To appreciate its significance, let’s start with analyzing our own behavior. Have you ever calculated the time you spend online, or studied the weekly screen time report available on your mobile phones? Do you make any decision without first typing a few keywords in your search engine bar or reading a review before taking the final call? If your answer is Yes to first and No to second, then you would understand how this phenomenon has entwined with our lives without us having taken as much as an earnest cognizance of it. A recent study has shown that people spend 33% of their online time on social media, with the remaining 67% on online TV and music streaming and other sources. This 33% is the prime window for businesses to get noticed, pitch and sell. Not to mention that the remaining 67 can also be put to use, but more on that some other time.
Most businesses today have a Digital presence, but a Digital Marketing strategy – not necessarily. And employing Digital Marketing without a strategic approach is commonplace. Something as simple as whether your goal is to acquire new customers or retain existing ones, or both, can change your Digital Marketing initiatives quite a bit. Understanding your online audience and mapping your business goals to customer goals to derive the shared value will help you define your online value proposition better and help target the right customers for you.
Digital Marketing includes managing different forms of online presences such as company websites, mobile apps, and social media pages in conjunction with online communications techniques like search engine marketing, social media marketing, online advertising, e-mail marketing and partnership arrangements with other websites.Broadly, Online marketing can be categorized into 3 overlapping sections –
- Paid Media comprising of your Facebook Ads and Google Adwords
- Owned media that consists of your websites, emails and your blogs
- Earned Media which is your social media accounts, mentions on other blogs and articles written about you
Within each Digital Marketing technique, there are lots of detailed tactics that are important to success, for example from dynamic content for email automation, website personalization to programmatic advertising, retargeting, and skyscraper content for organic search. A Digital Marketing strategy helps you evaluate and prioritize these approaches based on what is most conducive to your business.
Depending upon your buyer persona and consumer engagement strategy, the right mix of the above three categories needs to be deployed. Thereon it’s a continuous optimization exercise where you collect data, run analytics and keep tweaking the strategy in response to the dynamic nature of your customers, industry and economic landscape. The strategy should also be based on objectives for both online and offline channel contribution percentage.
Quite evidently, Digital advertising and marketing offers a company the biggest source of data than any other type of marketing, helping you calculate ROI much more effectively. With ROI being the single most important factor in any marketing spend, this is a big plus. Also, the entry-level to Digital Marketing is very low. With social media marketing of the likes of Facebook and Instagram ads and pay-per-click advertising, a business can select whatever budget they prefer, starting as low as $5 per week. However, to make it effective and drive returns, employing the right Digital Marketing strategy goes a long way. It not just ensures that your Bounce Rates are low and Click-Through Rates are high, but also enable your Customer Life Time Value to exceed your Cost per Acquisition to drive profits.
Lastly and most importantly, your Digital Marketing strategy should be well integrated with your traditional marketing strategy. Executing it in silos will rip you of the benefits of an integrated approach, while complementing Digital efforts with Traditional will give you an even further reach into your customer base. Digital Marketing works best when integrated with traditional media and response channels. Once Digital transformation is complete It is critical to integrate Digital into your company’s overall marketing plan.
Today, any business that is serious about growing, needs a Digital Marketing strategy much in the same way as they need a sign above the entrance to a store or an ad listing in the Yellow Pages. Without a Digital Marketing Strategy, there will be no way to track growth or failure, and you can’t learn if you don’t have a track record.
Views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of Mehjabeen Taj Aalam, Technology Head – Digital & Customer Engagements, Tata Capital.