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Why is digital marketing the way forward: Vineet Singh, Group CMO, Embassy Group

There is no better time than present to re-evaluate the road ahead and plan for a world post crisis writes Vineet Singh.

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As the world settles down to deal with the new normal of social distancing and self-isolation, market and consumer behavior has undergone a major shift. Old ways of marketing have taken a backseat, and brands are increasingly realizing the need to change the marketing playbook. The changing times have offered brands the opportunity to create solutions that foster social interaction online and combat these challenging times while reaching out to their audiences.

Earlier, marketers had access to a wide range of tools and tactics to promote or sell their businesses. As COVID-19 continues to change the industry at large, two primary areas of change are seen in consumer behavior and impact on individual industries (from supply chain to point of sale). The intent of marketing lies in attracting the target audience’s attention towards your product, with an aim to sell. In the present environment, it is imperative that brands adopt the right marketing strategies which can lend a balanced approach, paving the way for a healthy and profitable future. Companies should steadily adapt their strategies, keeping in mind that exercising, working, shopping and entertainment are all limited to our homes. With a decrease in public footfall, digital marketing is the most sustainable method of engagement with consumers. As most of them are on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, that’s where brands should focus their marketing investments. Few digital marketing tactics like SMM (Social Media Marketing), content marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and email marketing are better than others and can ensure a strong digital presence for your brand.

A recent global survey by Kantar found that the vast majority of customers, prospects and community want to hear from brands, with only 8% believing that brands should stop advertising. As a brand, if you want to be heard, it is important that the messaging is motivated by a genuine desire to improve your customers’ life. The tone of the message should not end up making your brand look insensitive towards the ongoing conditions. Pandemic or not, it is important to find ways to continuously evolve and become better, and the role of a marketer is to create demand. It is crucial that brands and marketers focus on the larger picture, and explore the possibilities offered by digital.

Communicating via ad-campaigns wherein the brand is using technology and its services to go above and beyond to fulfil consumer needs, is a good way of staying afloat during these times. For example, five startups - Aiisma, Haptik, Zoomcar, Trell and Staqu - with their technology-based innovations, are assisting the government in tackling the spread of the novel coronavirus. A social approach towards the current situation, improves brand image at large. Storytelling has always been a strong marketing tool for communicating the brand message, evoking emotions, and establishing a connection with the consumers. In the current environment, it helps create empathetic engagement by connecting the facts with emotions, Brands like Microsoft, and Coca-Cola have time and again showcased how the art of storytelling can be leveraged to sustain audience interest. It is equally important to identify the right platform for your brand’s story. Social media is a great avenue for effective storytelling, as showcased time and again by brands like Redbull whose Instagram feed instantly captures audience attention. While social media can be a powerful medium, at the end of the day your chosen platform should resonate with your core audience, as the main objective is to increase brand awareness and reach out to a greater number of consumers.

If companies can master digital marketing today, it can act as a long term investment once normalcy returns. The need of the hour is to rethink existing strategies, and practice empathetic communication while keeping the conversation going. The current situation will not last forever, and through digital marketing brand presence can be sustained without going overboard. There is no better time than present to re-evaluate the road ahead and plan for a world post crisis.


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