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How Online Marketing Changed Marketing World

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17th Feb, 2023
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How Online Marketing Changed Marketing World

The internet has changed how we live our lives compared to just a few decades earlier. Digital has emerged not just as a technology but as a viable media format. It was common knowledge and did not take much foresight to predict that digital would be faster than analog. What very few people imagined, though, was the proliferation of digital media across the internet and its effect on us as a society. 

The consequences of migration towards digital marketing have been mind-boggling. Digital media has spawned a new wave of online marketing because direct interactions with clients and a direct record of metrics have provided valuable data to build newer models. You would be hard-pressed to find any layperson, let alone a person in the industry, who will underestimate digital marketing’s effect on the industry. Beyond the effects of marketing, the way we carry out marketing itself has changed because of online marketing. Let us look at the way marketing has changed by going online.

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The Inevitable March of Progress

The terminology of digital migration does not evoke an image instantaneously, even though it is pretty easy to see the actual effect it has had on our lives. We have failed to appreciate that even as we are living through it, the pace of this transformation has picked up significantly over time. 

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When experts refer to online migration, they are not just talking about the final products. Instead, they are more focused on the processes, in our case, how marketing itself has moved into the digital sphere. Digital technology needs to be studied, applied and amalgamated into existing workflow processes. These changes range from the daily to the long-term changes and from the individual transformations to a systemic overhaul of entire organizations. 

If we look at a personal level, we can already see the benefits it brings to us, for example, in healthcare industries. Access to electronic medical data makes the data accessible from multiple locations. It also becomes quicker to process, and with the help of insights from the data, medical professionals can make critical decisions much more informed than they previously were. 

On systemic scales, perhaps there are fewer better examples than Amazon and Netflix. Buying products or shopping used to be traditionally done where there was no more innovation possible. However, Amazon ushered in a digital transformation, which has left its peers and brick-and-mortar competitors behind. Netflix has also taken a ubiquitous commodity like cable and completely changed how we can view things on-demand. Innovation in the digital space has transformed these companies as well as customer experiences. 

These are insights into online migration as a whole and how it affects entire business operations. Therefore, in marketing, changes that can come with digital migration can have far-reaching consequences if played rightly. 

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Digitization of the Marketing Funnel

Changes in marketing began from the very first concepts that marketers used to employ. One such concept is known as the marketing funnel. The funnel describes all the stages a customer takes before they finally end up buying the product. Traditional marketing funnels, i.e. before the migration to online marketing, had five stages. The first step involved awareness, which is when the target audience was made aware that a product or a service exists to meet their needs. The second stage was interest, where the purchaser would go deep and find more about your organization to see whether you were right for them. The next step is consideration, and at this time, the potential purchaser has moved from cursory interest to firm consideration. At the intent stage, the customer has decided that they must address their need now and the product they choose is the one you are offering. The final step is the decision, which is when the customer has decided to go ahead and purchase from you.

When marketing had gone digital, all the marketing material created was to raise awareness, and in exceptional cases, they could also draw your interest. But you had to rely on the customer whether they considered you sufficiently, intended to buy from you or finally decided. With online migration, input in all the stages is possible. Online advertisements can help arouse your interest by looking at your search habits, bringing better products at every step for your consideration, following up till you firm your intent, and giving you an instant buying option in case you decide. Intervention in all these stages has opened up the marketing field beyond just the interactions; they have given rise to various kinds of data from different sources. 

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Make It Personal

Perhaps the most noticeable change from a customer perspective that has come about because of marketing going digital is the ability to personalize. Instead of reaching out to a generic audience, each individual customer can be addressed personally. 

This is done with the assistance of data metrics that we gain from repeated interactions with the customer. We can assign data form to consumer behaviors and habits and use that to tailor our marketing response to make it personal. 

Some of the more common manifestations of this are very well known. For example, organizations can track what a customer buys and suggest similar items. In other instances, they note things that need regular purchase, such as medicines, and can remind such consumers. However, these are just the most basic functionalities, and the actual cobweb is much bigger. Nowadays, data and metrics from social media giants like Facebook can help identify customer preferences even if they do not buy anything. Thus, an organization can use that data and ensure that their marketing approach is personalized and focused, to result in higher chances of conversion. Thus, consumer interest, which earlier used to be shrouded in mystery, has become transparently apparent with social media. 

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The Advent of Data

Before this digital transformation, the biggest obstacle facing marketers was a lack of reliable data based on which they could project in the future. Decisions were earlier based on gut instincts instead of there being any metrics through which insights could be gleaned for critical decisions. The entire paradigm has shifted in the digital marketing era. 

Earlier imagine sending a flyer through a newspaper or creating a TV commercial. There was no way to independently verify if the marketing content had the desired effect on the target audience. There was no data on how many people actually read the print advertisements or saw the TV ads. Furthermore, even if they saw the ads, there was no data on conversions, i.e. the number of people who purchased a product or service based solely on that advertisement. 

Analytics have completely changed the game, and the process is still on-going. To go back to the questions we asked in just the previous paragraph, today the marketing team has access to the exact number of video views on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Taking the next question about the actual engagement from the marketing content, all these websites have the ability to answer to the user the effectiveness of conversion. For the same video, which the marketing team has posted to all platforms mentioned and available, they can make a comparison across them to see which is most effective. They can drill down to find the target customers’ primary location and even the time when it was most effective. 

To summarize, the exactness of data has increased to a point where a high degree of precision is expected from the marketing team, when earlier there was none. Availability of the inferences from the data allows the marketers to reform their marketing plans in real-time. Once the marketing professionals know the effectiveness, they can immediately react and ensure more targeted advertisements, thus increasing profitability. 

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Interactivity is a Game Changer

Digital migration has changed the way individuals interact with businesses. Traditional media, such as television, movies, music and radio, are static and limited to a single individual’s choice if they choose to watch it. Digital media, on the other hand, allows consumers to comment on marketing campaigns, like them to show their appreciation and spread the word with a single click. 

Websites can now give recommendations to consumers what they want to view and even suggest a list in a particular order for them. Think of YouTube and their recommended playlists based on the type of videos you generally watch. Social media has also revolutionized the way people can interact with giant corporations. They can directly message them or comment on their posts or respond on Twitter to get the marketing team to engage with them. Even the feedback system has moved beyond simple likes and dislikes to anger, love, care and sadness, in addition to the traditional up and downvotes. 

These interactions that can now happen on social media has changed the game altogether. Think of an ad, where an influencer is promoting a product. Instead of record, it can now be live-streamed. So, during the production stage of the ad itself, the marketing team can solicit recommendations. They can get comments, suggestions, and even the influencer to respond to the client’s concerns, thereby making them more likely to buy a product. This has completely reshaped the way marketing teams approach their goals now. Things that were a pipe dream before the advent of online technology have become de rigueur. 

Proactivity Instead of Reactivity

We talked about the marketing funnel in the earlier paragraphs. What should have been evident while reading it is that it takes time for a potential customer to go through all those stages to become a confirmed client. Thus, timing can be of utmost importance when a marketer wishes to influence a person looking at their product or service. 

A consumer could have gone through multiple stages. It can even occur that a customer has finished all the stages and added the products they want to a cart, but are unsure at the point of checkout. Something is bothering them that needs to be sorted out. The marketing team earlier had no inkling if something was wrong before the customer aborted the whole purchase. Now, they can immediately assist them in clarifying the doubts a person might have and help assuage them. 

Automation has changed the way marketing goes about its work. Even till a few years ago, constant human monitoring was mandatory to ensure requisite intervention at the right moment. Now, an algorithm conveniently works on all the issues and informs the humans sitting behind the screen who can then jump directly to taking action. In cases where the software can understand from previous experiences what the issue may be, they can automatically dispatch mails or comments to help the customers solve their problems. They can make the responses personal as well. One of the most common examples of this are the chatbots that we can see on most websites. 

The Recent Arrivals 

We have talked so far of the various methods by which digitization of marketing has changed the outlook marketers have. In some specificity, let us now study what new technologies have come into the horizon that have most impacted the marketing field.

The biggest influence, without a shadow of a doubt, has been social media. It was hard to imagine most marketing going through social media websites even a decade ago. The combined presence on all social media platforms, not eliminating for unique accounts, runs up to around 4 billion. Paid advertisement on social media has introduced a new field of marketing as marketing teams realized that it was not enough to have a good social media page if no one visited it. 

Similarly, with the proliferation of smartphones, advertisements over applications and websites have increased manifold. Earlier, a business never considered having a website as an essential step. However, that has become a mandatory requirement to advertise your product, just as a storefront or window display would have been in the old days. 

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Another new step has been the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO highlights the keywords that your business would want their target audience to most associate them with it. In this way, they can push themselves up in search engine results such as Google, which are widely used for potential clients to search for products which they need. 

In conclusion, we can see that the move of marketing into the digital sphere has revolutionized it completely. It is changing as we speak. To remain ahead of the curve, organizations should use the latest technologies available and move more towards interactive marketing. The companies should also use data to reach their marketing decisions and hire professionals who are capable of handling complex data.

If you want to explore and become an expert in Digital marketing, check out MICA and upGrad’s Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing & Communication. Become an expert in content marketing, social media, branding, marketing analysis and PR.

Keerthi Shivakumar with strong and innovative strategies to promote the business brand and services globally.
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