By Bhavik Sarkhedi.
The technology is so fast paced today that it is difficult to catch up with all the new trends. It’s crucial in such an environment to devise and explore new ways to sell the products you have or the services you desire to provide. The future will be guided not by traditional means, but technical inventions. Under these circumstances, digital marketing offers a dimension to connect with millions of people instantaneously. Exploring deeper into the major digital subcultures of netizens, youth and women will therefore serve as a fundamental rule to attract a new breed of customers.
There have been many successful digital campaigns in marketing in the past, but all such campaigns fail to appreciate the idea of the empowered and informed customer. The gap between the buyer’s deficiency of knowledge and the seller’s advantage of secrecy is reducing fast. Hence, approaching the targeted audience on digital platforms is altogether different from traditional methods. Furthermore, the internet offers the scope to learn so much about the customers. One can identify their habits, preferences and get an insight into their buying patterns, tastes, likings and so on. It has become more interesting than ever! There is only one fundamental rule- know more to sell more. This article focuses on how to become a pro at digital marketing, offering insights and strategies.
One of the most popular frameworks to describe and understand the consumer behaviour is Attention, Interest, Desire and Action; referred to as AIDA. The term AIDA was coined by a sales king of the early 1900’s, Elmo Lewis, who died in 1951. This serves as an agenda for marketing executives in order to customize, strategize and energize their marketing process so as to approach a huge population base. In this strategy, Elmo Lewis explained that firstly, the sales pitch should be such that it grabs the most attention. Something that grabs attention will surely arouse the interest of the customers. After the initial two stages, the business must try to create desire for the product. This can be done by offering discounts, providing freebies and so on. Lastly, force your customers to purchase the product. This applies to the arena of digital marketing as well.
The 4A Technique
Since its inception, the marketing strategy of AIDA has undergone numerous changes to suit the changing needs of the business to attract more and more people. Derek Rucker, a faculty at the Kellogg School of Management, indicates that instead of following a conventional marketing strategy such as AIDA technique, one should follow the 4A strategy- Aware, Attitude, Acting and Acting Again. He clubs the Interest and the Desire stages to simplify it to a more realistic Attitude stage, and goes on to add an altogether new stage ‘Acting Again’. The modified framework empowers the organisation to not only consider the interest of the consumer till the purchase of the product, but also retain the product and maintain the customer loyalty.
As against the one provided by Elmo Lewis, Derek Rucker’s 4A strategy is much simpler to utilize and easier to apply. It mainly characterizes the entire marketing strategy into a shortlisting process. It can be briefly described as under-
- Aware – Under this, the customer gets to know the brand. It is simply an ice breaking strategy and making the customer feel valued about the brand.
- Attitude – At this stage, the customer will form an opinion about the brand. It can be broadly classified into two categories- Good or Bad. If the customer decides to go ahead with the brand, he will move to the next stage. If he decides otherwise, it’s over.
- Act – Action is the most crucial step of the 4A framework. At this stage, the customer decides whether or not he must purchase the product. If the first two stages go well, he will proceed with the purchase. However, it must be born in mind that the customer will indulge into purchase only when his willingness is backed by the capacity to pay.
- Act again – Based on his/ her experience, the customer will decide whether he would want to purchase your product again or not. This is also called the ‘retaining principle’.
Under the marketing strategy provided by Rucker, the number of customers will go on declining as they move onto the next stage. This is because not all consumers who are aware have the right attitude to purchase. Not all having the right attitude will act and so on. Various parameters come into play and hence, it is essential to keep a knowhow of how many customers are moving on to the next stage. Ideally, if the turnout after each stage is higher than 60%, it is a sign that the customers like the product and are willing to take a chance. Under such circumstance, you must quickly act to sell your product before another competitive player enters into the market or a better strategy emerges.
What should you do?
Follow the 3i strategy given by renowned digital marketing expert- Ian Dodson which forms the foundation of all successful digital marketing strategies. These principles are- Initiate, Iterate and Integrate–
This principle states that the customer is the start and the end of all digital activities. An average consumer moves to the internet to find answers to all his problems, everything. Leveraging it by using smart SEO tools may increase the outreach of your product manifold. One also needs to be smart and specific about the customers he is targeting. There are many websites, blogs and social media profiles that offer non-specific content without specifically focusing on the users. Your customers are really looking for you online, are you listening?
The moment you post an add, you can start seeing the click through rates, response rates and conversion rates. In response to the user actions, you can customize the content or design of the ad. This ability to track responses and tweak accordingly is one of the most amazing features of the internet, which leads to the third ’I’- Iterate. This principle accentuates the significance of adapting to fit the customer response in your digital marketing campaign. When the iterative process is applied, you could increase the efficiency of your digital marketing campaign multifold.
In this, the efforts across various digital channels get integrated. It improves the effectiveness at the whole and is crucial to effective digital marketing. Integration is a very easy process. It could even be sharing of knowledge with your team members, as it improves your effectiveness throughout. Some good examples of integration are-
- Integrating digital and traditional marketing strategies
- Integrating different reporting sources etc.
Thus, amidst this vast ocean of knowledge and opportunity, take your first move forward to explore the vast prospects in digital marketing!