Think of 'Digital' as a Mall!
One of the key attractions of digital marketing is that you pay only for ‘delivered customers’. Your advertising money is spent most optimally. You only ‘pay per click’ and not for all the people to whom your ad is shown. Naturally then your ads are shown only to people who have a high chance of wanting your product/service so that they ‘click’ on the ad and visit your site. The whole exercise works because precise targeting is possible in the net unlike in the broadcast media. So digital marketing is wildly more cost-effective than ‘spray-your-money-all-over’ broadcast marketing! Is that so?
To understand how really digital marketing works, let us take the example of a mall. Retailers like to open shops in malls because they have assured traffic. A large number of people come to malls and even if a small number walks into your shop, you get enough business. That’s the logic. Now let’s say you want to improve your business in the mall. You go to a ‘mall marketer’, providing advertising services that’ll improve traffic to your shop. Here’s what he offers:
- He’ll show location/ad of your shop on TV screens along different corridors of the mall so people know you are there.
- If you are seller of fashionable women’s garments, he’ll show your ad to all young women identified by his cameras placed right next to the TV screens.
- He’ll pay special attention to women coming out of other shops with shopping bags, since he knows they are actually shopping.
- He’ll intensify the number of times he shows your ad to such women on your floor of the mall.
- Finally, he’ll charge you only for young women with shopping bags in their hands that walk up to your shop.
Isn’t that fantastic? An advertising plan that charges you only for delivering ‘probable customers’ at your door! Aren’t you certain to improve your business which such a highly targeted campaign?
Not really. The customer can actually walk right past your door since she may have already made the purchase she wanted to! Or she may take a look at the shop window and decide your style was not for her. She may actually get into the store, walk around and walk out because she is not getting enough attention. She might even be attended to very well but may find the prices too high for an unfamiliar shop! The point simply is this; getting a customer to your shop door is no guarantee of business.
This is precisely what digital marketing usually does; get the customer, defined by your own demographic parameters, to your door. That’s what you are charged for in the cost-per-click pricing. From the mall example we know that those who click on ads may not be buying customers. If you want to be small player in a mall, happy with whatever comes your way this will do. Several home-businesses are very happy with what web and social media delivers. But if you want digital to deliver big numbers there is a different way you must use the space. The way well known large brands do. Welcome to Digital Marketing 2.0.
Marketers are often drawn to digital marketing because cost-per-click appears ridiculously cheap and they have read the digital is the place to go to when your budgets aren’t big! They however expect to get the same results they got in broadcast media and are very disappointed. There is a way to get Big Results in digital if only the space is used purposefully. The purpose should be Brand Building.
To go back to the mall example, there are several well known brands that are in the mall too. They are not hoping to get some passerby into their shop, rather they draw people to the mall specifically seeking them. So if they are such powerful brands why are they in a mall? Simply because of the convenience it offers their customers. And why do people to seek them? Because they are powerful, preferred brands. However, it would be wise for them to announce their presence in the mall to all comers, since that would definitely improve their business. It would be even smarter to use the same creative ideas they have used elsewhere, to maximise their brand recall and hence walk-ins.
A smart Digital Marketing Strategy will first recognise that it is part of a larger marketing plan. Advertising should follow suit. So is digital just another medium? It can be but that would not be using its advantage of targeting specific customers at low per reach costs. The Big Idea will be to make Digital the fountainhead of your Brand strategy. Create advertising that is digital first and then adapt that to other mediums. Using digital for brand promotion, as part of a larger strategy and as part of a multi-media campaign is the best way to leverage its cost advantages and build a brand. In time of course this will lead to ‘clicks’ becoming ‘walk-ins’ since they will be from those who have already decided on your brand. Time for you to think in terms of Digital Marketing 2.0!
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