Sometimes too much emphasis is laid on the ‘digital’ in digital marketing. And that’s the root of the failure of so much digital marketing.
Too many digital marketers just don’t understand this basic fact. And that is why so many campaigns are nothing but the waste of good money.
I have seen builders spend millions on digital marketing agencies and getting no tangible benefits excepts ‘likes’! And they were happy with the page likes.
The agencies typically hire ravishing young girls to be their Client Relationship Managers so it is difficult for most men to notice that they are basically being duped!
And then there is the jargon – Is it SEO? Or SEM? Or Social Media marketing? Or blogging?
What is digital marketing?
Do you wonder if digital marketing is the right thing for you? Maybe you are a businessman and you wonder if it will help you to market your own products? Or perhaps you’ve tried with some local digital marketer – maybe they charged you 20-30,000 bucks a month, and posted 2-3 posts a week on Facebook and Instagram, showed you the growing number of likes? And then you realised that your sales had not increased! So you stopped. And went back to the old ways?
In this article, I hope to clear some of the air around this topic and help of you get the most out of digital marketing.
One thing I must stress is this – it is not about whether to use this social media or that; to use Google Ad Words or Facebook Ads.
The key is to form an INTEGRATED digital marketing strategy. This article should help you think of integrated digital marketing as a fine symphony of all its components, each playing its role to make the whole, resonate, resound and reverberate.
But although digital is important, I am going to speak more about the marketing part of digital marketing.
Tools and Media may change but the principles of marketing remain the same.
You must always focus on people and on understanding what makes them tick.
I like sales and marketing because it’s about people.
Selling is fun because you can make people happy by selling them something that they need or want.
I have never believed in selling something to someone that they do not need or want as some scamsters do. There is no thrill in deception. There is no satisfaction nor enjoyment in fooling people.
Selling is like a contest. In any meeting, a sale always happens. But it’s not the sales guy who always makes the sale. Sometimes the customer succeeds in convincing the sales guy that his product is not good enough or cheap enough, etc.
The secret to making a successful sale was always uncovering what the customers need or want; sometimes the need was explicit which meant that the person knew that he needed it, but more often it was implicit. Even the customer was not aware that he needed it.
Like when I was selling insurance.
Insurance is something everyone ought to have. In that sense, it is very much a need.
But most people do not feel the need for it.
Why? Because the benefits are usually received only after the insured person has passed away!
In that sense, it was also a delicate, touchy topic.
Most of our teachers or trainers taught us to use ourselves as examples when making a pitch so as to not offend the prospective customer.
So, we would say, Sir, suppose something (God forbid) were to happen to me(not you- the customer) — what would my aged parents get? What would happen to my wife? Kids? etc.
This would usually leave the prospect unmoved. I mean, do you think he gave a damn about what happened to my parents if I passed away? Obviously, he didn’t.
But one day I met an insurance advisor who had qualified for the highest award in insurance sales, Top of the Table.
There are a few top-level awards in insurance starting with Million Dollar Round Table, Court of the Table and Top of the Table. These are the highest levels an insurance advisor can attain.
Obviously, a person who attains these levels is among the finest salespersons in the world because selling insurance is considered to be the toughest sell in the world.
Now, this man, when talking to his prospects would flatly say, “If you were to suddenly expire, your widow would be completely distraught and helpless. Would you really like to see her not just emotionally devastated but also financially destitute and vulnerable?”
Can you imagine what would go through the prospect’s mind when he heard this? The use of the word ‘widow’ would paint an instant picture of how life would be for his wife after his demise.
The result? The cheque would usually be signed within minutes!
Why? The implicit need became a felt need!
I said all this basically to illustrate a key aspect of digital marketing and marketing in particular.
Digital is just the means. What we are doing is marketing. And this is based on timeless principles.
You have to communicate with your prospect.
You have to speak in a language that he understands.
You have to understand his needs.
You have to make him understand that you understand.
He must see that you understand his feelings.
Emotions are important, very important. Every sale involves emotions.
Building a rapport with your customer is vital. Rapport means trust.
You cannot build trust if you are in a hurry to sell and take the man’s money.
In fact, if your eyes are on the man’s wallet or chequebook, he will sense it and will immediately become defensive.
Now let us understand The Law of Marketing.
Not Laws. Just Law.
Marketing starts before creating the product.
When I was working in real estate, I first researched the market, the size of units being constructed by other builders, the price points, the amenities, need for balconies, car parks, the profile of customers who were choosing to live in that locality, their reasons for choosing that particular area, future development potential, etc.
Based on my research and market survey, I advised my principals to go in for 2BHK and 3 BHK units with certain amenities that were highly in demand or on the wishlist of the customers. The architect then created the plans and designed the units accordingly.
I prepared stories (sales pitch) for different customer profiles/personas so that each would feel this project is best suited for his needs. I prepared stories for end-users, families and investors.
These stories correspond to copywriting in digital marketing. It had to be simple, crisp and direct. It had to address the customer’s needs.
As a result, the moment I announced to the world that we were launching a project in that area, I started getting bookings immediately!
In fact, I had to sit in a tin shed meant for the watchmen of the site and collect cheques!
By the time our sales office was ready I had already got 300 bookings!
The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.
That’s the dream result.
The purpose of marketing is to build a brand and to build trust. Trust, confidence and goodwill have to be associated with the brand and logo.
All this is based on the foundation of a good product.
Without a good product, marketing will not work for long.
With a good marketing campaign, one may get customers to buy once but after experiencing the product the word-of-mouth (W.o.M) will begin. And if the product is bad or poor, the W.o.M will spread everywhere and no amount of marketing will turn that tide unless one goes back and reinvents the product.
A good product will convert your customer into your brand ambassadors or your sales assistants. They will speak for you and you will get customers without doing anything.
Referrals are the most powerful way of getting customers.
But they don’t happen overnight. And certainly not without a good product or service.
Advertising is one of the components of marketing. Similarly, copywriting and sales are also components of marketing.
All these components have to be meshed together to build a strong brand. The aim should not be to become Number 1, but to be the ONLY 1!
Communication is the key to attaining the goals above.
Communication is not about verbosity.
It’s not about vocabulary. Flowery language will not get you far.
Shashi Tharoor is great in his place, but Modi gets more votes. Like it, or not. 🙂
Copy Writing has to be natural.
It has to be as if you are speaking to the other person.
Yes, not to many people but to one person.
Even if millions of people read, remember each is alone.
Each person who reads reads it alone.
And so, he or she must feel that the conversation is private between her and you.
Secondly, you must join the conversation that is already going on in her mind.
So, you are not an intruder into her mind or thoughts but a fellow traveller.
People are constantly having conversations in their heads, Naturally, most of those conversations relate to their own problems, aspirations, desires, fears, worries and needs.
Please note that the above are also the reasons behind most purchases!
You must join these conversations to be able to sell.
Economics and Digital Marketing
Another fascinating and important point is to base your strategy on economics.
Not many digital marketers think like this. They hardly ever see the picture this big!
Economics will help you see the big picture; no use being simply penny wise!
One can obtain very useful insights that could mean the difference between success and failure simply by studying the macro-economic scenario concerning the particular product or service that is to be promoted.
Yes, ideally that would be the responsibility of the client. But when you as a digital marketer think for the client, you will stand apart from the rest! You will quickly establish yourself as an authority and be in great demand.
Some facts worth noting are:
- India’s wealth is concentrated in roughly 23 million households, comprising about 110 million individuals.
- Amazon Prime has about 12–15 million subscribers.
- About 20–25 million people are online shoppers.
- Thus, one has an addressable market of about 35–50 Million until 2025.
- These are people who earn over Rs.5 Lac per annum. They’re probably going to constitute the bulk of your customers as they are the ones who have the money to purchase the products or services that you will promote.
- Most of these people are found in the top 10 cities of India. Typically, they would be owners of an automobile, laptop or PC and holding at least one credit card.
When you want to design a digital marketing campaign, keep economics in mind and do some homework before you begin.
Traditional Marketing Vs Digital Marketing
One must know when to use traditional marketing and when to resort to digital marketing.
Traditional marketing via TV ads can reach approximately 197 million homes, compared to the 110 million people that could be reached by digital marketing.
So, if you’re looking at reaching the masses, traditional marketing might be the best way to do it. For example, if you wanted to market Aadhaar, it wouldn’t make much sense to use digital marketing!
But when you are targeting a demographic that is hidden in the larger population, digital marketing may be the best way.
Of course, if someone came to you with a big budget and wanted to use digital marketing for a product that was best suited for traditional marketing, you might find it difficult to say No! 🙂
First, you have to attract people to your content; this is where creativity plays it’s vital, albeit, limited role.
Once they come and view the content and like it, they will want to get more. That’s when you offer them a chance to sign up for regular updates or new messages. Thus they opt-in and get added to your email list.
You must make certain that you send them content on a regular basis.
Ensure that the content is fresh, original and simple but helpful to the reader. As they benefit from the content, they will begin to trust you and become willing to listen to you.
Once this stage is reached you may begin to offer them a product or service that is relevant to them in line with the content you have been sending them.
This means if you have been writing about smartphones you should not ask them to buy a motor car — offer them a smartphone!
This brings us to the end — Personal Branding.
Remember people relate to people.
Your readers want to hear from a person — who is that person? You have to build your client’s image to build the brand.
Nobody will be thrilled getting an email from Apple, but they will put up an email from Apple’s CEO on the wall in a special golden frame!
This is why personal branding is so important.
A strong personal brand means they listen when you speak.
The value of a personal brand is incalculable. Although you cannot sell it nor get someone to invest in it yet you can definitely monetize it.Deepak Kanakraju
A personal brand can be used to influence the impact of other brands created by your companies. You can be a brand ambassador for them or even for other companies.
Amitabh Bachchan has created a personal brand that is now worth several crore rupees. Other brands pay crores to Mr. Bachchan to have him endorse their product or service or become their brand ambassador.
A personal brand will stand for certain values.
It has connotations in the minds of the people that cannot be quantified yet they are powerful.
For example, both Mr. Bachchan and Mr. Ranveer Singh are actors and stars in their own right. Yet they will rarely be found endorsing the same products. That is because their brands represent different things to people. Ranveer’s brand exudes more of a fun, mischievous and unorthodox flavor whereas Mr. Bachchan’s brand is more solid, sober and sophisticated.
As you would have realized, celebrities, sportsmen, actors and others achieve success in their own domains but their brand becomes valuable in other spheres also. There are not respected or influential only in their own domains.
A star footballer pushes a certain carbonated drink away and the shares of that company fall within hours! What does the star footballer know about the company, about business or about stocks? Nothing, probably. Yet he is such a powerful and influential brand that his smallest action can have such a huge impact.
Your client’s personal brand will reflect certain values. It will have its own particular flavour. You have to decide what that will be.
And the best part is — you can!
These are just some of the critical elements of an effective digital marketing campaign.