Marketing has always been/is considered a core function of any business. The concepts involved remain the same; what has merely changed is just the MEDIUM of Communication.
Quoting the famous lines of Charles Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” – This statement is well, at least true when it comes to marketing.
Newsweek is the second largest news weekly magazine in the U.S after Time. Recently it announced that the 31st Dec, 2012 edition will be its last print copy to be published (i.e. On Paper). Henceforth, it will only publish the magazine in the digital format. Prophecies say that many other publications will follow suite.
So the first question! Why the paradigm shift?
Many reason likely; but in my opinion, this was bound to happen one day. We are all cocooned by technology. Be it a laptop, tablet, mobile or to that matter even a Kindle. This advancement in technology gives a person the freedom to get information on-the-go.
From Newsweek’s perspective, it saves them a heck lot of paper and gives the publisher control of all distribution, not to mention protecting the environment(12 trees are brutally cut to make 1 ton of paper)
In spite of all this, for Newsweek, their journalists, design team, advertising team etc. still will perform the same functions that they used to do previously. They could now also have the additional flexibility of creating visually previously impossible concepts for their customers. What I am trying to reiterate here is that it’s just the MEDIUM that has changed keeping and in many cases improving the processes.
Well, this was an example given for the all-powerful Print Media. Moving on to Video Marketing, an activity on which the bulk of media spends occurs; is also noticing this screen shift phenomenon.
As people(i.e. our working population) get in to the culture of driving the economy forward, the time we get to be at home and watch a sit-com or a game of football over beer, reduces considerably. With concepts like “live streaming”, “over-the-air” and “on-demand” programs for the portable screens (Laptop, Mobile and Tablets) being gradually accepted by the global population, people can get their dose of entertainment as and when they desire. If these programs shift their screens, it is imperative that the ads will also correspondingly shift. These ads furthermore have the ability of having their own CTA’s (Call to Action’s). Now, a marketer gets the ability to accurately measure “the effect of advertising” on a TVC(TV Commerical) also.
Again, the ad conceptualization to planning to implementation stays the same while the feedback mechanism improves considerably. Online platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, MetaCafe etc. equally play their part in video marketing.
Billboard Advertising has always been considered the "big-daddy" of marketing. With the massive rise in population and the corresponding spike in road traffic, onc can seem to think that having more and more billboard campaign’s is a good idea(i.e. More people stuck in traffic; thus more spare time to see billboard ads). But let’s take a deeper look into this. A good number of people now a days commuting in cars have become impervious to ads, not to mention that there are over 5 -6 billboards cramped up in one spot. What do I look at? Traffic snarls adding to the anger of a commuter will make the commuter less likely to remember the ad that he has seen. And the cherry on the topic, NO CTA’s (Sometimes phone numbers are given; but how many actually take note of it!). These billboards have now transformed digitally to what we call “Contextual Ads”. As I have mentioned before, and repeating it again, it’s the MEDIUM that has changed, period.
Although the MEDIUM of Communication has changed the marketing activities involved have remained the same as described below.
1. Market Research: Many marketing activities are planned based on market research data. This data is usually classified using “Geographic” “Demographic” and “Psychographic” segmentation. Targeting and Positioning is done accordingly.
In the digital format, this process is refined even further. For example in the planning of any SEO or SEM campaign, a crucial activity that is carried out is called “Keyword Analysis”. Essentially, keyword analysis helps identify the psyche of a user by looking at the words and phrases that he uses to fulfil his desired purpose. Goals can either be pure information gathering or making a purchase decision. This market research is done looking at accurate historical data provided by search engines. Paid Search Campaigns/Display Advertising Campaigns can then geographically target the selected Audience. Demographics and Psychographic research is taken care of by mapping additional (Trend and Insights) data provided by search engines and various research firms to communicate the desired brand positioning online.
2. Buying Behaviour: Buying behaviour is one very important aspect of understanding the 5W’s1H of marketing viz. Why? What? Where? When? Who? and How? Consumer Buying Behaviour patterns are usually found out through various surveys, observing consumer’s perception at various product/service marketing events and even taking feedback from customers etc. For an online business, especially e-commerce websites, it becomes increasingly important to know this behavior to effectively plan inventories and showcase the relevant products to boost sales. In the case of online marketing, basic metrics that are seen are the movement of consumers on the website (i.e. From where (location) they come in! what (products/services) do they see! how do they ultimately buy!) and the usual sales.
For Example: The following Visitor Flow and Conversion Step reports effectively helps gauge which marketing channels are performing and which all pages need improvement
In the above figure, the green color indicates which page the user visits, grey lines indicate the user flow to a next page on the website, and red lines indicate from where the user left.
In the above conversion report, Paid search indicates a sale through paid search marketing, organic sales indicates a sale due to search engine optimization and direct conversion indicates a sale when a user typed in the website address directly. Direct sales are also a very good indication of the brand awareness/brand recall of a particular brand/product.
3. Marketing Management: Marketing Management in traditional marketing involves synchronizing all the various channels/resources of advertising to ensure unilateral brand communication with the target audience. This ensures that that if a person has missed out on say a television commercial, he would still see it through the newspaper without distorting the message.
In digital, this management goes one step further with the introduction of “The Social Network”
The user engagement in this case happens with the brand directly if the brand is present on Social platforms viz. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn etc. This feedback can then be co-related with the other online mediums thus keeping the digital strategy intact while making minor modifications or tactics based on trending factors. A good example of this, if a brand has received good publicity about a product or service that it offers; this is immediately caught on social platforms. The same information can be conveyed to the digital advertising team which can start showing up their ads on those particular media pages, thereby making effective use of ad space.
There are of course many other intricacies that show the similarities of processes between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing. We will keep that for some other time.
As of now it seems that the advantage of digital marketing gets an edge over traditional marketing. However, I’m not trying to say that you should let go of traditional marketing and jump over to the digital marketing bandwagon. I’m simply trying to say that the world is gradually moving to digital!