Build relationships, not links - Content to Pace up Indian Digital Marketing Space

on Monday 26 December 2016
“Build relationships, not links,” says Scott Wyden Kivowitz who wants to be known as the community and blog wrangler, a father and an educator than just an ace photographer – his principle vocation. Kivowitz believes that his abilities are heterogeneous hence appropriate for a cross-channel consumption through an ideal digital marketing method. Perhaps there is a robust lesson for Indian digital marketers here; if you have a great digital content, reach out to as many potential customers as possible through the centimane of cross-channel marketing.

The country is on the cusp of an exponential growth in the digital space, fueled by the rising Internet usage via smartphones and other mediums of access. According to Internet Live Stats, as of now, India has over 46 crore Internet users, the second biggest base in the world after China. However, given the major digital push by the Government, this is likely to touch over 730 million in 2020 with much of the spike coming from rural areas, says a report by Nasscom and Akamai Technologies. Rural consumers are consuming data in local languages thus allaying fears that some of the marketing campaigns would not make sense in India’s remote areas since these are in English.

Then comes the channelizing of disposable incomes; India is expected to have mobile wallet market size of Rs 30,000 crore by 2022 as against Rs 154 crore this fiscal. As the banking customer base grows, the growth of credit and debit cards would go up significantly (from 2.70 crore credit cards and 7.6 crore debit cards in November 2016). India now boasts of the second largest internet population at 462 million users and is now the largest smartphone market in the world.

With the Govt giving an aggressive push to projects like Digital India, more and more are moving online to conduct key activities from reading news to banking and shopping using credit cards. As per Google data, 90% of the online users switch between devices to complete a single task, using at least three devices per day. While such an uneven behavior makes tracking and attribution difficult, it also hands out a huge opportunity to launch cost effective marketing brainwaves, using inviting content and advantageous channels.

Indian Campaigns Hit Cross-Channel Favor

There are several positive examples of cross-channel utilization of digital marketing by corporates in India; Amazon India’s `Aur Dikhao’ digital campaign was rolled across a plethora of channels even as it was complimented by a TV campaign during IPL 8. The much-lauded creative content rightly played on the Indian sensibility to `see more and more before buying’, but it was ideally leveraged across cross-channel. For example, on YouTube, it gained over 1.2 million views in few days as the buzz built around the hashtag #AurDikhao started showing conversions.

Land Rover did something more dramatic world-wide, picking up valuable inputs from social media where car buyers were actively seeking inputs. The company reached out to these potential shoppers on all their devices at every point in the purchasing funnel through several optimal ways – from a homepage masthead takeover on YouTube to a masthead in Lightbox ads across the Google Display Network. It added every tool to exploit the visibility on mobile phones. The result – 100 million impressions in no time and 15% of total sales from online leads.

There are several brilliant case studies to vindicate cross-channel exploitation hence Indian corporations, regardless of size, scale or budget, now prioritise cross-channel integration of marketing activities, followed by the selection of channel mix. To build an effective digital marketing campaign, here are few guidelines:

Narrative of Digital Marketing Expands

Digital marketing broadly describes marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet though mobile phones, display advertising and all emerging digital media which can be clubbed under this definition. As the power of new media grows to disperse personal, valid and timely messages, digital platforms – from SEOs and SEMs on the Net to call back and on-hold ring tones on mobiles - are being incorporated into marketing plans.

Given such huge diversity, to succeed, optimal digital marketing strategies today need greater involvement and innovation at the cross-channel marketing level. Marketers are under pressure to constantly and swiftly grasp what channels, what type of content and what delivery format could thrive. Thanks to the much-evolved cross-channel marketing, using data and learning gathered from a sphere of consumer interfaces, today marketers can implement digital marketing efforts to logical conclusion. Let us examine the pre-requisites for the execution:

Build Content to be Fully Exploited by the Digital Strategy

One oft-repeated limitation of the traditional marketing route is that it `talks at people’ whereas digital content marketing `talks with them’. Consultancy firm, McKinesy envisages that digital advertising will be the fastest-growing global advertising segment over the next five years at 15% till 2018 as against 5% for electronic media. The beauty of digital marketing lies in its simplicity of publishing a variety of content formats though the quality of the content and its presentation would decide its universal appeal.

Content is king if it’s digital: As successful corporates would vouch, the challenge in building an integrated digital marketing plan lies in creation, repurposing, amplification and syndication of the content which that will work across all your digital channels. And those who have made it big in the digital space have done it by pushing a resounding message through the following maze:
  • Organic search
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Email marketing
  • Display advertising
  • Social media
  • Videos
  • Events
  • Speaking engagements
  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • e-books
  • White papers
A successful campaign is also the one that has harmoniously integrated online and offline campaigns to maximize the reach and impact across PR, TV, radio and print as well. Combining digital and traditional advertising strategies is an even bigger task but with tremendous rewards.

Channel Optimization, Data Treatment to Influence Results

By definition, cross channel marketing is the practice of using multiple channels to reach customers and making it easy for them to use (and convert) whatever medium they are most comfortable with. Despite good content, many great campaigns fail to pass the muster when marketers do not run a well-integrated campaign, often due to poor understanding of optimal channels to do so or the failure to appreciate the requisite business impact. Thus, campaigns across multi-channels can produce better results - if the data thus generated - gets monitored diligently.

Understand the power of each channel to convert: It is said that if the content is king, then conversion is the queen; thus, it is critical to understand which channels would spearhead the strategy, leading to greater business impact. One should strive for a perfect balance between chosen technology and its cross-channel attribution modelling to identify where, how and when different channels would impact each other. Simultaneously, a smart marketer must comprehend micro nuances of the target audience, using diverse sets of primary as well as tertiary data. The data digestion – using both historical and real-time data – would not only identify the right channels but the right type of digital content as well.

Tools to Measure Progress and Success

Technology, analytical integrations and greatly refined data points today assist and guide marketers in gauging actual results of digital marketing efforts while content performance parameters help them sharpen or refashion the content. In fact, many CMOs seek accurate measurements from multiple customer touch points to generate a progressive cross channel marketing strategy. Gauging the efficacy of campaigns can be done through few predefined set of tools/perspectives that would build on from a customer’s initial interface with a brand to his final purchase, giving valuable insights on customer expectations from a brand.

Align Digital to Collective Marketing Ethos

Often we hear CMOs blaming the `silo approach’ in an organisation for the failure of campaigns. When departments within an organization work in isolation or do not share useful and actionable data with others, multi-channel promotions can suffer unless these are duly integrated with the overall marketing. It is imperative to structure and optimise internal departments and digital talent to work towards a common goal. Managements must set up task centres to check and correct the effectiveness of multi-channel marketing efforts by compiling and sharing data from multiple channels and other numerous touch points for future marketing efforts.

Credit:The article is written by Kunal Tomar