The internet has forever changed the culture of social interaction and marketing practices have had to evolve accordingly. Traditional methods, while still in practice, fall remarkably behind new digital processes in terms of footprints, customer outreach, and – most crucially, from a business point of view – cost-efficiency.
Traditional marketing methods, such as advertising in print media and television, suffer drawbacks because there are no surefire ways of measuring the success of an advertising campaigns. For example, Neilsen Media Research in the United States measures audiences for different media, such as television, radio and newspapers and remains of the largest media research companies in the world. Despite this, Neilsen largely relies on analyzing a subsection of randomly selected households through provided meter devices or “viewer diaries”, where the volunteering audience members self-report their viewing habits. Compare this to how a digital media company is able to accurately develop patterns for how users navigate the internet, using features like page views and clicks which can be easily logged and analyzed. The effectiveness of a TV or print ad campaign may take a long while to ascertain, and it is harder still to analyze the influence of individual factors of the media campaign. In contrast, the reactions to a video on YouTube, such as views, comments, likes, and other easily available analytics, are available immediately.
As digital marketing is immediately responsive, it is also more customer interactive. Using Facebook or Twitter to launch campaigns allows businesses to cater directly to the customer. Radiohead, for example, famously pioneered a pay-what-you-want approach to record distribution for their album “In Rainbows” in 2007. Many pop-culture phenomenons, such as the Harry Potter books and the Marvel Cinematic Universe among others, have utilized internet geek culture to hype up their products and develop a personal connection with their “fandoms”.
Digital is also largely synonymous with “paperless”. The cost-effectiveness of digital campaigns over print campaigns is highly significant, even more so when error correction is taken into account – a newspaper waits until the next edition to address an error, while a website can correct in real-time. Social media is also a versatile toolkit which requires significantly less resources. This has given birth to the “internet celebrity” phenomenon. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are free and easy to use. Individuals can mount successful campaigns and create a “brand” for themselves, cutting out middlemen such as distributors. There is even a lower demand for campaign testing – the audience is always live and ever eager to interact, leading to strategies being tested and analyzed in real time.
Digital marketing has evolved the ways of customer interaction with the brands offering an entirely new experience. While traditional marketing campaigns will remain vital for the foreseeable future, mostly due to lack of internet access in the poorer parts of the world, the fast paced and ever evolving landscape of digital marketing has only more growth to look forward to.