Updated: Mar 5, 2022
Is Digital Marketing only for big corporations? Digital marketing is no more just the cradle of big business incorporations. In-fact digital marketing has in a way democratised the world of marketing and advertisement. Digital marketing has essentially started a new order of advertising, where all that matters is the right mix of strategies!
Digital Advertising is better than Traditional Advertising. You need not always have huge billboards (expensive & often overlooked) across metro cities to catch a customer’s attention. With the right platform and timings, you would rather reach out to your customer just when she/he is interested or ready to buy your kind of product or service …or at least thinking about it.
So there’s a huge, impressive hoarding about a new restaurant, outside a busy tube station where people are hurriedly walking past, trying not to miss the next train! The food platter on the advertisement is mouth-watering! But at that point of time, I am busy ensuring that I am keeping up with my professional commitments & other items on my to-do list! Table booking can wait till the former is accomplished!!!! Compare this with a restaurant advert that pops up on my mobile just when I am thinking about where to book a table for dinner (having accomplished my professional goals for the day and in a mood to celebrate having done that). Which advertisement do you think is expected to deliver better outcome (in this case a customer actually booking a table)?? Add to it the benefit of advertiser having to pay only if the customer clicks on the advertisement as compared to a road hoarding where advertiser might be paying a cost directly proportional to the footfall around it (without having a clue about many people actually paid attention to it!)
Digital marketing is even more useful for small businesses as it can be targeted, specific, more effective, measurable & thus highly strategic. Most important, it allows for lot of space for personal creativity. This creativity is not just limited to designing the audio-visual content. In digital marketing a creative marketeer can effectively outdo it’s deep-pocket business competitors (big corporations with huge advertising budgets), because your campaign does not need to be grand; it just needs to be the right mix of content, keywords, placement & time. So even with small marketing budget, digital marketing can be your trump card if you know your customers well enough! Let’s look at all these benefits one-by-one…
1. The reach of digital marketing is higher than traditional marketing
One can reach endless number of people online, while the reach of traditional marketing is always limited to its location. You can expect to get noticed by a road-side hoarding only by the number of people who cross that road at some point of time (so you effectively miss out on all those potential customers who never cross that road as it simply doesn’t fall in their route). But you can find ways of appearing on their mobile and laptop screens immaterial of their physical location. Digital mode of advertising can also help you reach out to people who would not be regularly visiting spaces outside their home (unwell, elderly, work-from-home….). So, the possibility of reaching out to a larger number of people is much higher online.
2. You can run campaigns across geographies in the same ad set, simultaneously
In traditional marketing, you need to invest in local resources, individually, to be able to advertise in that geography (you would hire a person in every high street where you plan to distribute your pamphlets). Whereas in a digital marketing campaign, you can specify multiple geographies in the same advert and launch it simultaneously in all target geographies.
3. Digital marketing can be effectively managed remotely & in a dynamic manner
You do not have to be physically present in the geography where you advertise to be able to micromanage your advertisement. You could launch an advert focussed on New York city while working in Sydney and also keep updating the advertisement features constantly without being physically present in the target location. While you cannot edit a traditional advertisment once it is launched, it is quite possible to keep editing a digital advertisment as you receive feedback. Also, AB testing provides an opportunity to launch advertisments for the same product from multiple point-of-views. Different customers have different priorities as well as aspirations. AB testing provides an opportunity to advertisers to launch different advertisment copies of the same product and find out the approach that works best for that product.
4. Digital marketing can be completely targeted
I could be a neighbourhood nail parlour sending post-box offers to everyone in my local area. That makes sense considering that people prefer to go to nail-parlours and saloons situated in proximity to their home. However, by doing this, I am also spending money and resources on households that would never be my customers (all male households, senior citizens with limited mobility, an antifashion activist…). However, online / digital modes of advertisement allow me to choose my target audience. Here I can spend money in reflecting my advertisement to only women, in a certain age-group, certain income level, interested in fashion or nail art….! I can target my advertisement to just about people who have the highest probability of buying my product or service.
5. Increases the effectiveness (ROI) of marketing budget & business operations
The targeting process is the single largest factor why digital marketing has a much better ‘Return of Investment’ (ROI). I can cut wasteful expense on actions that are sure to not generate returns or conversions. Also, designing a digital advertisement is often much less money intensive then designing & distributing a physical advertisement. I have better control on running a digital advertisement where if I find the advertisememt not performing, I can pause it and save my unspent budget. All these factors help in reducing spending amount on non-performing areas. Additionally, since digital marketing allows me to advertise my business beyond geographical boundaries, it helps me widen my customer base and increase revenues, further increasing the ROIs.
6. Obtains valuable leads
While digital advertising might not always provide immediate sales, it provides a wealth of information about potential customers who can be converted with a little more effort. Although data privacy laws do not allow platforms to share identifiable customer data, still these platforms provide you ways to remarket to all the customers who displayed more than casual interest on your previous advert. So repeatedly taking my ads to the screens that have previously spent more than usual time in browsing my advert or website has higher possibility of gaining conversions. So digital platforms provide valuable leads about customers who might not have converted at the first instance, but seem closely convinced and are more likely to pay attention to your content next time.
7. Digital marketing democratises the advertisement process
Digital marketing provides a level playing field to all businesses, big or small. Some advertisers would argue that since PPC is bidding based system of launching advertisement and again your reach is limited to the amount of money you can spend on adverts on social media, this again provides an upper hand to corporations that have huge marketing budgets. In reality, strategy is often the real winner and not budget in this game. If you know your customer better than your competitors and if you use the right strategy for targeting the right customer, you might be able to overdo the widespread, flashy competitor ads which are circulating to a generic audience.
Remember, your advert need not be everywhere on the internet….it just needs to be seen by right people at the right time!
8. Measures customer data & provides valuable feedback thus can be constantly improved upon
Digital marketing campaigns effectively collect real-time data about people who responded / reacted to your advertisement. So digital advertising is effectively a shortlisting process. Here, data generated by every campaign can be used to further sharpen your next campaign. Thus, you need not keep blindly pushing money in anticipation of sale conversions. In fact, every campaign will end with a huge amount of data about reach, clicks and other parameters which can then be analysed to understand what is working and not is not working for you and take decisions accordingly.
9. It has options available for every business/marketing objective
Businesses are not looking for sale conversions all the time, although that remains a primary objective for every business. Marketing strategies have become more process driven off-late where long-term success is generated by going through different stages. A business might advertise at some point of time with a sole idea of brand development OR it could be introducing a new product/feature OR sometimes, businesses advertise just to communicate their social standing, to be able to make their brands more relatable to the customers. Digital advertising platforms have specific solutions for each and every advertising objective. While a B2B business would prefer spending on LinkedIn & Twitter ads, introducing new products or brand building might be a more Facebook/Instagram kind of campaign. One might look at Google ads, just when one is sure that now the customer is ready to buy.
10. It is futuristic and technology makes a lot more possible
Digital advertising has the scope of including all the wonders of screen technology that are unimaginable in print ads. You could create a stream of water running in a sandy desert or make the protégé dive from 50th floor and anything else to garner customer attention. A recent ‘Deep 3D digital billboard’ in central London makes the onlooker feel that the character in the advert is about to jump out of the billboard. The experience is almost like peeping into someone’s room than looking at a poster. There is no limit to how you can use technology to communicate and impress your target customer and it is only going to get better with time!
How does Digital Media support customer conversion process?
To understand this, we first need to understand what is ‘conversion’ in digital media! A ‘conversion’ happens when a customer performs an action that actually completes the advertisers goal. So, when a customer comes to a website and actually purchases a product, this is called ‘sales conversion’.
But conversion is not always about sales. For a service provider, an online conversion could be someone coming to the website and filling up an enquiry form. This would provide valuable leads that will then be taken forward by their sales team with telephonic or face-to-face discussions leading to sales.
Digital media can support customer conversion process in number of ways!
1. Digital marketing provides visibility to your business just when needed by the customer. So if you are running art classes and you have an active Google MyBusiness account, your business gets reflected in search results every time someone in your neighbourhood searches for 'art class near me'! You might be operating from 4th floor of a commercial complex well-hidden out of the road-view but still gain customers. Digital marketing is not only required by online businesses. It is the defacto route for reaching out to your customers. As a customer you might be looking for a local offline service, but you will always look for leads online first!
2. It keeps reminding the customers about products and services that they were inclined to buy. Thus, it helps provide that final push towards sales that is sometimes needed by sceptical customers.
3. Digital advertising provides valuable leads to businesses that need to negotiate directly to be able to customise a product or service for their customer. One of the best examples could be that of a party food catering service. While the caterer can provide all details about their offering on their website, the order still needs to be customised as per the client’s specific requirements. So, although the website might not be able to ensure immediate sales as in e-commerce, it provides a medium to connect with a potential customer….valuable leads.
4. Remarketing on digital platforms keeps reminding customers about the seller they had last purchased from….thus helping develop brand loyalty & repeat customer rates.
5. Reviews and feedbacks in digital space go a long way in appreciating a hard-working brand and penalising the ones with bad customer service. This helps buyers filter out good providers form a pool of identical looking providers and provide them confidence of making a good purchase decision.