Welcome aboard the Rs 25,000 cr digital marketing bandwagon

Brands have realised they have as good or better chances of attracting consumers online as offline

Established offline businesses are developing digital marketing strategies to expand while new businesses without an offline presence are thriving using only digital marketing. The reasons for using digital marketing are obvious. Globally billions of eyeballs spend several hours every day in front of a screen, even in India where the majority of people still don’t use smartphones, the number of smartphones users is among the largest globally. In a popular movie about social networking released nearly 10 years ago, a character states, “We used to live in caves, then we lived in houses, now we will live on the internet.” He may have prognosticated about life in 2019.  

Reach only those who matter

Billions of people spend hundreds of hours online every month which begs the question why they do so? The simple reason is a lot can be done online. Not only that, life online is exciting, just as visiting a mall in real life or going to a really good party is. Social media is a 27/7 party. Importantly, more and more people are getting online than ever before. In India, the digital revolution was given an impetus a few years ago as the cost of data plummeted and 4G internet became commonplace. The number of Indians online will certainly continue to grow.

Brands have realised they have as good or better chances of attracting consumers online as offline. For many brands, reaching customers online is easier than reaching them through traditional marketing channels. Online, people of different ages and preferences congregate on unique platforms. This allows brands to market products to those who will be likeliest to buy them. For instance, a manufacturer of motorcycles or trendy denim jeans is likeliest to attract an audience on platforms favoured by younger audiences. Information about which platforms are favoured by different segments of consumers is widely available.

Importantly, when digital marketing is executed, it is executed precisely. For instance, if a manufacturer of jeans only has showrooms in 1 or 2 cities, using digital marketing it can specify its advertisements reach only those living in such cities. So rather than broadcasting on traditional media through which its advertisements will reach only a small number of its target audience, the manufacturer can ensure its advertisements reach only those who are likely to buy its products.

Enjoy an unbelievably high ROI

There is a reason why the demand for digital advertising will grow by 31.96 per cent this year, the plain and simple reason is that it works. By the end of this year, the market for digital marketing will expand to Rs 24,920 crore because more and more companies see value in digital marketing. Unlike traditional marketing whose effectiveness is hard to assess, digital marketing’s effectiveness can be captured down to every rupee. While advertising on TV, print, or radio generates demand, inquiries, and leads, it’s difficult to account for how effective each rupee spent in such activities was. Such ambiguity makes it harder to optimally align marketing budgets with sales. Also, the cost of using traditional marketing channels is significantly greater than of digital marketing campaigns. So because digital marketing channels reach a narrowly targeted audience at a lower cost per person than traditional media can, the return on investment (ROI) from digital marketing campaigns is greater than from traditional marketing channels.

Digital marketing is a bandwagon

Companies big and small have realised that using digital marketing, they can attract potential consumers more effectively than they could earlier. This is why every brand big or small is climbing aboard the digital marketing bandwagon. What is especially exciting is that digital marketing is giving rise to new companies that have no offline stores. Because billions of eyeballs are glued to screens every day, people are able to see and learn about a number of products without visiting a store. So because consumers can buy products they like online the products don’t need to be displayed in a store.

Digital marketing is still in its infancy, as technology advances and billions more come online globally, the digital marketing industry will grow in size several folds simply because it is so effective in reaching audiences companies want to reach. Even more exciting possibilities will spring open when technologies like VR become commonplace. For digital marketing, this is merely the beginning and businesses that want to expand can’t afford to not onboard the digital marketing bandwagon.   

(The author is CEO, The views expressed here are his own and may not subscribe to them.) 

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