The Emergence and Evolution of Digital Marketing
Is Digital Marketing the way forward in Marketing?
The world of digital media is changing at a faster pace, where new technologies are getting introduced and the ways of using them are also evolving not only to access information but also to maintain good communication with one another across the globe. The mode of purchasing goods and services are also changing due to this global revolution. Consumers all across the world are embracing the global technology to a certain extent so much so that it is no more restricted to the tech – savvy people because ordinary people are also accepting it into their everyday lives. The activities ranges from updates on favourite sports teams, to a free video call with relatives, all across the globe and even online gaming for young kids, customers of every sphere has involved themselves into the domain of digital technology. (SAS, 2012)
In the following essay we are going to discuss in detail the different prospects of digital marketing, how it all started, how it reached this position where it is today and through a research will find out what the leaders think it is heading in the future. On an important side we will study an argument which highlights critically how the business minded citizens can utilize the process of digital media to enhance its business and sustain in the long run. This essay will help to identify the following aspects: (Ryan, Jones, 2009).
- It will help to choose the proper online advertising and marketing channels to allow the target audience to reach the ever- expanding market.
- It will also provide an unique advantage to the firm against its competitors.
- It will provide detail understanding of digital marketing trends that will protect the company’s future.
- It will also provide practical, real – world examples of companies practicing digital marketing techniques and the amount of success they have achieved in a short span of time.
- In the process we will also discuss about the advantages of having a full proved digital marketing strategy and how it can allow a business to flourish in full swing. It also discusses the connection of the traditional marketing mix with that of the digital approaches of marketing.
- Finally it will provide the ways in which internet can be effectively used in order to take up the business to whichever extent possible.
In today’s competitive environment if an entrepreneur thinks of starting his home- based internet business or work for any leading multinational company in order to connect to the customers today or in the near future the inclusion of digital channels into the marketing mix is of utmost importance. The reason being the emergence of internet and its impact on today’s youth. Customers are ready to spend ransom on online activities and hence it becomes a challenge for business people and marketers to be fluent in the new digital language in order to effectively speak with the target audience. (Becherer,2004).
At the end of the essay we will have a good knowledge on how an independent marketer can use the internet successfully to sell its goods and services. Starting with the origin we will complete the full circle by going through the various disciplines of digital marketing campaigns. We will also have a look at various approaches of marketing like affiliate, email marketing, social media and other creative online executions. (Kotler, 2013).
Advertising is an intoxicating process which when used in correct proportions can have amazing outcomes and can ultimately change the world. It is mostly done by brands to persuade customers to behave the way the marketer wants them to behave whether it is purchasing a particular brand of soap, or picking up a telephonic call, filling up a mail coupon or browsing a website, to do some online shopping. When we are discussing about the digital era it is necessary to start with the advent of advertising and thereby learning the technological breakthrough that we are enjoying at the present age. (Scott, 2013).
Importance of Digital Marketing Strategy in Today’s Competitive Environment
The process of advertising started way back in the 15th and 16th centuries with the invention of the print media, which made the phenomena cost effective for marketers and catering to a wide range of audience. The first form of mass media advertising came in the form of newspapers in the 17th century and in the following years new forms like massive – mail advertising which we use as direct mails came up, and it is in the year 1843 that the first advertising agency was set up at Boston by Volney Palmer.
The 20th century saw a new change in the advertising world. The radio got invented through which marketers were able to reach out to their prospective clients, followed by the television which made the mass media interaction all the most exciting and by the end of the century the biggest achievement came up in the name of internet which made valuable business and the era of digital marketing was born. (Raghunandan, TCS)
With the introduction of television and internet on the global space it is clear now that developments in technology and evolution of marketing practices are intertwined with each other. Technology has achieved a major foothold on the domain of marketing ever since its existence. All these inventions are major breakthroughs that has ultimately changed the dimensions of relationship between the marketers and customers and that too on a global scale. But in this context what we need to remember is that marketing is not only about technology but also about people, these technology can be useful from a marketing perspective if it can connect various people all across the globe. Digital marketing is all about understanding the customers, how they are using the technology, and leverage that to engage with them more effectively to get more sales. (Chappius,2012).
There was a time when customers were happy with the information that was passed on to them through the media, be it the newspapers, radio or television. But with the advent of web, consumers are more aware of the content, even they can create their own content and share it with friends. According to analyst Julian Smith of Jupiter Research, today’s consumers are more informed, connected, communicative and well controlled as compared to previous times. Their research has identified certain key ways in which adaption of technology is affecting consumer behaviour of recent times: (Merisavo, 2006).
- Inter connectivity: With increase in the digital networking, consumers all across the world can interact with each other through emails, instant messaging, mobile messaging and through social networking websites like Facebook, twitter, Linked in, etc. Even peer to peer interactions are giving rise to virtual communities.
- Technology is enhancing the field of information for consumers: With advancement in technology consumers can make their own content, publish them and share it with others, they can also compare and contrast the products before buying them. With the help of digital technology customers are able to take more powerful buying decisions which act in their favor.
- Relevant filtering is increasing: With so much of information consumers are now aware which are relevant for them and they filter out the non relevant materials from their list.
- Micro publishing personal content on a rise: Digital technology allows consumers to have their own opinions online through feedback forms, blogs, discussion forums, message boards, personal photo galleries etc. These opinions are posted for feedback from peers regarding brands before making purchase decisions.
- Rise of the ‘Pro sumer’: Online consumers are very much involved in the creation of the products and services they purchase, hence the power shifts from the producers to consumers.
- Time and place not a factor: With online technology in place factors like time, geography, distance are no more a concern as consumers can sit back at home and receive what they feel like hence making the process easier and interesting.
In today’s competitive business, world it has become a vital necessity to incorporate an appropriate digital marketing strategy in the business conducted, without which they will miss the opportunities and loose business. Its importance lies in the fact that it allows marketers to have better information about the digital marketing arena in order to ensure that all the elements of digital marketing are relevant to their respective business process. This crucial step allows people to know how the digital marketplace is related to the business involved, or to the target base of customers.
It can be any business, an entrepreneur is catering to but the underlying fact remains that the increasing target market is adapting various digital channels to conduct adequate research, evaluate and purchase the products and services they want to consume. Hence without a proper strategy for engagement and retention the business is surely loosing out the opportunity to stand out among the competitors. This strategy can be initiated properly with the effective use of internet as compared to conventional mass media channels, where the former has the capacity to enhance the scope of marketing reach and narrow the focus at the same time. With the introduction of digital channels, companies can overcome constraints like geography and time zones to reach out to a wider audience. It is a true fact that the internet controls the consumers but at the same time it provides various tools and techniques to the marketers in order to engage their target audience.
Prospects of Digital Marketing
(Chaffey, Johnson, Mayer, 2006).
The marketing landscape has become a challenging and dynamic environment today and to grasp a position in this context and to utilize digital marketing techniques to take the business to new height, leaders must have a cohesive strategy and must understand the market properly, its consumers and their use of digital technology, and how their business can use the same technology, to create and sustain mutual relationships with them.
For any business to develop a concrete strategy certain components needs to be followed which will lay the foundation of a successful digital marketing
- The first important factor is to know the business properly, whether it is ready to accept digital marketing? Do the infrastructure facilitate online promotion? Are there any changes required and if the staff and workers are fully aware of it? All these questions must be cleared to develop the first step of the strategy.
- Secondly you need to know your competitors and in this case it is not only local competition but also competitors all across the globe. It is important to learn their strategies and emulate some and improve and learn from the rest. When going online competitors can make you fail drastically in a business.
- The third important thing is to know the customers, who are the clients, what and which technology they are using and how can the business get aligned with those to reap better benefits for them. Another important question over here is the target audience, different strategies to attract different age groups.
- The important factor is what a person wants to achieve from a venture. Without clear and achievable goals it is not possible to be successful. A marketer must have a clear perspective, whether he wants to enhance online slaes, or wants to collect target leads, or enhance brand awareness or a combination of everything. These goals are a parameter which will allow to effectively implement a digital marketing strategy.
- Finally, when a campaign or a strategy is launched it is important to gauge where it is heading and in this case digital marketing is far more measurable as compared to other forms of advertising. (Neil, 2012).
The implementation of a digital marketing strategy can often confuse a marketer regarding its connection with the traditional marketing mix and more importantly the implication of the 4 P’s in the digital marketing campaigns. It can be discussed under the following heads: (Razorfish, 2015)
- Place: The place for digital marketing is obviously the internet. It is decided by the people all across the globe, that this is a destination to get connected with, be it through a computer, a mobile or through any other devices.
- Price: It is a critical situation to price a product online as it becomes transparent, since the competitors are also putting up a price. So it is better to give an average pricing rather than over pricing it which can lead to a lot of debate among peer communities thereby snatching away the business completely.
- Product: This is the good or commodity that you are offering to the customers but on the digital front it becomes crucial as it is under scrutiny all the time. It is also viable to promote a good product as it becomes easy to convince customers to purchase them. On the other hand, if a product is not up to the mark due to spread of negative word of mouth online the whole business can go for a toss.
- Promotion: It is the process of acquiring new clients, retaining existing ones both online and offline, to make them purchase the product. There are various forms of online promotions which have come up and thereby shaping the digital marketing arena in a new and advanced way. We can now have a better understanding of these tools which will in turn help in implementing the strategies in a better manner.
1. Websites: The website is the most integral part of any digital marketing strategy as it is the hub of the digital world. The work of a good website is to act as a conversion machine, converting the traffic which is directed to it.
2. Search Engine Optimization: An important part of any website is the SEO or the process of aligning the content to what the customers are searching for, and presenting it in a manner that is both accessible to the clients as well as the search engines.
3. Affiliate marketing and strategic partnerships: It is the process to partner with other organizations, to create beneficial relationships in order to sell the products and services through them.
4. Online Public Relations: Here certain online channels like blogs, press releases are used to establish a particular brand in the market or in a particular filed.
Social Networking: This is a relatively new form of marketing which has the potential to target advertising to niche social groups on the basis of their profile information through face book, My space and others.
5. E- mail Marketing: This tool is mostly used to maintain ongoing relationships with customers through mails on a regular basis.
6. Customer Relationship Management: Retaining clients and creating mutually healthy relationships with customers form a vital part of digital marketing. Digital technology provides ways to make these relationships more enduring in an effective way like ever before. (Flor, 2005).To sum up, a successful strategy believes in researching and analyzing three crucial concepts that are key to a company’s success which are - the business, competition and customers. Effective digital marketing focuses on implementing elements that are relevant to the business. By following a clear strategy, through a thorough understanding of the current state of business and where digital marketing can take it in the future, will allow a leader to run the enterprise in a solid manner.
The above discussion has given us an elaborate overview regarding digital marketing and its implications, it has also highlighted the importance of consumers and technology in this whole marketing procedure, the pros and cons of an effective digital strategy has also been discussed and its connection with the 4 P’s of traditional marketing mix, and now its time to study the implication of these approaches on real life success stories of companies. We will discuss recent stories of two companies Pepsi co and Cognizant, one has implemented new areas of digital marketing and the other has hired an advertising agent to enhance its business perspectives in the market.(Divol,2013).
The food and beverage giant Pepsi Co after learning from the mistakes done globally on the digital marketing front, are adapting innovative methods by using the social media, to create brand equity among masses in order to enhance sales in India. At the Ad Tech Summit on digital marketing, Shiv Singh who is the Global Head Digital of Pepsi Co beverages told PTI “India has a unique market and hence the mistakes committed allacross the globe regarding digital marketing need not be done here. “ When asked about how they are going to penetrate into the Indian market by tapping the potential of the digital media, Singh said “The spending on advertisements will not be much but the company is going to implement some different and innovative techniques.”(Chester,2008).
Various Approaches of Digital Marketing Campaigns
In this context Singh cited the example in which the firm used the medium of Facebook during the 2011 cricket world cup, for which they also got awarded from the social media and according to him the Facebook campaign of Pepsi was one of the recognized brand activity during that time, through which they used the social media for building brand equity. Singh also said “It is quite important for brands to do marketing alone by creating direct relationship with customers rather than outsourcing the activities to the various agencies. Digital marketing should be followed both for building brand image, as well as for generating sales and Pepsi follows that path”. (Economic Times, 2012).
Pepsi Co also has numerous agencies who looks after the various digital accounts for brands and products in India. While discussing about the potential of the digital media, Singh again maintained that the influence of mobile marketing will be more in India as compared to the conventional use of web. He also discussed about the total spendings of the company in the digital media domain in India and all across the globe. In the subcontinent the spendings are mainly done to build sales and distribution, and its more than some of the small markets, but overall spendings depends on the size of markets worldwide.(Chester, 2008)
IT based company Cognizant has acquired digital marketing company Cadient group for an estimated 30 million US dollars. The group provides digital solutions to life sciences companies and according to the Vice President and global market leader Shankar Narayanan, in this competitive environment of digital stakeholders this acquisition will enhance Cognizant’s digital and interactive prowess among global masses. (Cognizant Report,2013)
Pennsylvania based Cadient group has more than a decade of experience in providing digital marketing strategy, technology and solutions to industry leaders and emerging companies all across the globe. The group as an agency manages pharmaceutical, health care, biotechnology and consumer device industries and for Cognizant which has its presence all across the country, will have its health care and life sciences practice group to be in charge of this acquisition. The IT giant caters its services to the top global pharmaceutical companies, health care plans, pharmacy benefit management companies, biotech and medical device companies and is reported that the company’s full year revenue for the year 2013 has been 8.843 billion dollars and the annual revenue from the health care constitutes of about 2.5 billion dollars.(Cognizant Report, 2013).
The company finds this acquisition to be beneficial as it will strengthen and expand the digital marketing capabilities of the firm. As a part of this campaign more than
100 specialists having knowledge in brand strategy and planning, content writing, user- friendly designs, analytics , mobile marketing and social media will join Cognizant. The entire process will bring the digital assets and intellectual property of Cadient to Cognizant.
According to Stephen Wray, CEO of Cadient group, “The tie up with Cognizant will provide better opportunities to deliver integrated solutions to life sciences marketing and sales teams all across the world”.
In the concluding portion of the essay we can discuss in brief the highlighting points mentioned in above discussion. The topic is the importance of digital marketing in the arena of marketing for entrepreneurs to flourish in their respective businesses. To start with we have discussed several points related to the concerned topic of digital marketing and technology and how it is going to be answered in the following essay. Our work has revolved around the various dimensions of marketing and advertising ranging from usage of conventional mass media channels like the newspapers, radio and television to the emergence of digital technology like the web and internet. It has also put its concern to the fact that along with superb technology consumer approval is also important hence our discussion also centers around the nature of online consumers and the ways and means of tackling them. In order to do so a proper coherent strategy is required so the prerequisites of a good digital strategy has also come under focus. The digital forms of digital technologies like the websites, search engines, mobile, emails, social media marketing has been properly discussed in the above work. Finally relevant real life examples has been highlighted to give a natural effect to the essay. The companies who have embraced digital marketing techniques and their success stories has been discussed to make marketers and entrepreneurs aware of the techniques available in the market.
Hence the learning has been that today’s population is tired of mass media marketing and instead they want something fresh and new which they got through the internet. The crave for more engagement and interaction which the web provides them and so they get ready to spend any amount for their leisure and it is time for the marketers to encash on it and get their business running in full swing.
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