As the Indian economy moves towards digitization, the importance of digital marketing grows by the day. All organizations from small businesses to large corporations, and new firms to established players must understand the importance of digital marketing. Furthermore, digital marketing provides businesses with measurable results which can be tracked over time for better decision-making. In addition, digital marketing provides “actionable” leads which can be converted into sales. Not surprisingly, firms have increased their budget allocated to digital marketing – the share of digital ad spending as percentage of total media ad spending in India increased from 12% in 2015 to 20% in 2019 viz. by 8% over just a period of 4 years. Clearly, digital marketing as a medium is giving a tough fight to the traditional media such as TV and newspaper – while TV ad spending in India grew by a healthy 12.5% CAGR over the 4-year time period from 2015 to 2019, and newspaper ad spending grew by barely 4.8% over this period, the digital ad spending grew by a sizeable 30%!
With the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the world, the business world underwent an entire digital transformation overnight. According to a survey, 59% of firms increased their digital marketing efforts, and 66% completed digital marketing tasks that were perceived to be an enormous challenge previously. They also produced better results while saving money on traditional marketing expenses. Many people believe that these changes are perpetual in nature, as Covid-19 pandemic has permanently altered organizational operations and working.
Having established the tremendous growth of digital marketing in India over the last few years, let us examine reasons for the same.
Marketing was a luxury a decade ago because of the high cost associated with traditional media such as TV and print – the price of a front page ad in the Times of India or an outdoor hoarding at a busy Mumbai traffic junction was prohibitively expensive for small businesses. In fact, large advertising outlay was considered as an entry barrier for a new player in FMCG categories. But digital marketing has changed all that – it has created a level playing field for small and new firms to compete as it requires only a small budget. For instance, a small Indian management consultancy firm can now hope to leave behind the large and more well-known foreign consultancy firms on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s) by using SEO effectively. Moreover, while most digital marketing tools provide basic features for free, there are other digital platforms on which ads can be run for as little as $1. It is up to the initiative of small and new businesses to maximize the use of these free tools and economical platforms innovatively.
2. Extensive Reach
An old English saying goes as “fish where the fish are” ; in other words, one should be present where the target audience is. Consequently, businesses are turning to digital media for branding as their audience migrates to search engines and social media – 2019 data for share of average time spent with media for India reveals that consumers spend about 5 hours daily interacting with media, out of which roughly 60% of the time is spent with TV and 30% with digital media. As a result, marketing on digital platforms will substantially broaden reach.
Moreover, the reach of digital media is global – the firm undertaking digital marketing shall be able to accept orders from anywhere across the world. It is noteworthy that even a traditional sector such as handicrafts has benefitted from this global reach – the “One District, One Product” (ODOP) Programme of the Uttar Pradesh Government has a successful tie-up with Amazon to sell each District’s identified handicraft product all over the globe.
Businesses have since long collected aggregate sales data, which can be analyzed to throw up trends. With digital marketing, one can now capture individual customer data using CRM tools such as Salesforce and Oracle ; this individual customer data can be analyzed through data mining, and then be used for “mass customization” viz. changing product specifications according to individual customer preferences, as well as “one-to-one marketing” viz. directing different sales pitches at different individuals. As an example of mass customization, Nike in USA allows customers to customize a few of its more popular brands such as Air Force 1 ; this trend of mass customization has yet to take off in India. On the other hand, one-to-one marketing is omnipresent for targetting ads on social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
4. Brand Awareness
Digital marketing can increase brand awareness of a new or a small brand within a short time, irrespective of the fact whether it is bought through recognition or recall. This is critical as without brand awareness, the brand will not make it to a potential customer’s consideration set.
With the search engine Google enjoying a market share of 94% in India as of July, 2022, any Indian digital marketer has to consider Google for Search Engine Marketing (SEM), be it for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Pay Per Click (PPC) type of paid promotion. Moreover, the Click-through Rate (CTR) of search engines is usually higher than that of other digital channels, as the user who types in a query on the search engine is after all looking for some information about the product category or the brand.
It is pertinent here to note that some of the social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube serve as good awareness platforms, besides being good engagement platforms wherein brands can interact with their consumers in a two-way interactive communication.
5. Online Reputation Management (ORM)
Research has revealed that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations ; therefore it is imperative that the online brand reputation be managed proactively. The objective of this ORM is to present a positive image of a company, while removing any negative content at a short notice. The latter requires a dedicated team, either in-house or out-sourced, which closely monitors the online content to detect and remove any negative comments. This team should also help address grievances or resolve complaints that may arise online.
6. Real-time Measurability
Marketers are able to measure the efficacy of their digital campaigns quite accurately. Thus, if the campaign is not delivering the desired results – on either intermediate metrics such as brand awareness, or end-performance metrics such as leads or conversion rates – it can be easily tweaked or “optimized” mid-way. In fact, the fact that marketers can get “near-instantaneous” feedback on the effectiveness of their digital campaigns, is one of the strengths of digital marketing. This implies that marketers are able to measure the ROI (Return-on-investment) of their campaigns in real-time. Moreover, the better conversion rates of digital marketing campaigns, coupled with their low investment, implies that the ROI of such campaigns is much higher than that of traditional media campaigns.
Digital marketing is expectedly important for small businesses and start-ups which operate on shoe-string budgets. We at Concat are here to assist such organizations in building a winning Digital Marketing Plan in line with their business goals. The right digital marketing strategy is barely a click away – just go for it!