What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing encompasses the promotion of either products or brands via forms of digital media (including websites, apps and social media channels) platforms.
It is predicted that in the near future digital marketing will replace traditional marketing approaches altogether.
Why your business needs digital marketing
It is important to establish an online presence to reach your target audience where they are most active. With online platforms, you are able to have real-time engagement with consumers and build stronger brand relationships.
Customers expect convenience and instant access to information. You need to cater to their needs and demands to be competitive online. Consumers will always go for the easiest option online and you need to be right there front and centre. Your target market are now active internet users and are online irrelevant of time or place. There are no excuses to not having some type of digital marketing strategy implemented.
Digital marketing is cost effective. It is where your competitors are and you need to keep on trend. By using digital channels such as social media platforms, you can monitor your campaigns more effectively and demonstrate ROI (return-on-investment) more easily.
Being there when consumers conduct a Google search is imperative, or when they are browsing social media channels. You can capture their attention and drive engagement through display advertising, text ads and social advertising targeting.
South African consumers want to interact with brands and discuss their products in the online space, be it on forums or social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The reality is that traditional marketing is much more expensive and online marketing is cheaper and cost effective by comparison.
Current digital marketing trends
In South Africa, we are experiencing the rise of social web (or Web 2.0) where consumers are actively engaging, sharing and interacting with each other online. Current global trends include social media marketing, viral videos and marketing, brands personas and identities on social platforms, highly targeted social and paid advertising.
Internet growth is exponential and according to Internet World Stats (2016), there are currently 28,580,290 internet users in South Africa. It only makes sense for a business to have a digital presence. Commercial businesses are taking interest in South Africa’s web potential and utilising online advertising. As Craig Wilson (2013) states in Online advertising to boom in SA: PwC:
“The South African Internet advertising market is forecast to generate revenues of R3,7bn in 2017, up from R1,2bn in 2012, a CAGR of 25,4%.”
Future digital marketing trends
The future of digital marketing is one of growth driven by technological innovation. We will see the convergence of technology where different device functionalities will be integrated into one singular device. Think of smartphones and tablets as prime examples. Consumer control will be far reaching as consumers have more power to project their opinions on social media.
Inevitably, Web 3.0 will become a reality where artificial intelligence and machine learning will become commonplace. Big data will be utilised for more personal experiences online. The field of digital marketing is always evolving and you will need to be aware of developments such as these.
In conclusion, digital media is far more versatile and quicker to distribute than more traditional marketing. However, don’t forget the place of traditional marketing in the greater scheme of things.
While it may be difficult to believe traditional marketing like flyers, billboards and newspaper advertising may be more broad-based in targeting, they’re still powerful tools. Your traditional marketing strategy must integrate your digital marketing plan of action. With both forms of marketing, your business will be a powerhouse.
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