In the recent documentary “The Great Hack” on Netflix, Brittany Kaiser, the former Executive of the notorious Cambridge Analytica says, “Data is the biggest asset in today’s day and age. It’s expensive even than the oil” (Amer and Noujaim).
The data that the consumers share voluntarily and knowingly, is used to study their consumption behavior and used to make better strategies to persuade them to buy a product or subscribe to a service. In many ways, it also crisscrosses the path with the idea of Steve Jobs, the celebrity co-founder of Apple Inc., who famously told, “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want” (Murray). He basically implied that consumers can be persuaded to want a product, service or experience if there were a well-worked out strategy and a vision. Through these quotes from two of the best marketeers of our times, we can get a glimpse of the digital marketing arena and the cut-throat competition in the digital space to attract as many eyeballs or clicks as possible in a given time frame.
With the increased democratization of the world, the world economy became more open, thanks to international organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO). This blurred the political borderlines between nation and states and fostered an easy exchange of goods, services, and culture. Further, the expansion and explosion of the internet brought the world a lot closer and the world became a global village. With the boom of the internet came social online platforms like Facebook and Youtube and e-commerce sites like Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay and various online news web sites. Facebook alone has 2.41 billion active users, as of June 2019 (Noyes).
Youtube has 2 billion active users and one billion hours of Youtube content is viewed every day (Dogtiev). Amazon has 101 million Amazon Prime members globally (Enright). On the other hand, Television viewership is on the decline. Nielsen’s most recent report indicates that Americans aged 18-34 watched a daily average of 1 hour and 51 minutes of traditional TV during the third quarter (Q3) of 2018. This is a decline of 17.2% than the previous year. In terms of a year-over-year change, Q3’s figure represents a decline of 23 minutes per day, according to a review of the figures provided by Nielsen (Editor and Lupis). A Pew Research Center analysis of data from Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) shows that total weekday circulation for U.S. daily newspapers – both print and digital – fell 8% in 2016, marking the 28th consecutive year of declines. (Sunday circulation also fell 8%.) The overall decline includes a 10% decrease in weekday print circulation (9% for Sundays) and a 1% decline in weekday digital circulation (1% rise for Sundays). Total weekday circulation for U.S. daily newspapers fell to 35 million, while total Sunday circulation declined to 38 million – the lowest levels since 1945 (Barthel).
With all these reports, it’s not rather difficult to conclude that there is a drastic shift in the consumer behavior and traditional marketing strategies and the famous 4 Ps of Marketing, i.e. Product, Price, Promotion, and Place, can no longer yield the expected results in their present form. As a result, academicians have come up with new 4 Ps of Digital Marketing, i.e. Process, People, Platform, and Performance. Effective Digital Marketing strategy in today’s day and age requires a streamlined process that makes the most of the technology in hand to reach its correct audience with a personalized message that is relevant to them.
Successful Digital Marketing mantra should be able to reach the correct group of people targeted for the product or service with a personalized message that makes sense to them and persuades the people to make a decision that is favorable to the product or the service. It’s a herculean task to decide on what digital platform available is best for the product or service to be advertised on so that the intended message is communicated to the target audience. Finally, it is imperative to measure the outcome of the Digital Marketing efforts from time to time, so that the entire process can be evaluated, reformed and calibrated with the changing times.
Having said that, two major trends in the Digital Marketing space are being observed currently. There are short term marketing efforts to come up with viral audio or visual content with a view to grab the eyeballs. This is done to merely attract the attention of the consumers at least once, communicate the intended message and persuade the targeted audience.
The phenomenon called “FOMO”, i.e. “the fear of missing out” is high on brands and products these days. Products, Brands, and services go to any length and make viral contents, in order to keep them visible in the eyes and minds of the consumers.
On the other hand, we are also surrounded by a handful of products and services that have been around for several decades or even more, as a result of the trust they have built with their consumer base. Coca Cola, for example, guarantees certain product quality and experience, to its consumer base. As long as these products and services cater to the needs of its targeted audience, they will thrive and they do not have a need to come up with scandalizing marketing content, every once in a while. Windows PC will not fade out of fashion merely because it did not scream out loud about its existence.
The Washington Post or The New York Times need not print in block letters in its cover page that it is the platform for a balanced reporting and credible journalism. The word of mouth publicity arising from the trust that has been developed over the years beats them all. This then leads us to a conclusion that the best form of Digital Marketing even in today’s day and age, is the trust, that a product or a service garners from its consumers. And the company that efficiently manages the customer’s trust or has an effective Customer Relation Management process, will only stand the test of time.
The Great Hack. Directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, interviews with Brittany Kaiser, David Carroll, Paul-Olivier Dehaye Murray, Peter Noel Ph.D. How Steve Jobs Knew What You Wanted? 13 Oct. 2011 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inside-the-consumer-mind/201110/how-steve-jobs-knew-what-you-wanted. Accessed 28 July 2019.
Noye, Dan. The Top 20 Valuable Facebook Statistics. July 2019 https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/. Accessed 28 July 2019
Dogtiev, Artyom. YouTube Revenue and Usage Statistics. 26 July 2019 https://www.businessofapps.com/data/youtube-statistics/. Accessed 28 July 2019
Enright, Allison. Amazon Prime has more than 100 million members in the US. 18 Jan. 2019 https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2019/01/18/amazon-prime-has-more-than-100-million-members-in-the-u-s/.
Accessed 28 Jul. 2019 Editor, MC and Lupis, JC. The State of Traditional TV: Updated With Q3 2018 Data. 3 Apr. 2019 https://www.marketingcharts.com/featured-105414. Accessed 28 Jul. 2019
Barthel, Michael. Despite subscription surges for largest U.S. newspapers, circulation and revenue fall for industry overall. 1 Jun. 2017. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/01/circulation-and-revenue-fall-for-newspaper-industry/. Accessed 28 Jul. 2019.
Written By: Deepan Acharya