Marketing has always been considered a necessary evil in the scheme of things for any organization . That being said a lot of time the first thing to bear the brunt in tough times were the marketing budgets . It is only in the last decade with convergence of technology that organizations have started to treat marketing as a investment rather than an expense.
Why do I say so , with such gusto .. Consider this . Earlier the channels to reach a customer were few and defined . Namely TV ads , Radio spots , Direct mailers which always had abysmal response rate or Print ads . This covered 90% of the total marketing plan for any company or an agency.
With mass customization and major fragmentation in the market its no longer possible to reach a customer via traditional channels . Now we find a customer by retargeting , microsites , mobile ads and In-stream videos to name a few .
Every Brand every product is right now in a race to monetize the customer attention . The rules of engagement are changing . It is not possible to connect to customers via traditional channels anymore . To reach the same customer one must look for various mediums and engage the customer in co-creating the experience before the purchase cycle is complete .
How does one do this ? the answer is both very easy and very complex … with the convergence of technology we have now various platforms wherein we can reach out and connect with customers , understand their needs and come up with a solution / product to fulfill the same . Also collect feedback on product usage and do necessary changes where it is required .
Consider the following experience cycle . Lets say you are a restaurant which specializes in North Indian cuisine located in Connaught Place Area of Delhi . How will a customer find you ? One of the easiest ways for him to find you will be through a Search engine. So at say 7 PM the customer does a Google search for North Indian restaurant in CP. He will find you if you have bothered to optimize your keyword strategy , then he might look for reviews at sites like Zomato . So what happens next ? He invites his friends via Facebook and twitter. Checks In again Via facebook and Foursquare . Uses Instagram to share the food Pictures , may tag you on spotify if listening to your playlist and then completes the cycle by reviewing you on your page at various social media sites , and god forbid if something was wrong he will be lamenting you for sure .
This was a very simplistic example but it does highlight the value of staying connected with the customer at all times . Now suppose if you were a multi billion dollar organization with various products for both enterprise and retail customers imagine the complexities thrown by the grid .It will be easier to understand Interstellar In Mandarin with no subtitles with a video shot on a mobile phone.
Now Despite the fact that Digital offers so many mediums to connect and engage with a customer , a lot of organizations are still struggling to get their strategy right . Marketing function is still considered a pariah , and digital is the cool dude who spends a lot of time on Facebook and twitter .
A complete incorporated strategy is imperative for any organization , and digital and social should not be treated in Silo. Organizations which have embraced digital are doing Phenomenally well as compared to the others in the same industry vertical.
As a Business leader it is important to present the right image for the brand and the product Since, with a intensely connected world it is no longer possible to hide. Where In IT as a function is responsible for keeping the “lights On” Marketing will be responsible for keeping the “Business On” .
It is not always the easiest of task to find the perfect fit in a digital strategy and I am sorry to say , but there is no magic formula that will work for you every time . But with experience and right data it is easy to reduce the errors . The next round will be won by the ones who have managed to work out Customer Intelligence and created experiences basis the Behavior displayed .