From finding long lost friends to conducting banking transactions, and instant communication, we rely on the Internet for our everyday convenience. Customers are also flocking to the Internet with mouse clicks for shopping rather than to shopping malls made of bricks and mortar.
Offline has gone of out of style. Online is the new vogue and businesses cannot ignore it anymore. Mobile devices have ushered a ‘ThirdScreen Revolution’ replacing every other mode of digital communication and consumption, including PCs, laptops, TVs, and the likes.
Google gets about 4,464,000,000 searches every single day (Smart Insights). Also, mobile carrying customers are running searches for anything from restaurants nearby to movie ratings on their mobile devices. There is a massive opportunity for marketers to tap into this Internet culture to grow their businesses.
Source: Smart Insights
We can easily sum up that traditional marketing strategies are not going to work anymore. The way forward is digital marketing.
To put it plainly, Digital Marketing is using the Internet to promote products and brands using digital media like websites, blogs, social media, guest blogging and so on. The form of advertising will include digital adverts, SEO, display banners, email marketing campaigns, pre-roll/mid-roll/post-roll video adverts, etc.
In traditional marketing, the promotion tactics largely use offline mediums like TV adverts, billboards, magazine prints, catalogs and so on.
Both the mediums have the same ultimate goal: grab attention and turn onlookers into paying customers.
The difference lies in the ease of doing it and the cost-efficiency.
With the massive growth of the Internet, the cost of traditional marketing has been steadily increasing and its effectiveness is declining. Digital Marketing, on the other hand, has lower campaign costs and can also be improvised anytime for better results. Also, a single piece of content used in a marketing campaign can be repurposed in multiple formats to maximize its reach.
Further, the customers of today are more empowered with information than ever before. They get a massive amount of information about a product or service from many online sources, like:
Other benefits like multi-directional approach, personalized campaigns and long lifetime value of promotional content make digital marketing a better option than traditional marketing tactics.
In traditional marketing, the message was communicated in a single direction - the company spreads information and customers listen to it.
Whereas in digital marketing, marketing takes a multi-directional form where customers and brands interact with each other on several online platforms.
This multi channel interaction also helps a business tailor make a marketing campaign specifically to each lead at different stages of conversion.
In traditional marketing, adverts carried marketing material that was used to address a large unsegmented audience. The ad was seen by many users who are not included in the target market subset. As a result, the effectiveness was uncertain.
However, in digital marketing, it is possible to shoot targeted ad campaigns that relate to specific buyer personas having fixed individual traits. The results of these campaigns can also be measured real-time using Google Analytics and several other online tools. This helps improve the goal completion rate for each campaign thus yielding maximum RoI for each dollar spent.
Digital marketing is built on content. Content comes in various forms like written text, images, videos, infographics, presentations, case studies, white papers and so on. The advantage of all this content is that, they have a long shelf life.
Unlike a printed newspaper ad or a billboard, they remain alive on the Internet for a long time to come. In fact, blogs are said to have a lifetime that exceeds 2 years. So each time a potential customer stumbles across your content, they are bound to convert as a business lead.
There are still more benefits to add but the biggest of them all is the application of Big Data Analytics for Digital Marketing.
Marketers need data to understand their customers, their personas and most importantly, their preferences. Data from varied sources and in diverse forms should be compiled and analyzed to devise targeted marketing campaigns.
Traditional analytical programs are insufficient to analyze and make sense of structured and unstructured data forms. It is here that Big Data can lend a helping hand to digital marketers.
Big Data can help visualize data in a meaningful way thus giving actionable insights to drive future marketing campaigns. Big Data helps understand customers from various data points which helps devise tailor-made sales funnels specific to the customers wants and desires. It can also help reduce churn in the long-term by spotting patterns that lead to cart abandonment, slow-moving stock and so on.
Here are some Big Data sources that can be used to improve marketing efforts:
User likes, shares, comments, location check-ins, etc. can be analyzed to understand the offline behaviour and preferences of customers. Obtaining a minute level of customer data from social networks without Big Data analytics is literally impossible.
Tracking business transactions of the business to spot customer behaviour. For instance, a pizza company can spot the average order size during the holiday season and plan quicker deliveries. Also, home deliveries can be analyzed in terms of location to group most frequently visited delivery locations.
Running polls, customer surveys, gathering intelligence through research firms, etc. help gain more insights about a specific customer base. Big Data helps consolidate the data collected from such diverse points under a single roof where it can be used to arrive at data-driven business decisions.
Digital marketing is a relatively new field. Nine out of ten digital marketing campaigns are abandoned mid-way for lack of results. It is not because digital marketing is challenging, but largely because it is done the wrong way.
If done right with the help of adequate data, digital marketing can turn around the business volumes of a business. Today, there are businesses which rely solely on digital marketing to run their sales. With the help of advanced analytical tools like Big Data, it only gets easier.
All said, you certainly cannot ignore digital marketing for your business any longer.