After what seemed like a stuttering slow start, with a mere 0.1 per cent penetration till 1998, the last 10-12 years have been an exciting period for Internet in India. Internet penetration in the country stood at 8.5 per cent till 2010. Increased affordability of desktops and laptops in the last decade-and-a-half has proved to be a catalyst to the Internet growth explosion. The mobile Internet phenomenon has further popularised ‘online’ by making it the most important medium for information, communication and entertainment.
This medium offers many exciting benefits for a marketer amongst others.
Targeting niche markets with precision: Online marketing offers a demographic platform to help target niche markets with precision and measure the response from market specific demographics and regions. It allows targeting consumer demographics most likely to buy the products/ services. Equipped with this, one can discover exactly who the customers are, their ages, interests – this information helps fine-tune services to suit customer needs and requirements.
There are more new-age ways of targeting customers other than demographics alone, namely:
(a) Geo-location / IP-Based Targeting
(b) Contextual targeting
(c) Behavioral targeting
Easy to Track | Measure Conversion / ROI: Each and every action taken online can be tracked, which could give lots of insights into traffic growth, leads and sales conversions from the search marketing campaigns. One can also predict, project and easily calculate return on investment (ROI) to evaluate the value of overall marketing programme.
Speed of execution | Real-Time results: Online advertising is much faster to execute and can start delivering ads to a wider audience. One can also experience real-time results that help to fine-tune marketing messages to achieve the desired effect. If the marketing strategy isn’t working effectively, real-time monitoring tools help pin-point exactly where things are not right and corrective action can be taken immediately.
Better branding | Easy audience engagement: Any form of advertising helps in improving branding and online advertising stands a notch above in improving brand building efforts through a higher engagement quotient. Online advertisement makes it easy for the audience to engage with your ads or products. As an advertiser, one would be able to get more feedback from the audience and thereby improve the quality of ads going forward.
Global marketing | Reach without boundaries: Online advertising gives ads a wider coverage and this global reach helps in making the advertisements reach out to more audiences, thereby leading to better results.
No other marketing medium can take the advertising message to a global scale like the online medium. Online marketing has the advantage of selling to customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and from all over the country!
Lower operation cost | Human-styled online relationships: Extremely cost effective to reach a wider range of audience across geographical locations. More people are joining the online bandwagon, thanks to the social network revolution. And they can be communicated via social media channels or live chat. All this translates into more flexible roaming human-like relationships, and they just make more sense.
Easily refine your strategy | Long-term exposure: Using online marketing analytics and tracking tools, one can test conversion rates at a fraction of the cost as compared to a traditional media campaign. If the marketing strategy is not bringing in the desired return on investment (ROI), one can work to perfect it without having to launch an expensive new campaign as would be required with most traditional media vehicles.
The benefit of an organic search marketing campaign that optimises a website for specific keywords is that you will achieve a long-term return on your investment. Once the website’s visibility is well-established with search engines, it is easy to do regular low-cost maintenance of your strategy.
(Deep Kalra is Founder & Chief Executive Officer, makemytrip.com.)
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