A 6-point guide to a robust digital marketing plan

Guest Column: Anand A, the Regional Head (South), Big Trunk Communications, outlines how brands can craft a diversified digital marketing strategy

e4m by Anand A
Updated: Mar 27, 2020 4:34 PM
anand a

When an organization that understands its core value proposition and its customer’s DNA, digital marketing enables it to bridge this gap with contextual targeting and positioning. The result is that it drives business and enhances brand value.

Email campaigns, social media-based targeting and marketing, as well as online techniques to enhance search visibility and results are integral to digital marketing strategies.

However, technology and marketing don’t understand “status quo”. Its dynamic nature warrants that digital marketing units need to be constantly aware of the latest developments and leverage these options to get the best value for their own company or the companies they manage as an agency.

In the era of artificial intelligence, data analytics and new-age technologies, digital marketing strategy should be amply diversified.

Creating a diversified digital marketing strategy?

Are you mandated to create a diversified digital marketing strategy for your own company or for a client that you manage? A few important elements which are highly recommended are as below:

  1. Conversational Chatbots and Commerce driven by Artificial Intelligence:

Technology advisory firm Gartner had predicted that “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human”. We are already in 2020 and the prediction is not far from the truth today.

Chatbots leverage a human being’s preference of messaging apps and conversations over social media platforms that may not enable instant communication and engagement.

Chatbots can seamlessly integrate with websites, social media pages or the mobile app catering the company’s audience. It can enable customers to take a guided tour of the features of the product/ services of the company, resolve queries instantly, and purchase a product or avail a service.

Chatbots enable companies to address rule-based and redundant queries and enable its human capital to undertake more intelligent, analytical and value-adding tasks.

When Chatbots are enabled with artificial intelligence and natural language processing capabilities, it can enable companies to tap a wide range of audience and cut across language and demographic barriers. What’s more, it can remember each customer and their preferences and fine-tune conversations towards a purchase, thereby enhancing revenue growth. Chatbots will thus enable businesses to optimize costs on customer service, customer acquisition and engagement, and targeted messaging. It can also enable marketing teams to lower their cost of converting a prospect to a customer.

In the present situation which necessitates work from home due to the Coronavirus outbreak, chatbots would have managed any customer service queries seamlessly with minimum supervision hence ensuring business continuity. Businesses could also use intelligent bots to strike conversations about coronavirus with customers and keep them engaged during this tough phase to build a positive recall for their brands.

  1. Geo- Targeting and location-based marketing:

Digital natives and millennials form a large population of the target audience for most brands. They are almost always on the internet and their location details are available. This feature can empower brands to send messages to them when they are in the vicinity of their stores. The technology used here is “Beacons” which can transmit signals over a certain area and position products based on the geo-location.

Brands use this technology to promote their latest offers to customers walking by their stores. It enables brands to convert shoppers with offline preference to be tapped through the digital channel. Marketers can use them to promote offers in stores and can up-sell/ cross-sell at these outlets using this technology.

The most powerful attributes of using location-based marketing is the ability to target customers with rich intent at the point of sale. It also adds significantly to revenue generated from digital marketing activities and enables them to drive up the overall RoI for brands.

The Coronavirus related lockdown would mean that location-based marketing would be a difficult one to pull through. However, if data analytics of brands that use this strategy is strong enough to draw a co-relation and identify buying/ spending patterns of their customers, they could engage with customers during the lean period for pushing inventory digitally by offering steep discounts. They can delight the customer further by offering them the facility to get it delivered to their homes post the lockdown.

  1. Voice and Vernacular – Optimization for search

The power of voice enabled digital assistants, especially the ones that are built into smartphones, has led to a surge in voice-based searches. If trends are to be believed, more than 50% of searches will be voice-based in the coming year and most of these will not even have the mobile screen as an interface. For the millennial audience, voice-based search will be their way of life.

Hence, content needs to be developed in a more conversational fashion so that search algorithms are tuned to understand questions, natural language and their intent. Brands will also need to go multi-lingual to capture the plethora of audience as per demographics.

Local intent capturing is critical here as most questions will be for assistance in the neighbourhood to empower customers in their daily lives. It is critical to refine content published online by the brands and ensure that they explain products/ services in the form of featured snippets. These could be in the form of question and answers, conversations articles, videos etc. wherein results are in sync with the intent of the voice search or the vernacular voice search commands.

Voice and Vernacular (the 2V’s) can be the harbingers of Coronavirus awareness. India is a diverse country with multiple languages, dialects etc. The level of digital adeptness also leaves a lot to be desired. With voice search and vernacular being empowered, the awareness of good practices, necessary information, health tips, and symptoms identification could be managed digitally. Thus, the two V’s can complement the entire healthcare system and empower a more efficient fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

  1. Mobile marketing, In-App and Web Notifications

Most brands communicate with the user through their mobile apps. This enables the brands to get complete attention and mindshare of their customers. From servicing their queries, to engaging them through contests to making them purchase products directly, mobile marketing has been a game-changer for most brands.

Mobile marketing also enables brands to spend less on the distribution/ affiliate network and enables them to use the money spent for the same for marketing and customer engagement. With in-app notifications, brands ensure that the customers are engaged and brought back to the mobile app many times throughout the day. A similar experience can be created for websites wherein the customers who allow notifications to be sent to them, they can receive web-based notifications about the latest updates of the brand, new launches, services etc.

If the Coronavirus lockdown isn’t a great time to tell your customer to go digital, then what would be? With lockdown, complete confinement to their homes and internet connectivity, you have the customer’s rapt attention and the brands that can use mobile engagement, in-app and web notifications effectively can bring about a behaviour change towards making customers more comfortable with digital. Brands should think about engaging customers with quizzes, surveys etc. to spread more awareness about the Coronavirus and calm their fears. The lockdown is an apt opportunity for sectors such as banking and financial services to accelerate their journey towards a branchless model.

  1. Integrated User Experience and Omni-Channel Marketing -

The user experience across websites, social media platforms, mobile apps, is now consistent. Users are engaged through campaigns, Google AdWords, social media marketing, video advertisements etc. to land on very focused landing pages. From these pages, the users often react positively to a call-to-action which enables the brand to segment these users and take relevant action to convert them into prospects and subsequently customers.

The same experience across channels creates a consistent brand recall. Customers who do not respond positively to a call-to-action can also be retargeted and a complete remarketing strategy enables brands to engage them over the world wide web.

The resultant is a significant decrease in the cost of sales and cost of customer acquisition. Furthermore, these activities also enhance the brand recall from the suspect to prospect to customer stages. Hence, they reinforce brand proposition and value across the marketing funnel. 

The Indian government has just announced that companies can use their CSR budgets, which is 2% of their profits, towards Coronavirus (COVID-19) assistance. Won’t it be a great idea for brands to use their marketing budgets to communicate about Coronavirus awareness by following the customer’s web navigation journey? Spending marketing dollars towards making the customers or prospects aware of the importance of washing hands, sanitizing common areas etc. through videos and animated gif banners can go a long way in curbing the spread of this pandemic.

  1. Campaign Automation and Marketing Analytics: While digital marketers can leverage multiple channels and media, campaigns automation can help bind all these channels, test acceptance across channels by customers, and enable marketers to tweak their campaign messaging and channels in real-time.

This enables marketers to enhance returns on campaigns both in terms of amount spent and in terms of cost per lead.

The data collected across these campaigns can enable segmentation of the audience based on their preferences, spend patterns, buying behaviour, and other such parameters. This can further refine positioning and lower the cost of targeting and conversions.

Campaign automation and marketing analytics is critical to the digital marketing strategy as it enhances the quality of segmentation, targeting and positioning – the holy troika which leads to huge success in marketing when they work in tandem. To add to it, this also enables to create curated experiences for customers and unprecedented levels of customization which forms the bedrock of mindshare, and brand recall.

In the times of Coronavirus (COVID-19), companies and brands can engage in experimenting with messaging and channel mix to spread coronavirus awareness and promote relevant and necessary products. The A/B testing-based marketing through digital channels can enable brands to get a keen insight into the customer’s mindset during times of such crises. This wealth of information about the psychology of the customer can be extremely useful when they market their products and services after normalcy returns.

These six elements are imperative, to diversify your digital marketing efforts and spread risks associated with over-reliance on a channel or a medium of interaction. The resultant is a robust marketing plan which has a high probability of attaining the defined objectives.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.

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