It was the year 2007 when smartphones began to take over the world. When the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs first announced the iPhone, he set out to launch one of the most revolutionary devices of our time, combining three separate tools (an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator) into one device that fits in the palm of your hand.
At the time, Steve was condemned by tech journalists and CEOs for being too ambitious at launching a touchscreen phone without a stylus. Nokia, a company that owned almost half of the smartphone market at 49.4%, went with a “wait and see approach”, doubting whether the iPhone’s groundbreaking features would actually be possible to execute on a phone. Little did they know that Steve’s move to mass-produce a feature-rich device that even a grandma could use would be the catalyst to bring the world into a new era— an era of digital transformation.
Today, Nokia owns under 1% of the global smartphone market share.
Fast forward a couple years later, the world is now an entirely different place. Planning to read up on the latest news? You go to Facebook. Need to check how much is left in your savings account? Just open up your banking app. Planning to buy a new table for your front porch? You’ll find it in either eBay or Amazon (or Lazada and Shopee for SEA markets) and have it delivered the very next day.
Everything you need is just a couple of taps away, thanks to the digital transformation revolution brought in by smartphones and the internet.
But with everything moving towards digital, it’s easy to see small (and even large) businesses still struggle to keep up with the times. Walk five minutes around a mall and you’ll still find credit card agents run up at you to sign you up. Although it’s wise to show up where your customers hang around, digital marketing on a social network of over a billion people still beats foot traffic of a hundred, way, way more.
As old businesses struggle to adapt to this new normal of digital marketing, their knee-jerk reaction is to take everything they’re doing offline and find a digital counterpart for posting it on the internet. Are you a newspaper or magazine outlet? Just turn it into a blog and slot in a couple of head-scratching pop-ups. Heavy on TV ads? Just post in on YouTube and call it a day.
But what these businesses fail to see is that digital marketing opens up vast new possibilities of making their campaigns (and business) work— from finding out which places their brand reaches, to how their ads turn people into actual customers, these avenues open up once businesses understand that digital marketing is not just about posting content on social media, it’s about embracing a data-driven marketing approach and making the data you gather work for you.
Be Where Your Customer Are
A decade ago, if you said that a tiny screen in your hand could do everything, from sending mail to anywhere across the world, to gaining access to a billion videos at just a push of a button, people would call you crazy. And yet, digital transformation has shaped the world we live in right now.
Over 5.15 billion people around the world own smartphones, with 4.57 billion people, or 59% of the entire world, are currently connected to the internet.from the Global Digital Overview by datareportal.com
As of July 2020, 3.96 billion of these people are active social media users. Connecting with loved ones thousands of kilometers away has become easier with just a couple of taps and keyboard strokes. With users spending an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes a day on social media, it’s easy to understand why digital marketing has become the new battleground for businesses to jump into to find their next batch of customers.
But with new online trends popping up and changes happening at breakneck speed, businesses get easily overwhelmed with where to start, or whether or not they should start at all. Most times, they end up trying everything at once, then fold up once they see that a couple boosted posts on Facebook don’t convert into customers.
Addressing your customers’ hesitations not only makes your content more engaging, but it also loosens up leads during the sales process.
What they fail to understand though is that what works for one brand might not work for theirs, so directly duplicating other people’s tactics might end up moot for your own digital marketing efforts.
Instead of wasting your ad budgets on a shotgun approach to marketing online, the best way to move forward is actually through a slow, steady, targeted data-driven marketing approach to rolling out your first campaigns— especially for small businesses with low starting budgets.
A Data-Driven Marketing Approach vs. Mad Men Style of Advertising
Gone are the days of shouting flashy Mad Men taglines from the top of your lungs. What used to be a battle of showering your brand across billboards and print has now become a battle for attention on digital screens. Knowing which channels to start your digital marketing efforts on becomes the difference between scaling to thousands of customers or losing thousands of pesos on ads.
It’s a good thing that digital marketing enables advertisers visibility to a critical component that offline media can only dream of having— raw, hard, data. Imagine being able to track how many people saw your billboard as they drove past it, or if these people actually end up buying your product. That in itself is the magic of digital marketing.
Access to data such as how people respond to your brand messaging, or something as simple as whether your brand colors capture the attention of potential customers, enables data-driven marketing approaches on where to push your campaigns forward, or which aspects of your business need to change.
Free data analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel gives you access to insights or learnings that enable you to go past blind assumptions on what your market might want and steer you towards the basics of whether you’re posting on the right social network, or whether you need to re-work your website to communicate your business better.
It’s Not Just Convenient, It’s Essential
In today’s current situation, whether you like it or not, embracing digital transformation is not just something you might be able to jump into “when you have the time”. With the COVID-19 pandemic not ending anytime soon, businesses that haven’t taken the time to work towards digital marketing have ended up downsized or bankrupt.
With stricter restrictions in place on travel and physical stores, businesses are cornered into a position of making their livelihoods work despite not being able to be physically present.
This has turned into an opportunity to get every entrepreneur with an internet connection on equal footing, with the US alone already expecting 7.4 million new digital buyers in 2020.
As dine-in restaurants close down left and right, a new wave of Instagram stores selling home-cooked meals have popped up all over the country. As more professionals lose their jobs from the current recession, a new revolution of online freelancers start accepting jobs from all over the world.
The world moves on with digital transformation— if juggernauts like Nokia can fall just by “waiting and seeing”, imagine how short you’d be waiting to see how it affects you?
Don’t want to wait and see how data-driven marketing and digital transformation can shape your business?
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