Enables Fragmented New-Age Marketing
In recent times, the media has become increasingly fragmented. With the rapidly growing popularity of the Internet and, more recently, smartphones, many options now exist for advertisers to reach a global audience using digital marketing channels such as website, mobile, and social media. With all of these options, many marketers find it beneficial to use an integrated approach to marketing by leveraging the strengths of various types of media.
Facilitates Innovative Internet-Enabled Business Models
The growing popularity of the Internet, smartphones, and digital media provides opportunities for a company to not only use fragmented new-age marketing effectively to promote existing products, but also to come up with innovative business models where product demos, customer acquisition, and order fulfilment can also take place online. This includes online marketplaces, online services, online networking, and business models using smartphones.
Supports Other Aspects of Sales and Marketing
Digital Marketing supports and interacts with all the other Aspects of marketing such as Marketing Strategy, Marketing Research, Corporate Sales, Branding & Advertising, and Retail Marketing. Not understanding Digital Marketing makes it very difficult to manage other marketing activities. Here are some examples:
- Marketing Strategy: Without considering Digital Marketing, it is impossible to come up with a comprehensive Marketing Strategy. Several businesses have the internet at the core of their business model (for example, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, multiple blogs, and online training websites) – and marketing strategy for such businesses cannot be defined without considering Digital Marketing. Most other businesses use the internet for some aspect of their business, for example, hotels or airlines use aggregators such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Trivago for customer acquisition; and rating websites such as TripAdvisor for understanding customer perception. Not understanding Digital Marketing will make it impossible for any business to define a comprehensive marketing strategy.
- Marketing Research: Traditional Marketing Research primarily involved surveys, interviews, focus group discussions and analysis of the data collected. However, Digital Marketing has significantly changed the way in which Marketing Research is conducted in recent times. Companies get significant information about their products through customer feedback in social media forums (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and customer interaction on company websites and mobile apps. Analysis of such data can be done through web-analytics and big data – and that helps in the Marketing Research efforts of any company.
- Corporate Sales: A fine-tuned Digital Marketing Strategy can help significantly enhance Corporate Sales performance for most companies. For example, a well-designed company website and mobile app, with high ranking in search engines and positive interaction from customers can enhance the corporate sales efforts for most companies. Moreover, several companies use LinkedIn and other Digital Marketing avenues to connect with relevant contacts for Corporate Sales.
- Branding and Advertising: Unlike older media options where Sales and Marketing communications were primarily uni-directional (i.e., from producers to end-consumers), communications have increasingly become multi-directional (i.e., from producers to consumers, consumers to producers, and consumers to consumers). For example, there are multiple rating websites available where customers can provide independent ratings of a company’s products or services, and others, including the company itself, can respond or elaborate on these ratings. Although generally a benefit to both producers and consumers, this trend can make brand management challenging for companies if actual or potential customers perceive that a product does not reflect the brand message intended by marketing efforts. Additionally, there are now numerous advertising options available through Digital Marketing now – and companies can very easily reach a global audience using Digital Marketing effectively.
- Retail Marketing: Typically, producers used to sell to customers through retail stores – but Digital Marketing has enabled business models where producers can sell directly through their own websites and through aggregators such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Flipkart. Understanding Digital Marketing can significantly enhance the Retail Marketing efforts of any company.
Mandatory for Sales and Marketing Professionals
Digital Marketing is essential for understanding all other aspects of Marketing such as Marketing Strategy, Marketing Research, Corporate Sales, Branding & Advertising, and Retail Marketing. Sales and Marketing dollars typically follow where people spend the most time – and previously, most advertising spend was in TV, Radio and Print. However, since people have started spending more time online or on their mobile phones, companies have started spending a significant portion of their advertising budget on Digital Marketing activities. Big companies have huge teams managing company websites, mobile apps, social media and all their Digital Marketing activities. For small companies, Digital Marketing provides a better Return on Investment (ROI) compared to traditional marketing. So, Digital Marketing skills are mandatory for all Sales and Marketing students and professionals.
Essential for Entrepreneurs
More than 90% of businesses funded by venture capital firms globally, use an internet-enabled business model, or use Digital Marketing for customer acquisition. Any person aspiring to be an entrepreneur should definitely understand Digital Marketing – this will help entrepreneurs think through and implement innovative business models for their start-ups; and also help them acquire customers.
Very Relevant for Information Technology Professionals
Professionals working in Information Technology are involved with creating websites, mobile apps, and more. Digital Marketing helps ensure that the IT deliverables are relevant to business, for example, websites created by technical resources should be search engine optimized; provide links to social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; help manage email-marketing, affiliate marketing, customer feedback, blogs and search engine marketing; and provide insights to business and technical teams through web-analytics and use of big-data. Understanding Digital Marketing is very beneficial to technical students so that they can create more effective technical products which are useful to business.
Important for Faculty
Faculty in the Sales and Marketing and Information Technology domains should have a very good understanding of Digital Marketing as it supports and interacts with all the other Aspects of marketing such as Marketing Strategy, Marketing Research, Corporate Sales, Branding and Advertising, and Retail Marketing. Not understanding Digital Marketing makes it very difficult for faculty to appreciate and teach other sales and marketing topics. Moreover, Digital Marketing is also relevant for faculty in the Information Technology field because it helps ensure that the technical concepts taught are relevant to business. It also help them understand and be better-prepared to teach technical concepts related to Digital Marketing such as Search Engine Optimization, interfacing with multiple social media and digital marketing forums, affiliate marketing, and so on.