The money people use is now digital. The food ordering is done digitally. Even the public transport experience has now been digitised. But what about all the marketing and communication needs of this digital world? How are they going digital? The author depicts some light on this matterin this piece.
The digital landscape is as fertile as the physical one: Communication professionals need to understand two things about modern consumers, the rapid shift of media consumption and the role of each channel in their decision-making. Consumers are now glued to Facebook. Other social media like Instagram, Tiktok, Likee, Snapchat, etc. are making massive inroads into catching eyeballs, especially among the youth. Messaging apps like IMO, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Viber are also on a steady rise.
A big change is already happening in the way people are consuming entertainment and it will continue. Set-top boxes are expanding their reach at households replacing cable networks. Free viewership is helping YouTube to become the most popular platform in digital nationally. Paid platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and several local platforms are enabling viewers to consume content against payment.
News portal apps and websites are making news consumption more convenient and customised. Social media machine learning is keeping a track of individual choice and preference, helping relevant news links pop up in their newsfeeds, making it easier for people to follow news on digital platforms.There's no perfect formula but to keep building a new mix of offerings, messaging, and use of channels relevantly for a brand.
Craft stories better than telling them: Here's a simple test for any creative team and they need to identify the following things first. They are- the various emerging ad formats, the popular mediums like websites, Facebook newsfeeds and Facebook watch, YouTube videos, Instagram, etc and the modern technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality that are in execution right now.
How many can you get right?
Creative teams need to analyse ad formats. Then they can also break down an artistic masterpiece in a digital market for innovation. They need to utilise the ad formats according to the people they wish to target. They need to also ensure that it conveys the right message built on the right insight and for the right medium. They might miss out on the opportunity for applause if their story isn't aligned with all of that.
Digitalisation is helping creative professionals to receive precise insight to sharpen their messaging and stories. For example, static post analytics are showing the level of viewership and engagement it is generating while video analytics are showing the extent of videos people are watching and staying hooked with specific content.
Cadbury's Artificial Intelligence campaign with Shah Rukh Khan's lips to create personalised and endless variations for customers and retailers worthy of an approachably modern message.
Opportunity often disguises itself as a challenge. When the consumers of tomorrow are opting into ad-free paid platforms, then marketers need to be ready to design the contents of today. What does that look like? Definitely not like an advertisement. Brand communication of the future may become logo-free packaging in the form of content.
Keep on reading if that's what you want your customers to do: People don't want their national cricket team to play it safe, but as they sit there during an anticipated match, they'll notice the evidence on screen left behind by brands. Mass attention makes money and also makes sense but are you getting away with only ticking the checklist?
It's not that simple anymore. First, think out of the boxes at your disposal.
Marketers need to track their audience like a stalker. If they're interested in a brand, they'll be within marketers' literal and paid reach. They need to be treated as a separate remarketing audience for future ads and campaigns and an ongoing interaction between brands and users.
An informed choice is the best decision a media professional can make. For example, IMO is essential for an MFS brand whereas it may be sufficient for a fashion boutique store to be exclusively present on Instagram.
Here's a nice number to know - there are 45 million active users of Facebook in Bangladesh. On the flipside, a huge amount of money is lost by brands because the digital universe is skipping ads they won't watch. For the best impact and return out of brand expenditures, an optimum presence in the audience media path is crucial.
A simple tweak can be a leap in the right context. For example, media targeting on YouTube needs to happen around the category of contents and who is more likely to watch them. A spice brand may prioritise cooking videos over a travel show to have a better match with viewers.
The money's worth of advertising needs to be sowed, planted, reaped on repeated cycles of different strategies - and no two can be alike because the consumers' needs and behaviours will change as fast as a news feed scroll.
Keep the channels open and eyes on the prize: 1. Join the club with social media closed groups: Everyone wants to find their "tribe". Brands need to look out for emerging domains and hustle for the first-movers' advantage. For example, bikers find other bike enthusiasts for meaningful conversations and their final purchase will depend on what they hear.
2. Influence matters in more ways than one: Like people falling into and out of love on dating apps with a simple swipe, it's important to find the best match between the brand's target audience and the influencers or celebrity they follow. It's likely they are actively more engaged with their influencers' content than they are to brand platforms.
3. Talk their language with social listening: It's important not to force feed the traditional advertising. If one knows the worth of one social media comment can leave behind millions to billions of data points, then it's time to go digging deep into the goldmine of digitalisation and rethink the "where" of research. The reviews and feedback exist in the hundreds of thousands of data points.
Seize the opportunity from the first step to the last word: The window to the digital retail experience holds up a signpost that proudly claims -
"More sales here! Take a ride from awareness to purchase, in just one click!"
While a trial of target markets is taking digital convenience in the stride of their daily lives, this window of opportunity has become the literal door where customers are walking in to shop for brands.
Interested customers no longer look for a one-size-fits-all marketing plan. In the same funnel shared by online sales and delivery, the traffic is guided by hooks in multiple ads and contents followed by Click Through ads. The human touch remains essential where brands are investing in social media query software and chatbots to assist the legwork.
Our journeys as customers and marketers are interconnected, but also integrated. The sales ecosystem is now systematically influenced by strategic and cohesive plans with measurable KPIs that works in tandem with creative execution, targeted media placement, engagements through emerging channels and eventually driving sales.
When the landscape meets the sea of information in our digital ecosystem: In a fragmented universe called retail in Bangladesh, trying to weigh the benefits of convenience of physical retail shopping to an appealing ecommerce ecosystem is a futile exercise. The smartest move would be to enable digitisation of the retail universe and make good use of millions of data points that can be derived from salesman to retail and retail to customer interactions.
It's not always the larger ecosystem, but the more diverse one that has the ability for a better synergy that creates impact effectively. This means building the correct approach to selecting communication channels, such as, events to partnerships, PR to sponsorships.
Where do we go from here?
We are now at the greatest momentum of change the communication industry has seen in years fuelled by the digital revolution. This brings its fair share of challenges, and a huge pressure on the industry to constantly learn and adapt. It's critical to find the optimal balance between the needs of the market and the ever-evolving lifestyle of consumers and the key is arming our students and young professionals with the skill, knowledge and motivation to discover solutions in the extremely competitive world of brand communications. So, let's visualise the next destination - shape the next generation of talent in Bangladesh to tap into the existing expertise gap in the global marketing industry.
The writer is a marketing professional with 20+ years of experience in the country's leading multinational companies and communication agencies. He is currently the MD and CEO of 'X'. X (justanx.com) is an integrated communication agency with its key focus on the digital media.
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