Various strategies have emerged over the years to extract the most out of digital marketing and the best ways it could be put to use. These strategies include SEO (Search Engine Optimization), content marketing, affiliate and native advertising, social media marketing, pay-per-click and pay per view advertising and so on. Because of its outreach, impact and economy, digital marketing has become an important strategic tool in marketing for all types of business and non-business organizations.
Access to a wider audience and new age customers
There are many advantages of digital marketing and the most prominent one being its wider outreach as compared to traditional marketing channels. The total number of internet users in the world stood at a whopping 3.4 billion in 2016 (1) and the total number of mobile phone users worldwide is expected to reach 4.77 billion (2) by 2017. Because so many people nowadays use the internet and smartphones, marketers can reach out to an extremely wide range of audience by communicating through digital mediums. From a marketer’s perspective, this also makes advertising and marketing campaigns more efficient.
Secondly, most of the new age customers, who constitute an overwhelming majority of customers, are active users of the internet and smartphones. These new age customers mostly comprise of the millennials and the generation next. Digital platforms like social media and interactive mobile apps provide a fantastic opportunity to marketers to understand the customer behaviour, lifestyle traits, needs and aspirations of these new age customers.
Because of the universal outreach of digital marketing, business enterprises from any part of the world can easily promote their brand, engage marketing strategies and cater to a nationwide market or even international markets.
Use of data analytics
Businesses need data to make informed decisions. Digital marketing tools and platforms can readily provide businesses with real-time and accurate data on customer behaviour based on the interaction with these digital platforms. This raw data can be further processed and analysed to derive meaningful information and trends on customer behaviour and necessary changes in marketing management could be implemented in a short span of time. The information on customer behaviour can be further used for cross-channel digital advertising.
At the micro-level, businesses can use the digitally generated data to customize product and service offerings for groups of customers with similar buying and consumption patterns. One prime example here is the customized mobile voice and data packs offered to its customers by mobile service operators. In other words, data analytics can help businesses get closer and closer to their targeted customers and market segments by better understanding their needs and addressing them accordingly.
For various reasons like homogeneity of products and services, intense competition from national and international brands, customers’ indifference and high costs of high-impact promotional activities like advertising in television and print media, sponsoring entertainment and sports events etc., small and medium scale enterprises often find it difficult to project and position their brand and USP strongly to a wider audience. In this scenario, digital marketing emerges as a game-changer for these business enterprises. By making use of digital marketing platforms and strategies like SEO, content marketing, websites and apps and social media marketing, even small and medium-sized businesses can effectively and efficiently reach out to the wider online audience and project their brands and USPs to the targeted market segments with high impact. With active online presence, business enterprises can establish a continued digital connectivity with their customers and market segments. With repeated visits and interaction with the business websites, apps and social media pages, the business-customer bonding only gets stronger and stronger in the course of time.
The conventional marketing and promotional activities like advertising in television and national print media, event sponsorship etc. has mostly predominantly remained the domain of corporate giants. These kind of promotional activities are usually expensive and falls heavy on the business budget. On the other hand, the basic digital marketing platforms and tools are relatively much economical. The falling price of internet services is yet another plus for digital marketing. The cost-effectiveness of digital marketing draws particular attention from bootstrapped startups which often uses it as a strategic marketing tool. However, to extract more out of digital marketing, use of advanced tools and technologies become pertinent. This can include business and retail analytics software, cloud-based services, graphics and animation based GUI, services of professional software development, maintenance of servers and database management, advanced hardware and networking, VR and augmented reality and so on.
Expression and interaction
The benefits of online marketing and digital marketing leap ahead of the conventional promotional tools especially on the grounds of expression and interaction. With the informational content in online digital form, customers can access, read, listen or watch about the products and services of a business enterprise at any time, from any place from his digital device. With the help of AV formats, products and services can be explained in a more engaging manner for the customers. The other important aspect of digital marketing is that the customers get an opportunity in the same digital platform to have their say, leave feedback, raise complaints, send queries or track their engagement with the business. Such customer empowerment can lead to strong brand loyalty.
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