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Marketing is a very vital function of an organization, and many companies strive to use the best approaches in marketing for them to succeed. Through marketing, businesses can create, communicate, and deliver their products and services. Therefore, a business must strive to develop marketing strategies that will ensure its survival in whichever industries it operates. At this time of advancing technology, digital marketing and social media marketing have impacted the way people interact socially and how business is done. Marketing industry has been constantly evolving, and with digital marketing companies it has been able to reach a big audience at a cheaper cost. The use of social media in marketing has been on a tremendous increase. Companies are using social media platform to carry out marketing campaigns and reach out to customers. It has provided cheaper medium of communication to a broad audience. The paper analyzes whether digital marketing is a force for good or evil.
For the last two decades, the internet and information technology have dramatically changed the marketing environment and the way in which marketing success is achieved. Digital media has created exciting opportunities for many organizations to target particular markets in an efficient way, develop new strategies of marketing, and gather information about their customers. Bird defines digital marketing as marketing that is conducted with the help of transmissions and transactions carried on a computer and telephone. In digital marketing, the marketer is empowered to reach more people, reach farther, to be personalized and more credible. This is the closest ever situation to the picture that marketers have been dreaming about where they are in touch with their consumers directly, without loss of time. The customer is also empowered in digital marketing as he/she can demand and get direct information about a product. Digital marketing currently uses all digital media as a platform. Digital media are electronic media that function by the use of digital codes and this makes media available via cellular phones, computers, smartphones, and all the other recently released digital devices. Digital marketing uses all the digital media, and this includes the internet and mobile interactive channels in developing communication and exchanges with customers.
The phenomenal growth of the internet in recent years has provided unprecedented opportunities for marketers to forge interactive relationships with consumers. The internet and digital communication technologies have advanced and thus made it possible to target markets in a more definite way. On the same note, they also made it possible to reach markets that were previously inaccessible. Digital market has revolutionalised the way business is done as consumer and business owners can interact online in selling and buying products and services. Many businesses have adopted digital marketing though there have been questions as to whether this force is for good or evil. Internet marketing has been integrated into strategies that include all digital media, such as TV, radios, and others that do not use the Internet.
Digital Marketing as a Force for Good
It is clear that digital marketing has a significant impact on marketing. It has benefited marketers in that they incur reduced costs in marketing. Businesses can now develop online marketing strategies at a low cost, and this has replaced the costly traditional channels. The digital marketing strategy is simple to measure with a significant client appeal. Unlike the traditional methods, one can see in real time what is not working for the business using online platforms. There are real time results in digital marketing as a business does not have to wait long to boost itself.
One of the benefits of digital marketing is the convenience experienced in it. Marketing online has made it possible for business to operate in a 24/7 hour economy. This has been without bothering about overtime for staff, and opening hours. Digital marketing is also convenient to customers as customers can now browse through the products being offered by the business anytime and at any place. In addition, digital marketing is beneficial to a business as its impact on business can be seen in terms of overcoming the barriers brought about by long distances. By using digital marketing, organizations can sell their goods in any country or region without having a physical premise established there. This is because digital marketing widens the target market, especially with the increasing trends of globalization.
Digital marketing is also beneficial in terms of cost as has already been stated previously. This is because marketing products digitally is cost efficient when compared to the traditional methods of marketing, which required physical outlets.
It arguable that digital marketing has brought about individualization, which is the control that internet users have over the flow of information they receive. This has provided the opportunity for organizations to use the internet to transmit customized marketing communications to selected target markets on a customized basis. Digital marketing allows users to obtain the information they deem relevant through social interactivity within seconds on a digital platform. This has allowed marketers to build relationships with any customer in a two-way communication. Traditional marketing communication channels used to engage consumers in a relatively passive manner. Consumers used to see or listen to information about a brand through TV or radio adverts. They had the limited control over the type of information they received. They had a passive mindset when watching television and this contrasts the active mindset when they are using digital platforms.
In short, it can be said that digital marketing enables a business to have a personalized offer for its customers by creating a profile that reflects their purchasing preferences and history. This is because digital marketing has availed a platform for establishing relationships with customers. This, therefore, has increased the customer loyalty levels. For instance, when a customer buys a product from an online store, the business can establish a relationship with the customer by sending him/her an email that confirms the transaction. Later on, the business can continue sending regular emails to the client with updates of which products are available.
Digital marketing has also enabled businesses to capitalize on the growing significance of social media. Other advantages of digital marketing are:
Targeting. This is the ability of marketers to place advertisings on the web pages that are frequented by the target market and this enables customers to have an easy view of products and services being offered.
Accessibility. This is the ability of digital marketing technologies to provide consumers with immediate responses regardless of their geographical location, time of the day or week, and type of question. With digital marketing, consumers contact an organization for pre-purchase information or service information. Accessibility means that consumers can always get some information outside business hours.
Behavioural tracking. In digital marketing, customer interactions can be recorded and examined to identify patterns of consumer behaviour, which may suggest the possible marketing strategies. The internet is changing the way marketers communicate and develop customer relationship. The usage of digital devices among the youth is widespread due to technological spread in the contemporary world. This tool has been utilized for learning, communication, advertisement, and entertainment due to its ability to connect several individuals at the same time. Users of digital platforms are active as compared to the traditional passive systems.
It is essential for many businesses engaged in digital and online marketing activities to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage. Businesses are now using digital media to develop strategies to reach new markets and access inexpensive communication channels.
Digital Marketing as a Force for Evil
Though digital marketing has tremendous advantages, it also has its problems. There have been many opponents of digital marketing who think that it is an evil force. They have consistently pointed out some shortcomings of this digital marketing practice. Digital marketing has been found to have shortcomings with one being that it can allow unethical and illegal promotions. Lack of mechanisms and guidelines has led to obscene adverts being placed on the digital platforms, and they demoralize the minds of the youth. Interest groups and human rights activists are also concerned that digital marketing raises serious concerns about the right to privacy. Uploading photos and personal information on Facebook, twitter and other social media outlets poses danger of infringement of privacy because they are viewed by unknown people.
Digital marketing also fails to reach the targeted consumers, especially those that require face-face interactions with customers. This, therefore, means that companies selling products, which require demonstrations, will not be served effectively by digital marketing. Moreover, some businesses have customers that are not internet savvy, for example, the elderly. This means that digital marketing cannot be used to target them and thus requires the traditional marketing strategies. Another purported evil of digital marketing is that if a business fails to maintain a professional demeanour, the potential clients may not take it seriously.
In many situations, digital marketing is carried out using solicited and unsolicited emails, and this leads to a situation, where people may get bored of the emails and regard them as spam. In addition, the increasing number of unsolicited emails has forced most servers to have filters that reduce the number of spam emails that an individual can receive.This means that an email sent as part of digital marketing may be received as spam, and the targeted customers may never see it. This means that effective digital marketing should diversify its modes of communication with potential clients in order to ensure that they receive the intended message. For example, in addition to emails, companies can also use websites and the social media in reaching clients.
It is very hard, according to Carter, to measure the impact of digital marketing. The protocol used in digital marketing is purely advisory as it relies on the web robot.
Based on the arguments above, digital marketing has its positives and negatives. However, it can be said that it is a force for good things in marketing and not evil. This is because digital marketing is an excellent marketing method, through which businesses can be able to achieve their marketing mission within a short period. It can be among the most convenient marketing methods to reach a large audience within the shortest time possible. Digital media platforms have provided an easy platform, on which viral marketing can be conducted. If the goal of a business is to apply promotional strategies through any means, viral marketing is the best since it increases the chances of reaching multitarget audience in a quick way. This can be proven as true since many companies have taken an advantage of the phenomenon to increase the level of their business activity. Digital marketing involves using internet search engines like social media interconnectivity, Smartphone integration, radio, television, target marketing web services, and many others.
Many marketing scholars have given the argument that success of business efforts towards marketing phenomenon is determined by how well a marketer draws the social graph of the media to be used in marketing. A successful digital marketing platform follows large audience which is ready to share marketing information. A marketing message has to be interesting for it to go viral since individuals would not share bad content. The message to be shared must be designed in such a way that individuals using a particular social network would be in a position to let their friends know about the message. Therefore, to achieve success in digital marketing, a marketer needs attractive content and good social networking skills. However, for this marketing to be successful, marketers will have to consider various things. One of these considerations is the use of digital media marketing platform and ethical standards applied in the system. This is because different digital marketing platforms can have different outcomes. The more members a certain platform has, the more chances of reaching larger audience in the product’s digital marketing are.
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On examining the benefits the digital marketing is likely to bring to a business, and comparing that to its shortcomings, it is evident that benefits outweigh shortcomings by far.
Modern business environment requires advanced marketing techniques that will communicate an important product or service information to many customers. Digital marketing is an excellent marketing method, in which organizations can be able to achieve their marketing mission within a short period of time. It is listed amongst the most convenient marketing methods to reach a large audience within the shortest time possible. Digital marketing has become more popular recently, and this has prompted many companies to take advantage of it in order to increase their levels of doing business. Companies obtain feedback from their customers and have since established that online social media marketing provides an excellent platform to increase sales of the company. The online social media enable people to form networks, and social influence of networks formed has impact on sales and revenue. Though with some shortcomings, it can be concluded that digital marketing is a force for good and not for evil. This is because it enhances efficiency and effectiveness of marketing and in this era no business can survive without digital marketing.
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