Navigating digital marketing space

Pradeep Gairola | Updated on July 18, 2021

Title: Decoding the digital jungle Authors: Vikas Chawla, David Appasamy, Nandita RamanPublisher: Notion PressPrice: ₹498

This book provides a bird’s-eye view to marketing professionals of the ever evolving digital space

As of April 2021, 4.72 billion people, who form more than 60 per cent of the world, were using the internet. Every day about nine lakh new people join it. Given the huge audiences that are available, it is very natural for every brand to reach out and communicate with consumers, who are increasingly making digital an integral part of their lives.

The authors of the book are three established digital marketers. Vikas Chawla, co-founder of Social Beat, a Chennai-headquartered digital marketing agency founded in 2012; David Appasamy, head, Brand and Strategy, and Nandita Raman, Associate VP, Social Beat.

To start your digital journey in a linear progression along with the authors, you need to mentally move yourself to Serengeti in Africa. Every year millions of animals undertake a 800-km journey to escape the drought-stricken, parched lands of Tanzania in search of lush green pastures in the Masai Mara.

The authors seem to find a large correlation between digital migration of humans and migration of animals. that can be witnessed in Serengeti.

The book divides the digital journey of brands into an Upper Funnel, Middle Funnel and Lower funnel. It also has sections on measurement and driving business results, future of digital and the section that I found very useful, which is aptly titled ‘jargon busters.’

Upper Funnel is about building the brand and making its audience aware about its identity and what it has to offer. According to the book, the digital journey of a brand should start with the marketing objective and every part of digital strategy should flow from the marketing objective. The authors encourage brands to answer three questions which they believe will help in formulating marketing objectives. These questions are simple but fundamental, “Why are you here? Who are you here for? And what is your brand promise?”

Middle Funnel is about earning the trust of the audience and imparting more knowledge on what the brand has to offer. To achieve this objective, brands have three opportunities in the digital space — Owned media, Earned media and Paid media.

Owned media is any digital asset that is in full control of the brand; for example — web site, apps, and to a certain extent social media presence. Earned media is the coverage that a brand earns through building authority, credibility and goodwill and Paid media as the name suggests, is brand communication that is available by paying, for example digital ads.

Lower funnel is about converting potential customers into loyal customers and driving return on investments (RoI). In this funnel brands sharpen their targeting strategies by understanding the various options offered by platforms like FB, Google, YouTube. As one navigates through this section, one cannot miss out on the huge difference between targeting that is possible on digital platforms versus traditional media. As digital platforms capture huge amounts of data, they have developed the ability to target based on intent.

Power of platforms

In traditional media, the only targeting possible is based on characteristics of the audience. Depending on the digital evolution of the reader, this section can be an eye-opener, as marketers can understand the real power of platforms, when it comes to helping them with the audience that they want to reach out to.

This section also introduces traditional marketers to new terminology such as custom audiences, lookalike audiences, RLSA, in-market audiences, affinity, remarketing, programmatic advertising and so on. Emerging digital ecosystems such as e-commerce and OTT platforms are also discussed in this section.

Once the marketers get familiarised with the three funnels, they get introduced to the concept of measurement and driving of business results and outcomes.

Here too the biggest opportunity offered by digital media is the ability to constantly analyse, tweak and optimise the strategy to improve results.

This section also offers possibilities with online-offline integration and gives an overview and possible solutions to the biggest challenge faced by digital marketers in terms of attribution of results of marketing initiatives.

The final section of the book is about the future of digital wherein Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), voice commerce, opportunities with vernacular content have been discussed.

The section that I found very useful is on marketing terminology and jargon. In my personal experience, the biggest hurdle for any transition is the language and terminology. Once we start understanding the terminology, we grasp the discussions and gradually we become a pro. The book devotes about 20 pages to simplify 156 words used in digital marketing. These words are bucketed under social media marketing, content marketing, SEO, digital advertising, design, user experience and web site development.

Case studies

Another very useful aspect of the book is a glimpse of real case studies that Social Beat has delivered to its clients. These case studies are spread across different categories and are intermittently spread across the relevant sections. For example, under SEO and organic acquisitions of users, readers get to know about challenges faced by Mfine and Zest Money and the strategy used by Social Beat to deliver results.

There are good insights on various aspects of digital marketing, through the work done by Social Beat for clients such as Tata MF, Tata Cliq, Boat, Malabar Gold and KhataBook.

This book is quite packed in 200 pages and delivers on providing a good overview in a very simple and relatable language.

As each aspect of digital marketing is huge and requires specialisation, the next step, after reading this book, for marketers will be to decide if they want to explore any particular area of digital marketing and deep dive into it by Googling for the right resources.

The reviewer is Business Head, Digital Media, The Hindu group

Published on July 18, 2021

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