"In this time, going for digital marketing is the best move for any business," remarks the co-founder of a social media marketing agency.
The term 'digital marketing' is quite broad. It refers to any marketing done for products or services through digital media, which includes Internet and any other digital service like mobile phone marketing and others. But, nowadays, the term is mostly used for online marketing.
Marketing methods used in the past comprised of television ads, radio ads, billboards, posters, etc. Now, the world is changing. A whole new generation of people exists who are much more interactive with Internet than any other media. Organisations need to come up with strategies that keep up with this generation.
The success of digital marketing can be understood through examples such as Facebook, Amazon, Snapchat, etc. Facebook is a free social media site, but its founder Mark Zuckerberg has an estimated net worth of $72.7 billion. Amazon, created by Jeff Bezos, changed the purchasing habits of people and Jeff Bezos has $130.2 billion net worth. These are entirely online organisations that earn a significant portion of their worth through digital marketing. Facebook generates revenue through ads. Amazon sells products as well as runs ads on it. The success of these platforms should install the fact that digital marketing produces better results in promoting any brand.
Digital marketing can be done by making use of the social media available such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Businesses can run pages or accounts on these and attract customers. To reach more people in any of these platforms, a small fee might be required to be paid. But as followers increase, the business will automatically get more attention from these platforms without paid promotion. Another way digital marketing works is through influencers, who are people with a good number of fans following on social media, YouTube or any other online platform. Due to their significant fanbase, companies often pay them to promote products and services, and the results are outstanding. Moreover, influencers themselves become brands online with a substantial number of fans following. Overall, digital marketing is more cost-efficient while being the most effective form of marketing at this time.
There is, however, a downside to this. Since it is a low-cost venture, many people are trying to get into the digital marketing sector. Unskilled people who do not even have the intention of doing proper digital marketing sometimes exploit businesses, and that creates a bad reputation for digital marketing itself. "When done improperly, businesses lose faith in the power of digital marketing, and they go back to the traditional ways," says a veteran in local digital marketing industry. But the good outweighs the bad, and digital marketing is ever progressing.
The marketing methods of the past no longer works for a significant portion of the population. The young generation either sits in front of the computer all day or stares at a phone screen. They do not even watch TV or pay attention to billboards that any brand could promote itself in that way. The current young generation will, in a few years, be the prime target for every brand, and if marketing is done through a medium that this generation does not use then that brand cannot persist. Digital marketing is open to being exploited by all products and services and is limited to no sector. Businesses across the world are taking advantage and creating an online presence, keeping in mind that digital promotion is the future of marketing.
In Bangladesh, however, the only sector which notably makes use of digital marketing and social media promotion is the restaurant businesses, food carts and such. News feeds fill up with pictures of offers, promotions, discount deals, competitions to get food, and it works. People love these, and they go to every restaurant if only to try it out for once. The number of restaurants in Bangladesh has increased manifold in the last few years too because now it has been easier to penetrate the market with just a bit of online marketing. At present, people from all walks of life have a social media account. It is a magnanimous pool of people who can be tapped into, reachable through social media. However, still many businesses in most sectors do not value digital marketing. "The lack of people in the country making use of the arsenal they have at their disposal has given rise to foreign businesses taking over the market, such as Uber which promoted itself digitally, and now Alibaba is coming to Bangladesh," remarked a digital marketer. A tiny number of major organisations has realised the value of digital marketing, notably Pran, Aarong, Robi and Grameenphone conducting digital marketing campaigns, while the rest keep on with TVC and other traditional media. A small recommendation is a call for every big and small organisation operating in Bangladesh to put more emphasis on digital marketing.
The writer is a first year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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