As more and more users add I-pads, tablets, and smart phones to their list of connectivity devices apart from laptops, digital marketing becomes all the more vital for a company to sustain itself in the online space. Not only are today’s companies required to enter the digital marketing arena, they need to also figure out how to impart the right message to the right audience at the right time. Effective online marketing is the order of the day.
However, digital marketing is a whole lot more than online marketing. It encompasses detailed selling strategies towards goal (leads) oriented outcomes, targeting specific categories of users, in depth analytics, visitor tracking, and leads generation. And yet, it is not complete in itself, because the online world experiences changes by minute time frames.
Numbers on the plate: A quick glance at digital marketing statistics
Digital Marketing is a broader term that includes all those set of activities that directly or indirectly help promote a brand, website, service, or company online. While traditional marketing techniques employed print, radio and television as the media for advertising, today, Internet has taken a fair chunk of the same. According to the PwC IAB report1 titled “2013 Half Year IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report”, Digital ad spending in the US grew 18% year over year and has already surpassed $20 billion in the first half of 2013.
This report is testimony to the fact that many small, medium and large enterprises have woken up to the current importance of Digital Marketing.
1Source: IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)
Furthermore, similar trends are being witnessed across the globe. A recent study2 by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Direct Marketing Association UK (DMA) reveals that 94% of the marketers in UK and 89% in Australia have already adopted content marketing.
2Source: Content Marketing in the UK: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends
Being visible everywhere that matters
If a company is not there online, it effectively doesn’t exist, unless it is a big multinational. And being online doesn’t mean just the web – they have to have a mobile version, an I-pad version, so on and so forth. Visibility on hand-held devices has also come of age. As against web visitors, smart phones and tablets have taken over a 20% share of the total website visitors according to the Monetate Q1 2013 Ecommerce Quarterly report. This makes it essential for companies to optimize their websites for other platforms as well.
The Domino Effect
We have all heard about how online reputation management (ORM) has become a priority for companies, what with customer feedback coming up online in various ways. There is an extremely vulnerable state of transparency on the web that gives many companies jitters. Especially when there are a lot of negative reviews floating around the web, companies take great pains to ensure that their customers are given the best of service so that they may spread good will online, or at least keep mum.
What’s all the more disturbing for companies is the fact that one negative comment spirals into a long, never-ending thread of negative comments saying “I had the same experience too!” that results in a significant loss of brand image as well as revenues – such is the power of the online medium.
Walking the planned path – Digital Strategy?
A Smart Insights survey in the beginning of 2012 revealed shocking statistics as per which, almost 70% of the companies surveyed admitted to not having a digital strategy in place. Yet they were indulging in some sort of digital marketing activities. Besides leaving your company direction less and clueless about what progress is being made and what are the Returns on Investment (RoIs) against Online Marketing, not having a digital strategy actually de-optimises your efforts towards building a brand online. Moreover, if you do not want your competitors to nibble on the market share that is supposed to be yours, then you have to be up-to-date with your digital plan.
Measuring results the analytics way
While offline marketing is measured in clearer terms, when it comes to online marketing, the grey area widens. Hence, analytics and metrics get a greater role to play in establishing the credibility of online marketing strategies. The grey area includes terms such as mentions, impressions, referrals, social signals and conversions. While marketers can easily decipher the terms, an old school company that is still engaging in Above the Line marketing activities might take longer to understand the significance of mentions/visitors/referrals, unless they are explained in terms of lead generation and RoIs.
The Changing Landscape
Digital marketing holds the key to growing your business by triggering an “attract >> engage >> convert” cycle, the results of which are hard to ignore, more so when all your competitors have already climbed on to the bandwagon.
Digital Marketing amplifies your marketing efforts by several manifolds, and often reaches just the right prospects that are likely to convert into customers. Traditional marketing techniques are more expensive and their reach is diluted because they lack audience focus, unlike digital marketing activities which can be targeted only towards relevant audiences, thus extracting the maximum use of investment and giving the best returns out of it.
The time to take action is now.