TIPS AND TRICKS ON DIGITAL MARKETING
“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” – Bill Gates
Too often I hear business owners tell me that they don’t think they need to think and act digitally because it’s not relevant for their business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my upcoming book, Untangling the Web: Developing a Blueprint for Digital Marketing, I take a look at some of the myths surrounding digital marketing and why every business should stand up and take note.
Every business nowadays, big or small, needs to compete in a digitized market. More and more people in the world are using the internet to purchase services and products. Even a small-town mom-and-pop store catering to a local market needs a digital presence or it risks being outperformed by digitally savvy competitors.
Here are a few common myths surrounding online businesses, and why these beliefs are harming your business more than you realize.
Myth 1: Digital marketing is still a small, niche sector.
Let’s look at some figures. According to Statista, the projected global digital ad spending in 2018 will reach US$252.02 billion. In a study conducted by CMO Council in 2015, it was stated that “more than a third of Chief Marketing Officers say that digital marketing will account for 75% or more of their spending within the next five years.”
Both these numbers are astronomical and show that digital marketing is growing fast. According to another CMO survey, spending on digital marketing is predicted to grow 12% in the next year, while budgets for traditional (non-internet) advertising will fall two percent. Twenty-eight percent of marketers have reallocated their advertising budget to fund more digital marketing. These are not signs of a niche trend or a fad that will go away. These are signs of a new way of doing business.
Myth 2: Digital marketing is not effective in developing regions.
According to Internet World Stats, internet penetration in Asia as of 2015 was more than 40%, and 1.6 billion people in Asia are using the internet. In Africa, there are more than 300 million internet users, and this number is rapidly growing.
Digital marketing does have a place in developing markets. Take the internet platform company Rocket Internet, for instance. They have successfully implemented digital marketing tactics to build formidable brands such as Lazada and Zalora in South East Asia, Jabong in India, Namshi and Wadi in the Middle East, Jumia in Africa, Linio in Latin America and many more all over the world. Rocket’s businesses are built and scaled up using a strong foundation of digital marketing tactics such as SEO, paid ads, email marketing and retargeting. These companies have left traditional businesses far behind in terms of brand recognition and engagement in developing countries.
Myth 3: Digital marketing will only matter in the future.
As we’ve seen, digitalization of businesses is happening right now. It is estimated that in 2016, digital ad spending will be around 35% of the total ad spend on all channels. In a few years we will likely see it overtake spending on traditional marketing channels.
Digital marketing is also a hotbed of all the innovation and methodology development that is happening in marketing today, and the landscape is evolving rapidly. If your business doesn’t start its digital marketing journey now, it might be too late to catch up later.
Myth 4: Digital marketing is not relevant for my small business.
Small businesses have as much to gain from digital marketing – and arguably even more – as big businesses do. The internet is a great equalizer and gives the same market access and the same branding opportunities to everyone, no matter their size. In fact, many industry experts are starting to wonder whether the era of large, multi-billion-dollar global brands which have a homogenous look and feel is coming to an end. Take, for example, the craft beer movement: independent brands now comprise 20% of the global beer industry, something that has been achieved through product innovation and digital marketing.
Given its greater return on investment (ROI), digital marketing offers a more effective marketing solution to small businesses with limited marketing budgets. With some creativity and smart planning, small businesses have a chance to seed and grow a loyal customer base. Thousands of small businesses have benefited from digital platforms like Alibaba, Amazon, Etsy, Flipkart and Lazada, and thousands more have created their own digital presence using Shopify, for instance. Digital marketing can help you build a bespoke digital brand presence on online commercial platforms with great success.
Myth 5: Digital marketing is not relevant for my industry.
Let’s look at the some of the most unlikely industries disrupted by digital technology. The eye-care industry, it was once said, could never go digital as it involves a lot of physical interaction with experts, and people like to try on frames. In 2010, a company called Warby Parker challenged this assumption. They started with a great line-up of products, an amazing user-experience and reasonable prices, but offered something none of their competitors were: home try-on, by shipping five sets of frames which customers could test out for five days and then either keep or return. Users could even post photos on social media with the different frames and ask for help, and the company would respond with their suggestions.
Warby Parker operate mostly online and sell directly to their customers, which helps lower costs, and their supply chain works like a charm, with quick delivery and easy returns. By 2014, they had sold more than a million pairs of sunglasses. In April 2015, the company was valued at US$1.2 billion.
A similar assumption was made about the footwear industry, but in 1999 a company called Zappos started selling shoes online and forced traditional shoe retailers to rethink their business models. Zappos was acquired by Amazon just ten years later for US$1.2 billion.
There are many such examples of digital marketing changing the fortunes of businesses – elevating those who embrace it towards greater market reach and wider acceptance. What have you been waiting for? Learn more about the power of digital marketing through my book Untangling the Web: Developing a Blueprint for Digital Marketing, releasing in September. Sign up to stay in the news!