The Digital Revolution is Upon Us.
With the widespread proliferation of the internet and digital mediums, the marketing spectrum is in a state of evolution. Advertising, once dominated by the kings of push marketing – television, media, newspapers now face a new nemesis: the rising popularity of digital channels. Consumers have found new platforms to be active on; platforms that introduce unprecedented interactions which redefine consumer behaviour as we know it.
New possibilities have bloomed for small and large businesses alike, and there is increasing fervour for brands to establish their presence in the realm of digital. The choice is simple: either ride the wave of technology, or be swept away beneath its immense tide.
Has Marketing Really Changed?
With the fresh scent of digitalization lurking in the air, many traditional marketers fear they face the reality of running obsolete. Before you lose yourself to a state of panic, it would help to understand that marketing is really an amalgamation of two main pillars – marketing principles and tools.
Amidst the prophecies of a digital future, it is easy to forget that the central principle behind marketing remains the same: to establish efficacious communication with consumers and engage them at specific touch points which maximize influence on their decisions.
For years, professional marketers have tirelessly built their craft by studying consumer patterns, strategizing the customer decision journey and extensively applying established marketing frameworks. Such fundamentals are still very much essential and will not be erased by the dawning of the digital age. The rise of digital is a call for adaptation, not replacement.
Indeed, what has changed is the explosion of digital touch points giving birth to data-driven marketing competencies and the distinct transformation of consumer interaction with brands. This unique situation has prompted a shift in marketing efforts to leverage on the capabilities of digital forms. Digitalization has effectively expanded the toolset of a marketer, thus redefining a robust marketing strategy. The most effective marketing plans are a marriage of both offline and online tactics for maximum customer interaction. The game hasn’t changed, merely the way we play it.
Being “digital saavy” is no longer a term used merely to describe the pampered youth indulging in their self-imposed virtual prisons. Marketers who do not embrace this calling my find themselves at the losing end of the bell curve. Consumers have evolved, so must we as marketers.
How Digitalization has Influenced Consumer Behaviour
In a world that embraces the spread of digitalization, a shift in paradigm of consumer interactions is definite. To grasp the keys to successful marketing, we must first delve deep into these altered consumer behaviours and their significant implications.
1. More sophisticated, well-informed consumers
Buyer power is on the rise as consumers are getting smarter. With the wealth of information shared across the internet, a prospect can find everything he wants to know about a brand even before any face-to-face interaction. The underlying implication is that consumers are now spending more time in the consideration stage and are less reliant on businesses or sales people for information on the product/service.
2. Increasing number of touch points
There are an estimated 3.8 million apps available for Android and 2 million for the Apple store. It is undeniable that the number and variety of digital touch points which consumers frequent is on the rise. New platforms for businesses to connect with their prospects on digital medium are born as we speak. With the intricacies that come along with each digital platform, the nature of the interaction between businesses and consumers is transformed.
3. Shift towards “Pull” Marketing instead of “Push”
Consumers are gaining control of the purchase process and are actively seeking information on products that they need. In an amusing irony, the roles have now reserved: instead of brands pushing products, consumers are now reaching out to businesses. Increasingly, more emphasis is being placed on inbound marketing tactics.
4. Shift from one-way communication
Interactions with consumers have now become a two-way street. Opinions and voices of the consumer, once timid and insignificant, can no longer be ignored by businesses. Maximizing customer experience online and on-ground has become the standard for impeccable service. In digital marketing campaigns, customer engagement metrics are highly sought after and closely monitored for optimal campaign performance.
5. Consumers are now an integral part of advertising efforts
In the past, companies made used of a top-down approach to advertising – one with little or no customer involvement. High budget brand awareness campaigns that made use of persuasion tactics to “push” the messaging onto consumers was the standard. That dynamic is now changing, and customers have demonstrated that they have both the motivation and ability to be part of the advertising process in the digital space.
Data-Driven Marketing – Quality over Quantity
Know your data, know your customer. Perhaps the greatest value from marketing on digital channels is the capability to closely monitor and assess the quality of online traffic. Digital analytics tools to monitor campaign and website performance have now become an integral part of marketing online. Professional digital marketers monitor campaigns daily to tweak the targeting and placement options, all performed based on data-driven metrics to optimize campaign delivery.
Marketing is no longer simply a game of mass volume – by interpreting the data procured on digital advertising platforms, businesses can prioritize on spending marketing dollars with logical efficiency.
Go Forth and Convert.
Make no mistake, we are in a time of great innovation and change: the revolution of digital has only just begun. Never has there been greater urgency to arm yourself with relevant knowledge.
Yet despite the persistence of change; marketing has, and will always be, about creativity and resourcefulness. Time to unleash your creative prowess and develop that killer digital strategy that will skyrocket your business to the next level.