Digital Marketing is growing and it is permeating every business practice. The integration of social media into marketing is reducing the cost of marketing communication and it is making it measurable, malleable and its impact, massive. As businesses continue to embrace social and digital marketing there are still challenges about its impact and relevance to the bottom-line. There is still a lot of fuzziness about what it is and isn’t.
Many people still think of digital marketing like any other traditional marketing methods, but fail to understand the fact that the dynamics of this terrain is totally different. Though digital marketing is producing tremendous results, most people are still concerned about the usage, commit blunders and later turn around to wonder why their investment in digital isn’t working. Here are some of the misconceptions I have encountered and my responses to them.
Digital marketing is not social media
Because social media erupted in a massive way, many still think digital marketing is just another way of describing “social media’’. While social media is an important aspect of
digital marketing but it is far broader than that. Digital marketing includes anything that makes use of smartphones, tablets, computers, game consoles, electronic billboards as well as radio and television. While social media is commanding a lot of marketing budgets and attention, there are several digital marketing techniques that make social media marketing small and limited.
Digital marketing is not all about advertising
Advertising is a major component of digital Marketing but it is not all about advertising. Digital Marketing consists of two parts; inbound and outbound marketing. Outbound is the regular push advertising tactics where the traditional methods of pushing advertising is taken online though in a different format, it also consist of inbound tactics which consist of soft selling by providing powerful and incisive comments that will help people develop an affinity for you and your products and brand. Like the Chinese Ying-Yang philosophy, businesses need to engage on a balance of both.
Social media marketing is free
Since people use social networking for business, there is this misconception that social media marketing is free. Social media use may be free. However, most social networks and applications looking for ways to monetize their platforms, normal and organic activities won’t just cut it anymore. A platform like Facebook limits the number of people your posts reach unless you dole out a token. Twitter now limits the features third party applications can use. These are because as the businesses grow, the investors are looking for ways to make the investment worth their while. Apart from social media, there are even tons of digital marketing and web application features that are also not free. Some digital tools may be free, but digital marketing isn’t. In fact, the time required to use and develop value form using digital and social tools isn’t free. Many marketing departments are becoming overloaded or passing off social media to interns because they underestimate the time it takes to learn and implement.
Digital Marketing is an expensive venture
One of the most powerful things digital brings into marketing is scalability. Digital and social media marketing may require some money but it shouldn’t cost the world. No matter what you have in your hands, you can use digital and social media to achieve your goals. Even when you have no kobo, you can leverage digital tools and technology to your advantage. Money improves your access to premium tools and features, provides the company with more ways to get things done and to compensate the consultant and marketer for his time, services and efforts. Some have YouTube channels with high-definition videos and animation, some use their smartphones. Digital Marketing can be as expensive as you want it to become- depending on depth, reach and quality.
Digital marketing is technical and it is for techies
Technology provides you a platform to achieve your goal and therefore only requires your basic understanding to get things done. Digital marketing is a marketing skill not a technical one. While it requires techies to develop web applications in order to achieve their aims, the people who can navigate the simple stuff are the ones who will take advantage of the system. If someone had told you about twenty years ago that it is possible for an uneducated farmer to use a phone and a Bank Card, you would have said it is impossible. The people who shy away from technology because it is complex will eventually some to use it later and it may be too late.
Digital marketing is for junior staff
Because of the need to acquire new skills, most companies allocate social and digital marketing to the junior staff, leaving them to either swim or sink in the murky and rapidly evolving world of digital communications. That young people understand the use of these tools for personal use does not mean it translates into organizational efficiency. Digital affects the very core of your business operations and you therefore need to scale the relevance up the ladder. More and more organizations are coming to realize digital marketing as core to their business operations because a website is not just an information online, it is your shop’s window to the world and every communication coming out of it needs to be monitored and the response of the market to your activities also need to be carefully studied. If your company’s personality and effectiveness will be judged on their presence and interaction, you need someone with the right skill handling it.
Digital marketing is not relevant when the target audience is older
I hear this a lot – our target audience is not there. Apart from the fact that according to Social Bakers, a global analytics software, the number one reason why people are leaving Facebook is because their parents are joining in. Digital has invaded the lives of everyone including adults. While the rate of adoption may be slower for them it is by no means still effective for reaching digital migrants. Ok, those born into the use of digital tools and technology are digital natives while the generation that has to unlearn and re-learn what they are used to in the past are digital migrants. The majority of older adults may not be speaking our lingos, but they are getting around with the use of these tools.
Digital marketing takes up too much time
Ok but even all marketing takes time and it should be considered as an investment. However digital marketing is one of the least time intensive tools. There is an abundance of tools to ensure things are automated and does not require your attention except things get a bit too complicated. You website for example is always up and does a lot of your marketing for you; your presence and response is only needed when you to access these tools on the go and at anywhere. You don’t have to spend all your time online to make it a success
Digital marketing is not relevant to small businesses
I’d say digital marketing is more a big win for the small business than big corporates. It gives you access to the same tools and technology big brands use and gives you leverage to operate like a big corporation. It empowers you to market your prospects through leads management software. It allows you to sell directly to you customers with or without a brick and mortar shop. It allows you to engage, research and communicate with your customers about their preferences. Digital marketing gives small businesses the tools which, in the past, were only available to businesses with big budgets.
As a small company you can react on social media in minutes and tailor messages for local customers that will engage them. This is something that large businesses often struggle with, when even a tweet has to go through numerous approval processes and are often written centrally.
In conclusion, like with any business, the aim of digital marketing is to generate revenue. The idea is to use strategies that will best serve the interests of the company, while keeping the mindset of the customer in mind.