Interviewer to a candidate, “Do you have any leadership quality?”
The candidate replied, “I believe so. I have 87 followers on Facebook.”
I think this joke clearly illustrates how digitization has impacted our everyday lives. One of the things we do first in the morning is to check our mobile phone’s notification bar. While working, eating, even in a close social gathering, we tend to check our mobile phones repeatedly. ‘What did I miss? What did I miss?’. Moreover, we tend to easily believe what we see in social media, especially, on Facebook. We rarely check the authenticity of the news or content. Why? It is because 1.2K people that I don’t even know and 54 people from my circle (maybe) liked the post. Strange! Yes, this is an alarming scenario.
One of the commonly and frequently used IMC (integrated marketing communication) terms is 360 degree marketing approach. Yes, 360 means using all possible communication channels at once to push certain message(s). Good idea. And I’m not against it. But in this fast moving digital world where the customers have so many exciting things to remember, I think time has come for us to bring changes in our approaches. It shouldn’t be 360 degree anymore, rather 365 days approach. Means, everyday you will have to have something new to tell; keeping your customers engaged with a lot of excitements and/or motivations. It’s not an easy task, but you’ll have to do it.
So, how do you do it? You cannot give advertisements every day. What is the way out then? Social Media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. are doing excellent jobs in this regard. I am not going to tell you how many individuals are using internet and/or social media, the demographics, etc. It is because, you have Google for that. Hahaha! My point is, advertisers are basically forced to get into the digital arena to reach customers. It is easier, relatively cheaper and effective in many ways. Now, the big question is “how are we dealing with this massive opportunity?”
I am not a digital marketing expert. Yes, I have attended a few digital marketing seminars and workshops. And I have learned a lot of things from those seminars. But I think most of the seminars focus on the technical sides of digital marketing. But is this an advertiser’s job to learn how JAVA works or how to make the coding easier or how to increase the number of visitors in my website? I personally don’t think so. There are agencies to take care of the technical parts. Marketers should be focusing more on the strategy, content, simplicity, target audience, etc. I call it ‘the vision thing’. Marketers should be deciding what they want to achieve; not how to achieve (to some extent). But unfortunately, I see many marketers are too busy addressing the technical parts and ignoring the basics (in my words, ‘the vision thing’). Over the years, the media consumption patterns have changed. But the ‘need’ for consuming media remains the same. We consume media for entertainment. Yes, the definition of entertainment may differ from person to person. But all of these fall under any of the following categories (according to me):
1. Humor (absolute fun)
2. News (politics, business, infrastructure, etc.)
5. Peace (religion, good deeds, stories, etc.)
6. Music/movies, and
7. The WOW thing
Again, I personally think that #7 is the most important of all. Only this can keep your customers closer to you. But remember, I am referring to WOW from the customers’ perspective, not from the marketers/advertisers perspective. It’s the ground rule. How to come up with the WOW thing is a different discussion all together; I am not going to discuss about this today. Bottom-line, find WOW things as much as possible and put those in your social channels.
Thing that bothers me these days is the LIKE counting. We give all of our efforts to earn LIKEs. Well, I am not against it. But… OK, let me explain this with an example. To me, LIKEs are similar to CGPA of a fresh graduate. CGPA is important. One needs to keep relatively better CGPA to get noticed by the employers. But the CGPA cannot be the parameter to judge how the fresh graduate will perform in the workplace. In the similar way, Facebook LIKE is important. It helps the advertiser to get noticed by your target audience. But it cannot be the deciding factor how the audiences are considering you as an advertiser/brand. My point is, we must have a balance between LIKE earning and content/message. Another thing many advertisers do not do. And that is analyzing the LIKEs. Who are eventually liking the page/post? Why they are liking, etc. Your page has 1.2M LIKEs. You must be really happy about it. But have you ever tried to find out who these people/LIKers are? Did you ever try to find out how many of the LIKers are actually fake or real? In most cases, the answer is NO. And in many of the occasions, advertisers produce contents for the sake of having contents rather than having the intention to offer relevant and consistent message that speaks to customers’ specific interests. I have personally seen people liking a specific post or page with no particular reason. Most of the LIKEs are made whimsically (unsure why liking that). I say, produce posts that will attract your audience to get engaged, offer them to co-create and participate. And don’t forget to acknowledge their participation.
Bottom Line: When you are in digital marketing space, you must have customer-centric mindset. Otherwise, you can never reach to your goals. Focus, market/customer understanding, customization, engagement and consistency are equally vital for becoming successful in digital space. You should also try to use your logic while designing a marketing campaign and/or preparing a budget for the products. Put a lot of WOW elements in your communication; Influence the influencers (opinion leaders) to get the best possible mileage and co-create to ensure maximum participation. Your main focus should be to earn the love of the customers, the rest will come automatically.