Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.
The way in which digital marketing has developed since the 1990s and 2000s has changed the way brands and businesses utilize technology and digital marketing for their marketing. Digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent, as digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans, and as people use digital devices instead of going to physical shops.
Digital marketing activities are search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, and e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, optical disks and games, and any other form of digital media. It also extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback and on-hold mobile ring tones
Digital marketing is often referred to as 'online marketing', 'internet marketing' or 'web marketing'. The term digital marketing has grown in popularity over time, particularly in certain countries. In the USA online marketing is still prevalent, in Italy is referred as web marketing but in the UK and worldwide, digital marketing has become the most common term, especially after the year 2013 . The use of digital marketing in the digital era not only allows for brands to market their products and services but also allows for online customer support through 24/7 services to make customer feel supported and valued. The use of social media interaction allows brands to receive both positive and negative feedback from their customers as well as determining what media platforms work well for them and has become an increased advantage for brands and businesses. It is now common for consumers to post feedback online through social media sources, blogs and websites feedback on their experience with a product or brand. It has become increasingly popular for businesses to utilise and encourage these conversations through their social media channels to have direct contact with the customers and manage the feedback they receive appropriately.
By using Internet platforms, businesses can create competitive advantage through various means. To reach the maximum potential of digital marketing, firms use social media as its main tool to create a channel of information. Through this a business can create a system in which they are able to pinpoint behavioral patterns of clients and feedback on their needs. This means of content has shown to have a larger impingement on those who have a long-standing relationship with the firm and with consumers who are relatively active social media users. Relative to this, creating a social media page will further increase relation quality between new consumers and existing consumers as well as consistent brand reinforcement therefore improving brand awareness resulting in a possible rise for consumers up the Brand Awareness Pyramid. Although there may be inconstancy with product images;maintaining a successful social media presence requires a business to be consistent in interactions through creating a two way feed of information; firms consider their content based on the feedback received through this channel, this is a result of the environment being dynamic due to the global nature of the internet. Effective use of digital marketing can result in relatively lowered costs in relation to traditional means of marketing; Lowered external service costs, advertising costs, promotion costs, processing costs, interface design costs and control costs.
Brand awareness has been proven to work with more effectiveness in countries that are high in uncertainty avoidance, also these countries that have uncertainty avoidance; social media marketing works effectively. Yet brands must be careful not to be excessive on the use of this type of marketing, as well as solely relying on it as it may have implications that could negatively harness their image. Brands that represent themselves in an anthropomorphizing manner are more likely to succeed in situations where a brand is marketing to this demographic. “Since social media use can enhance the knowledge of the brand and thus decrease the uncertainty, it is possible that people with high uncertainty avoidance, such as the French, will particularly appreciate the high social media interaction with an anthropomorphized brand.” Moreover digital platform provides an ease to the brand and its customers to interact directly and exchange their motives virtually.
A key objective is engaging digital marketing customers and allowing them to interact with the brand through servicing and delivery of digital media. Information is easy to access at a fast rate through the use of digital communications. Users with access to the Internet can use many digital mediums, such as Facebook, YouTube, Forums, and Email etc. Through Digital communications it creates a Multi-communication channel where information can be quickly exchanged around the world by anyone without any regard to whom they are. Social segregation plays no part through social mediums due to lack of face to face communication and information being wide spread instead to a selective audience. This interactive nature allows consumers create conversation in which the targeted audience is able to ask questions about the brand and get familiar with it which traditional forms of Marketing may not offer.
The whole idea of digital marketing can be a very important aspect in the overall communication between the consumer and the organisation. This is due to digital marketing being able to reach vast numbers of potential consumers at one time.
Another advantage of digital marketing is that consumers are exposed to the brand and the product that is being advertised directly. To clarify the advertisement is easy to access as well it can be accessed any time any place.
However, with digital marketing there are some setbacks to this type of strategy. One major setback that is identified, is that Digital marketing is highly dependent on the internet. This can be considered as a setback because the internet may not be accessible in certain areas or consumers may have poor internet connection.
As well as digital marketing being highly dependent on the Internet is that it is subject to a lot of clutter, so it marketers may find it hard to make their advertisements stand out, as well as get consumers to start conversations about an organisations brand image or products.
As digital marketing continues to grow and develop, brands take great advantage of using technology and the Internet as a successful way to communicate with its clients and allows them to increase the reach of who they can interact with and how they go about doing so,. There are however disadvantages that are not commonly looked into due to how much a business relies on it. It is important for marketers to take into consideration both advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing when considering their marketing strategy and business goals.
An advantage of digital marketing is that the reach is so large that there are no limitations on the geographical reach it can have. This allows companies to become international and expand their customer reach to other countries other than the country it is based or originates from.
As mentioned earlier, technology and the internet allows for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week service for customers as well as enabling them to shop online at any hour of that day or night, not just when the shops are over and across the whole world. This is a huge advantage for retailers to utilise it and direct customers from the store to its online store. It has also opened up an opportunity for companies to only be online based rather than having an outlet or store due to the popularity and capabilities of digital marketing.
Another advantage is that digital marketing is easy to be measured allowing businesses to know the reach that their marketing is making, whether the digital marketing is working or not and the amount of activity and conversation that is involved.
With brands using the Internet space to reach their target customers; digital marketing has become a beneficial career option as well. At present, companies are more into hiring individuals familiar in implementing digital marketing strategies and this has led the stream to become a preferred choice amongst individuals inspiring institutes to come up and offer professional courses in Digital Marketing.
A disadvantage of digital advertising is the large amount of competing goods and services that are also using the same digital marketing strategies. For example, when someone searches for a specific product from a specific company online, if a similar company uses targeted advertising online then they can appear on the customer’s home page, allowing the customer to look at alternative options for a cheaper price or better quality of the same product or a quicker way of finding what they want online.
Some companies can be portrayed by customers negatively as some consumers lack trust online due to the amount of advertising that appears on websites and social media that can be considered frauds. This can affect their image and reputation and make them out to look like a dishonest brand.
Another disadvantage is that even an individual or small group of people can harm image of an established brand. For instance Dopplegnager is a term that is used to disapprove an image about a certain brand that is spread by anti-brand activists, bloggers, and opinion leaders. The word Doppelganger is a combination of two German words Doppel (double) and Ganger (walker), thus it means double walker or as in English it is said alter ego. Generally brand creates images for itself to emotionally appeal to their customers. However some would disagree with this image and make alterations to this image and present in funny or cynical way, hence distorting the brand image, hence creating a Doppelganger image, blog or content (Rindfleisch, 2016).
Two other practical limitations can be seen in the case of digital marketing. One,digital marketing is useful for specific categories of products,meaning only consumer goods can be propagated through digital channels.Industrial goods and pharmaceutical products can not be marketed through digital channels. Secondly, digital marketing disseminates only the information to the prospects most of whom do not have the purchasing authority/power. And hence the reflection of digital marketing into real sales volume is skeptical
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