There has never been a better time to be a marketer than now. In the digital age, there is so much relevant data available to a marketer, that sending out the right message to the right audience is no longer about crafting a generic BUY message and placing it into the world. It is now about crafting the right, unique, timely and most importantly ‘relevant’ message to a particular person, that’s how up-close and personal, marketing has gotten.
The internet’s role in selling and marketing
The growing penetration of the internet in India (India has over 243 million internet users currently), means that it is probably the most efficient way of selling goods and services. With millions of new consumers being added through mobile internet on a daily basis, there is a captive audience and more importantly, a huge volume of user generated data that makes it a goldmine, waiting to be tapped. Consumers spend hours every day on the Internet and leave large amounts of digital footprints which can be mapped back to their behavior online, what they seek, what they read, how they choose to communicate etc. While these actions mirror their “real” world behavior, on the Internet this information can be collected, recorded, and analyzed. The Internet’s ubiquity has made it an inescapable tool for companies. The internet being a data mine, as well as a sales platform, can help brands reach out more effectively to its desired target audience, very often at a fraction of the cost of offline marketing.
Internet provides a better platform to build relationships with customers’ thus increasing customer retention level. For example, a leading private sector bank is strengthening the relationship with its customers by introducing a referral program where its customers can refer certain specific campaigns through their social networking profiles and get rewarded by the bank. The Bank came up with social media strategy as the new age customers expect to be serviced in the branch, by internet, mobile and they are also starting to expect the presence of banks over social networks.
Traditional marketing, losing ground
While marketing is still important for new client acquisition, retaining customer loyalty, building brand equity and of course retaining brand salience, the fact is, today’s consumers are bombarded with so many similar brand messages. The chance of your brand’s message getting through to an already saturated consumer is wafer thin at best. Secondly, brands have begun to seek a greater ROI on their media and marketing spends, which is where traditional marketing has been unable to deliver. One of the strongest indicators of the shift in paradigm from traditional marketing to digital is the fact that according to McKinsey, the collective digital media budgets of brands the world over, increased from $72 billion in 2010 to $102 billion in 2012 and is projected to increase further to $160 billion by 2016.
Data mining in the form of not just customer purchase records, but sociographic indicators like brand preference, interaction, loyalty and message efficacy can be mapped these days. So where at one point a marketer would have an idea of a customer’s spending habits, his/ her recency and frequency of purchase and those were the only indicators at his display, these days, a customer’s individual preference in the form of likes, shares and other indicative brand interaction matrices are available to marketers.
Social media has proven to be both an excellent platform for the acquisition of data and the ideal media vehicle for the display and dissemination of tailor made branding messages.
On Facebook alone, users share 30 billion pieces of content every month. More than 500 million tweets are shared on Twitter each day. Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. It can be left to ones imagination on the data that gets generated here. The problem of plenty is often a good one to have, the only thing though is that, with plentiful consumer data and statistics available to a marketer, the crafting of a BUY message and the placement of the same in the right kind of setting becomes very important.
While brands continue to collect data, having a technology platform to give access to this data in real time becomes pertinent to the success of the engagement. Various solutions are available in the market to support this technology.
For instance, eMart solutions’ proprietary technology platform called FirstHiveTM, that enables companies understand the online as well as offline behavior of their customers , map their footprints and their buying habits in real-time. Analytics delivered by FirstHiveTM gives businesses the critical capability to nudge to their consumers with relevant content, at the right time and via the right communication media to deliver incremental ROI.
Most insights for marketers traditionally are retrospective and rarely help them in navigating a live campaign towards better results. Brands not only get access to real-time data & insights but also to a never before capability to hyper personalize their consumer communication in real time.
This is further topped up with the capability to connect with the consumer in an omni-channel environment i.e. across browser, web, mobile app, sms, etc. – thereby delivering the desired impact on transactions & relationship equity. This helps marketer pinpoint not just the customer’s preference, but also predict where, when and how a customer can be primed to consume a brand’s marketing message. Big data lends digital marketing the cutting edge that traditional media lacked. It puts customer behavior into perspective and allows brand to deliver a super targeted message to a customer, or group of customers in order to increase exponentially the chances of customer retention.