Hi Folks!!
Can u imagine a world without digits and numbers? Unthinkable right? Now further, can you imagine a world without computers and then to stretch your imagination even more, a world without the internet, without mobiles and without smartphones!??!!
Imagine the brouhaha that would ensue, if every device and the net to which it is connected, were to just STOP and SHUT DOWN!!! It would be tantamount to being completely paralysed without any hope of recovery! Such is our dependence on technology today! But who am I, to even dare, to think of, much less to portend, such dark futuristic moments, when life has obviously become so easy and so wonderful for us, courtesy this very same technology??

From selling soap to birthing a baby, to getting connected to the dear departed, it’s all about technology! And one of the marvels of the internet is being able to influence the masses, to achieve those goals in a measurable way.

This, in effect, is digital marketing, a key, emerging, dynamic and continually evolving field. There are several ways to engage customers and let me attempt to unravel a wee bit of it, as we go along, without it sounding too tedious.

It’s a foregone conclusion in today’s world that, the net and the mobile platform is the stage on which any business must be seen, to survive the cut-throat competition and to outdo it. And every biggie out there has grabbed its share of the pie. So to quote companies like Amazon, Flipkart, e-bay, to name a few, is stating the obvious, that they have become and are giants, due to their continued enormous presence online through affiliate marketing and on other media like TV, newspaper, in the lives of customers.

What exactly does digital marketing do?? The emphasis is always on winning over existing and potential customers, having a personal conversation with them, personalising ads for them to make them feel being catered to and hence earning their loyalty, to build a long-lasting relationship.

What intrigues me though, as a lay person and as one who is also at the receiving end of an endless barrage of emails, pop up ads on searches, SMS messages on promos and discounts, is, how much does it really cost a company/business enterprise to make its presence felt across all advertising and marketing media?? And how does one track the ROI??

The important factor to understand would be, that the lines between offline and online marketing are blurring rapidly. In as much, as it creates a world of opportunities, it also escalates the pressures to deliver when the budget allocated to digital marketing and advertising is high.

A quick survey of available data reveals that the budget that is allocated to digital marketing is on the upswing, (without quoting exact figures), compared to the previous years. Marketers are now geared to drive their businesses the digital way through websites, social media and advertising, especially on the mobile platform. Having a vibrant and an updated website, optimum visibility on social media like FB and Twitter, would create a continuous and meaningful dialogue with the preferred customer bases, even allowing them to, in fact, create the products and services, which they see as lending credibility to their own existence and an enhanced quality of their lives.

Cutting to brass-tacks, it means working hard, at understanding not only the techniques but also the rapidly changing technology. This can be handled by the in-house talent or it can be outsourced. A lot of companies invest in a person who takes on the role of handling this specialised task, as this is the fulcrum on which the entire business rests. eg. , a chief marketing technologist. What adds teeth to these multipronged strategies is social analytics. Very simply, it is to analyse all sorts of data across different metrics which influence business, for eg. ,tracking the choices and preferences of what customers buy over a period of time, which helps the marketers plan their next moves.

Digital marketing can be done through various avenues like Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay per click (PPC) strategies, Social media marketing (SMM), and using Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Besides these, there is Digital Display Advertising, email marketing, Content Creation, mobile marketing and viral marketing too, which are potent means to market products and services. What is of special interest is the usage of Web Analytics, which is a must to track the ROI!

So, given the stakes, it’s no surprise then that a sort of a war-like, dog-eat-dog, situation exists in the advertising and marketing world. With this kind of exponential volatility around, what happens next is anybody’s guess. I feel the corridors of digital marketing are like roller-coaster rides and to survive, nay enjoy, all that one needs to do, is to do what can be done, hang on tight, blink at the unfolding landscape whizzing past, feeling the rush of the breeze of expectation on your face! And of course, await, with a palpitating heart, the next loop and turn and then, the splash of excitement and happiness!!

For when all the boardroom strategies and intense discussions, traverse the web and see the light of the day and translate into a zillion dazzling smiles, at the site of a pretty package sitting at the doorstep, in the remotest corner of our planet Earth, the journey seems just worth it all!!

About the Author

Dr. Preeti has been a consultant Radiologist for several years, a lay counsellor and a Life Skills facilitator. She has an unwavering faith that there is an abundance of goodness in our universe. She thrives on empowering others, and her wish is to reach out to people and to our environment, through her writings. A crazy sense of humour, music and art have contributed to a grace and compassion in her life.