Tag: Business Strategy

Digital Marketing is not just Social Media

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Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

A couple of things prompted me to write this article. One was an article I came across on LinkedIn on this topic. The other was a commend made by one of the participants in the Digital Marketing course that I take at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Bangalore.

There is a tendency nowadays to equate Digital Marketing with Social Media. Sure, a lot of users spend a fair bit of time on Social Media. And there could be products and services where it makes a lot of sense to spend a majority of your marketing efforts on Social. But this might not be the case for many brands who might end up missing the forest for the trees by focusing too much attention and effort on Social Media.

The field of Digital Marketing is over two decades old and I have been fortunate to have been associated with this field for over 19 years now. During my professional career, I have been closely involved with multiple facets of digital marketing including website marketing, digital analytics, email marketing, banner advertising, search advertising, community engagement (the precursor to social media), search engine optimisation (SEO), app marketing and of course, social media.

A typical business would need many (if not all) of the above channels to be in play to drive a successful digital marketing programme. A good framework that can be used to understand these channels is the Paid, Owned, Earned Media (POE) framework.

Paid Owned Earned Media Framework

When I advise clients on Digital Marketing, the first step is typically to understand and define explicitly the Customer Value Proposition. This exercise, with the help of analytics and insights, usually forms the bedrock of the marketing strategy. It helps create a good understanding of the brand’s target market, the problem statements of their potential customers and the messaging strategy that can most effectively communicate how the brand can satisfy their needs.

Once this is in place, I usually advise my clients to be start on their Owned Media channels. These are assets that the brand owns and directly controls and is, in my opinion, the most important part of the media strategy. There is very little point in launching a Paid Media campaign unless your owned assets are not completely primed to communicate and deliver the value proposition and user experience that the customer expects.

A brand’s social media channels are also part of the Owned Media bucket. So, once the website is in a good shape, the focus can shift to the Content and social media channel strategy. At this stage, it is important to understand the specific role of social media (and other channels) within the target customer’s research and decision making process. This should dictate the choice of channel and content strategy.

The attention can then shift to the Earned media bucket. Assuming that a brand now has a good Owned media strategy, they should expect to have some engagement with their customers. This could be in the form of reviews, social media mentions and, of course, email / sms marketing. The brand should be in a position to engage with their customers on these channels in a timely and effective manner.

Finally, Paid Media. It is very tempting, especially if a brand has money to spend, to immediately launch Paid Media campaigns. In my experience, this can be highly sub-optimal unless the other two buckets are functioning effectively. Brands can fall into the trap of jumping to the conclusion that it is Paid Media that is not working efficiently when results do not go their way, without acknowledging or accepting that the fault might well be that they lack a strong Owned (and Earned) Media strategy, or indeed that they might be lacking a strong customer value proposition.

In conclusion, if you are looking for ways to ramp up your digital marketing, take the time to think through exactly what you are trying to achieve, have an integrated strategy across all channels and be prepared to continuously learn and make adjustments on the basis of actual performance data.


The Customer of the Future (or We All Live in A Shared Economy)

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Continuing my reading on the rapidly changing customer purchase behaviours, I came across a few interesting articles over the past few days:

  1. The changing work and living spaces of millennials, Gen Z by Henry Skupniewicz
  2. The Future Of Stuff Is Shared Or Rented by Blake Morgan
  3. Customer of the Future Report published by Lippincott

Here are a few of my takeaways from these articles:

Changing work and living spaces:

  • People are not buying stuff that won’t fit into their lives logistically.
  • They are buying or even renting a single chair, instead of an entire set of furniture.
  • The consumption is more use-based rather than want-based.


Future of Stuff is Shared:

  • Modern customers crave freedom instead of being weighed down by possessions
  • The future of stuff is shared or rented


Customer of the Future:

  • Our lives will become increasingly de-located
  • Flexible models of work will be the norm
  • Ownership will yield to experience


Hopefully, the alternate title to this post would have become clear by now. There seems to be a distinct shift from ownership of assets to gaining experiences. This is being facilitated by technology, with many innovative companies offering services that are disrupting the traditional modes of consumption and tapping into this desire.

What does it mean for businesses? 

> Start paying close attention to this trend, in whichever industry you might be and wherever you might be located. I do not think this is a trend restricted to specific geographies or industries. You never know when you are likely to get disrupted!

> Keep asking the fundamental question of ‘What need of the customer am I trying to fulfill?’. And be open to the idea that the fulfillment of the need might not result in a sale of a product.

> What services can I (or would need to) offer that enables people to lead enriching, asset-light lives?

> What aspect of technology would I need to increasingly adopt to stay relevant?

These are times of fascinating and almost unprecedented change. Curiosity and adaptability are going to be key factors that can enable all of us as individuals and organisations adjust and embrace these changes.