The shift from physical to automated means and the rising penetration of smartphones have expanded the scope of all business functions, including marketing. The so-called fourth industrial revolution has brought in a wave of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, Internet of Things, etc.
These advances have further widened the role of digital marketing across industries. In the coming years, we are likely to experience a world where the level of digitization will be a crucial factor in determining a country’s economic progress.
Since the marketing department of a business is mostly engaged in profit-oriented activities, from promoting products to attracting and retaining customers, it has become all the more important to keep up with the digital transformations in this space. In India, over 220 million people access digital services using their smartphones.
And by 2021, the number of mobile internet users are likely to be more than 800 million. The possibilities are endless if opportunities are identified and utilized proactively. So, here is a roundup of all that you need to know about digital marketing and how it can contribute to business growth.
Read more: What Does a Digital Marketer Do?
Defining Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is an umbrella term for all marketing efforts that make use of electronic devices or the internet. For this reason, it is often referred to as ‘online marketing.’ Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, and Content Marketing are some of the digital channels that come under its wing.
More than half (59%) of the world’s population uses the internet. Web search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Baidu are providing answers to billions of queries per day. And with the rising penetration of smartphones and tablets, mobile searches have gone up, opening up even more avenues for digital marketers.
Another reason for the uptick in digital marketing is the increasing social media usage, not just in India but across the globe. A Mediakix study revealed that users are spending an average of 50 minutes every day on online platforms like Facebook and Instagram. So, it is natural for companies to explore these channels for advertising their products.
It is clear from the trends mentioned above that the role of digital marketing cannot be overlooked for driving business growth in this day and age. Google has estimated that companies with comprehensive online strategies have a 2.8 times higher revenue growth expectancy. Now, let us look at some specific advantages of deploying effective digital marketing methods.
Digital marketing role in small businesses
Traditional marketing techniques often require sizable monetary funds. In the early stages of a company or startup, committing a big marketing budget can seem tricky. So, having a digital presence enables you to advertise and build your customer base in a cost-effective manner.
Leveraging the power of the internet and implementing effective online strategies can take you from a lesser-known brand to a household name within a short period and with limited resources. In a survey conducted by Gartner Inc., a global research and advisory firm, 40 percent of respondents acknowledged that digital marketing allowed them to realize considerable savings.
Also, no matter how small, you can use emails and SEO-optimized blogs to generate awareness about your brand and increase its visibility and reach. With a well-structured digital marketing plan, you can even compete with big corporations and gain customers based on the quality of your products and content.
Learn more: Digital Marketing Salary in India 2020
Precise customer targeting
Modern audiences come with their own set of complexities. As a brand, you encounter various challenges in reaching the consumers, like shorter attention spans, rapidly changing preferences, choice overload, etc. And not all of your online followers or those you see your ads may end up buying from you.
Therefore, it becomes all the more vital for you to target potential customers who will make a purchase decision in your favor. And digital marketing approaches facilitate targeted communications for the consumers of your chosen demographic. The advent of big data has made this process even easier by analyzing past trends and predicting buying behavior.
Moreover, as a marketer, your objective is not only to attract new customers but also to retain, cross-sell, and upsell to existing customers. Social media marketing presents new-found avenues for discovering leads, providing personalized customer service, building an audience in a real-time fashion, and further implementing a customized marketing strategy.
Ease of implementation
You need not have deep pockets to roll out and execute an online campaign. It is also reasonably easy to learn digital marketing techniques in the present-day business environment, where several courses and tutorials are available all over the internet.
The digital marketing role is critical in building and maintaining your brand image. Your potential customers can perform a simple internet search on your brand or go through your social media pages. Nowadays, this online reputation can impact your business performance. Since people usually believe what appears in search results, good online reviews and recommendations influence customer decisions to a great extent.
The perception regarding digital ads has also changed over the years, especially among the millennial population. Therefore, content marketing has caught the eye of marketers. Today, brands are becoming more creative by developing engaging content, including videos and topical blog posts, and giveaway contests on social media.
If you create click-worthy, entertaining, and relevant content for your target audience, they are more likely to share it with people who have similar inclinations. This is an effective way of scoring new customers as compared to the visits generated by paid ads.
Know more: How To Start a Career in Digital Marketing?
Convenient tracking and monitoring
One of the most significant benefits of using digital marketing channels is the ease of measurability. Online methods assist the monitoring of results, optimization of efforts, and also provide flexibility to change the strategy as per the latest needs.
If you have a multi-channel plan, keeping a tab of your campaigns can seem strenuous. But digital marketing makes tracking of conversion rates across different mediums a breezy task. Following the trail through the lead funnel is particularly effortless in SEO and email marketing.
And social media platforms offer daily or weekly insights on your posts and digital ads. It also creates a space for personal interaction and relationship building with your target audience. Additionally, you can run split tests to figure out what works best for your prospective customers, optimize your website to be more user friendly, and revise your marketing strategy, if required.
Preparing for the future
Digital marketing tools empower businesses to compete in a vast marketplace and alongside bigger rivals. In the online world, your market is as big as you want it to be. By adopting the latest technologies and implementing effective online strategies, your brand can stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive edge.
From easing the processes of brand building to CRM, the advances offer tremendous opportunities. Innovations like chatbots, and voice assistants (Siri, Alexa, etc.), Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality are going to make way for more integrative and holistic consumer experiences. Digital marketing is, thus, expected to outperform conventional marketing in the coming years.
Also read: Digital Marketing Salary
It has become imperative to use digital marketing in today’s technology-driven business world. According to eMarketer, worldwide digital ad spends will reach $375 billion by 2021. And India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing digital markets globally, expecting to add more than 20 lakh jobs in 2020. So, whether you are an entrepreneur or a marketer, you cannot risk neglecting the role of digital marketing in boosting your brand and growing a successful business!
If you wish to explore and become an expert in Digital Marketing, check out MICA and upGrad’s Digital Marketing Certificate Program. Become an expert in social media marketing, content marketing, branding, marketing analysis and PR.