The 21st century has witnessed the greatest revolution: The Internet. As the world changes steadily, so does the market. So how do MNCs, startups and other companies realign their marketing strategy to their own benefit?
Civilized society has always been driven by curiosity and progress. As we progressed, we had a few defining moments, which accelerated our historical timeline and the product is the current age, our time, our present. We catapulted our own growth and pushed us far beyond the ordinary. Although each invention or discovery has a very important contribution, none has been so globally inclusive like the Internet. The interconnected web has transcended its importance and now controls our life, our thoughts and our opinions.
When internet was conceived, it was primarily used for communication. The electronic mail took telephones and fax machines head on, beating them in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and reduced time consumption. However, we are the manipulators of our own inventions. Soon the world realized that this technology can be scaled and used in businesses, marketing & advertising among other ventures. The circle of demands and supply did the rest. The world hasn’t been the same since the late 90s and won’t be the same ever again.
Facebook Walls Are The New Billboards! Gone are the days of spending a significant amount of cash on creating the perfect ad and product pitch. With the advent of digital and social media marketing, you can increase your sales value easily. Both the corporate giants and the SMEs have a level playing ground when it comes to product promotion and sales; all that matters is the product (service) efficiency and quality. These days, the consumer choice is influenced by creative advertisements marketed towards a target audience thus making it much more successful than traditional adverts.
Without further ado, let’s get down to the brass tacks of digital marketing:
Analytics And The Market: Numbers Don’t Lie The purest language is mathematics, it never lies if you speak it correctly. Analytics is the key to understanding and conceptualizing business practices. Understanding what customers browse (order or view), site hits and customer density helps companies decide the target audience based and marketing strategies which revolve around time, geographical location, price range etc. These data points are important in targeting acquisitions and help companies understand the best time or site to target their digital marketing efforts on. Market dynamics have changed forever. With the explosion of smartphone industry, especially in emerging countries like India, the customer base has increased and expanded ten folds. Digital or cashless payments have seen an unprecedented rise after the Demonetization and Digital India initiatives. The Indian market has been the best place to experiment analytics and market trends by big companies and startups alike. It has the population to analyze and the economic difference to experiment with market trends. Indian startups and MNCs have welcomed this new-age smartphone proliferation, which has increased the slow but steady growth of online transactions. Recently, GrabOn, a coupons and deals marketplace based out of India, created a real time infographic that indicates key data points and information in fun, bite-sized format. The study was conducted to understand the market better and figure out the growth of smartphones industry in the country. From cashless payments to online shopping, the display shows everything in real time. According to the infographic, in just one hour 17 million google searches happen in India, while 38 million photos are shared on WhatsApp and 228311 transactions done on Paytm. At the same time, 9729 orders are placed on Amazon, 62,500 bookings happen on Ola and 5833 food orders are delivered by Swiggy. It sheds a lot of information on the Indian market mentality and how Indian companies use this information to their advantage.
Social Media - The Great Equalizer Social media has undoubtedly played a huge factor in digital marketing. The companies realized that products only sell when people talk about them. Facebook not only changed the social interaction scene but also ushered in the next generation of marketing ploys. Companies now connect to their customer base through social media platforms using it as both a catalogue and a medium to interact better. Organizations pickup on viral trends and use it to attract customers to buy more. Creative content is the go to when it comes to communicating with the target audience, mostly youngsters who spend a majority of their time on the social media. Social media has been the biggest game changer in terms of building and growing a loyal subscriber base. Not just this, companies like Facebook curate advertisements and suggestions based on user searches as well. Digital marketing is the new ‘pay to play’. You pay for your content to be advertised and reach out to a wider audience. This is same for both big and small players (although it helps if you have more spending capacity).
Big Data Helps Understand The Audience Better Most companies, irrespective of their size (startups or established) agree that knowing the customer is the key to selling products better. But how exactly do they accomplish it? The answer is Big Data! Companies analyze customer behavior & needs like trends of shopping by studying the data. This in turn fuels the marketing strategy. Users are constantly connected to the digital world through their phones and mobile devices. The data consumed each second is recorded and analyzed to better target the audience. Big data is one of the newest tool that the companies use these days to maximize their understanding of the customer base. Companies use this data to suggest the user relevant product and effectively influence their choices. What started off as a tool to understand the user needs better has been transformed into a tool to test the market. McKinsey recently interviewed six top officials of major companies- Murli Buluswar, Chief Science Officer at AIG; Vince Campisi, Senior Vice President & Chief Digital Officer for United Technologies Corp; Ash Gupta, Chief Risk Officer at American Express; Zoher Karu, Vice President of Global Customer Optimization and data at eBay; Victor Nilson, Senior Vice President of big data at AT&T; and Ruben Sigala, Chief Analytics Officer at Caesars Entertainment. All of them agreed that the use of Big Data is pivotal in impacting user choice. Even smaller startups are using this trend to increase and maximize their output.
SEO: Better Rankings, More Traffic & Greater Sales With the help of Google (and other search engines), customers rely on their own research to come to well-informed decisions about products. SEO Analytics has emerged from a nobody to one of the most market-effective tool to determine search optimization. It is more important to understand what the user searches and relay back information based on what they search. Companies do not rely just on keyword stuffing and link spamming anymore. They rely on closely observed data of customer searches and modifications. SEO will be there for years to come and will always be dynamic, as the customer base is dynamic. As digital marketing progresses, so does our understanding of better SEO techniques and tools.
It is understandable that change is the only constant. Technology has created huge differences in how businesses approach and use trends and information to their own leverage. This not only leads to better business transactions but also increases the competition and ensures a steady flow of market variable (read: money). The trends of digital marketing will keep on changing and improving but it is a no-brainer that the new era has ushered modern world where marketing is much more optimized, refined and calculative. The startups know it, the MNCs know it and you should too if you want to stay in this game. Be here or be left out.