Very little was known about digital marketing prior to the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. For those that believed in the internet, they saw an effective online presence as nothing more than having a website with some words and a picture or two. From the early 2000s, businesses took a step further to proactively market their latest products and services digitally - though usually one-directional - through techniques such as mass emailing.
These methods may have worked then, but smart devices have disrupted the technology scene ever since the first iPhone was launched in 2007. Today, consumers are less inclined to check their emails on the go; instead, they access social networks such as Facebook and are exposed not just to the pages they've liked, but also whatever's trending in their social circles. Based on the assumption that an individual and his/her friends share similar interests, efficiency is increased when a product or service is marketed in such a manner via social media. Just in case you’re wondering, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of digital marketing.
In any business, it is crucial to be able to reach out to the correct audience. By doing so, the effectiveness of marketing initiatives are increased tremendously. Through digital channels, marketers today can choose from a vast array of demographic options such as age, location, interests etc. Such abilities are likened to precision bombing in a military sense as opposed to carpet bombing that is reflective of traditional marketing.
In addition, statistics of a digital campaign can be tracked in real-time with data readily available on online platforms. This allows businesses to constantly refine their initiatives, hence increasing the level of receptivity and chances of conversion from a prospect to a customer.
Of course, such an increase in marketing effectiveness does come with downsides too. As compared to traditional methods, digital marketing is a new concept to many and tends to be far greater in complexity. As a result, digital agencies have emerged in recent times to fill this gap between marketers and technology.
In most cases, the role of the digital agency will begin with the development of digital strategy, followed by actual execution (consisting design, copywriting, development etc.) of the project.
To come up with an appropriate digital strategy, the agency will first need to know who exactly your target market is. Demographics that are as specific as age, location, interests etc have to be made known to them so they can plan for ads to be placed before those who are the likeliest to make an enquiry or purchase. Many may wonder how such specific reach is actually possible, but this is a blatant example of the potential of digital marketing.
Once a target market is established, the agency will look into the most appropriate digital channels to be used for the business’s purpose. For example, a fashionable clothing brand reaching out to youths will benefit from ad campaigns on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram. On the other hand, a company that focuses on a niche trade such as industrial automation will benefit more from techniques such as search engine optimisation or paid search marketing. There are a wide variety of digital channels out there, and it will take a digital agency with sufficient experience and knowledge to select the right ones for any business.
In certain situations where results are of absolute importance, the client and agency will also choose to come up with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a digital marketing campaign. This can be in the form of followers of a social media page such as Facebook or the number of enquiries from a website.
With the great responsibilities they shoulder, especially in developed nations like Singapore, selecting a well established digital agency with the appropriate industry experience is of absolute importance. By leveraging on their expertise and resources, in-house marketers can certainly carve out that competitive edge for their brand or business in this digital world.