The Changing Dynamics of Marketing in a Digital World

Sudha Sarin, VP Marketing & Communications, Power2SMEThe introduction of technology and digital tools has revolutionized the world of marketing and the way brands communicate with customers. Marketers are shifting their perspective to perform winning strategies that are illuminated by customer value and deep market insights. Customers are taking a more active role in developing and evaluating a brand value and the products they buy. Businesses who want to succeed must adapt to the shifting dynamics and focus on customer-oriented strategies. To navigate in this changed landscape, ideas and data insights need to be turned into personal experiences to make customer journey more engaging. While the intervention of technology in the market place has its own pros and cons, in this article, we will briefly discuss the marketing trends that brands should look out for:

Age of Information
The penetration of the internet and the accessibility to smart phones allows customers to have access to a staggering amount of information that is easily available online. This has prompted a fundamental change in the way we access content and reach out to consumers, especially with platforms like social media, email, SMS push, and more. Empowered by digital devices, customers looking for support and their expectations for response time have become exorbitant. Businesses are today empowered with technological tools to regain ownership of the customer journey by engaging with consumers in each of the marketing media in the digital world with vigilant planning and implementation. The intervention of internet has also seen the explosion of various forms of content marketing such as blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts, testimonials, reviews, newsletters, and more. The driving force behind online traffic is content, and consumers expect it to be original and relevant to their requirement.

Among all types of content, video content is increasingly becoming important as users' preference is shifting to infotainment. Improved bandwidth and decreasing cost of internet/ mobile internet is another reason for users opting to consume high end con-tent such as videos. Dedicated video platforms and social media in past 5-6 months have emerged as heavily consumed platforms by internet users. This trend has motivated brands to consider and experiment with videos to connect with their TG.

Video marketing is extraordinarily persuasive if content communicated is succinct and we will witness videos becoming most used and valuable tool for brands, especially in 2018.

Evolving with Marketing Analytics Marketing analytics plays an instrumental role in making various activities measurable and traceable in real-time. Analytics and big data for customer intelligence can help marketers gain an extensive understanding of customer requirement and behaviour to get a better grasp on overall marketing efforts. As assortment of software is available, that has the potential to identify the impact of activities and analyze marketing effectiveness. The entire customer experience is shifting the focus to digital intelligence that enables collecting, managing and analyzing customer data and insights. Businesses can harness the power of real time tracking and monitoring using predictive analytics to get a view of customers across all channels and platforms.
This greatly helps drive the personalization factor and optimize customer interaction, experience, and engagement levels. Marketing analytics will become instrumental tools, and more brands will be witnessed to adopt same to measure the success of their marketing campaigns.

Improved Crisis Communication Favourable developments can also be noticed in online reputation management and crisis management. Technology allows brands to respond adequately in case they are faced with an unexpected crisis. Social media plays a significant role in crisis preparedness, swift response, and recovery. A range of social media tools can also be used to enhance analytical capabilities and response communications. Being pro-active can be the best for the business since every crisis is eventually reported online and in social media. It is import-ant to always be prepared and have a digital assessment plan and execution policy in place. This allows companies to get in front and handle the situation smoothly without allowing brand reputation to be affected. It is easier to get the message across swiftly by addressing the issue and managing crisis communication with the help of technology. Quickly acknowledging and addressing the problem can prevent the crisis from spiraling out of control which could otherwise aggravate the situation.

Curb Unreliable Information
The ever-growing presence of technology also brings along with it a few challenges, as the vast information present is not always reliable or verified. Click-bait stories or fake news still remain a challenge in today's digital platform as the legitimacy of data is questioned. The comprehensive means of providing or consuming information especially through social media faces the risk of misreporting which in some cases can get quite dangerous. Businesses face a huge problem as their brand image, product or service can be tampered by counterfeit news. This depreciates marketing efforts and affects both brands and consumers, disconnecting them from the end result. Brands must be vigilant and own responsibility for the information they control online. Advancements in technology can help determine the rele-vance of information and authenticate credible data on the internet. More number of brands will be involved in adopting measurements or strategies to deal with fake news in the times to come.

In the past 20 years, we have seen remarkable changes in the way information is created and consumed. The technologies and digital tools available today enable brands to communicate effectively to retain existing customers or acquire new ones. Marketing in a digital world would also mean having the technologies, operations and systems in place to permit asynchronous communications. The key is in setting up a digital marketing environment that is meant to foster innovation. Using technology as its core, marketers can experiment and create new trends to adapt to the changing behaviours while maintaining a strong focus on customer experience.