Digital Marketing’s Opportunities and Challenges

Digital marketing involves the transfer of information about a brand using internet-based technologies. The marketing strategies are delivered with the help of video or audio technology. Goods and services are customized to the needs of clients and advertised over the web thereby reaching the consumer efficiently and quickly. Examples of technologies applied in digital marketing include the use of “banner, e-mail, and instant messages, pop up advertisements, pay per click, search engine optimization, RSS, and voice broadcasting” (Day, 2011, p.184). Technological advancement has changed marketing strategies to integrate social media and other applications.

Currently, a variety of digital techniques are available to organizations that are keen on succeeding in promoting their brands. Digital technology has also altered consumption behaviours, yielding various marketing opportunities. In spite of the perceived opportunities, organizations still have to cope with the challenges associated with digital marketing including merging digital marketing strategies with the objectives of the company so as to reap the potential benefits of the new media. Digital technology has disrupted traditional marketing concepts, hence the need for organizations to reexamine the uniqueness of the brands they introduce to their consumers. Nowadays, clients have a wide range of goods and services available to them through digital technology, thus organizations strive to remain relevant by creating brands that meet and satisfy the expectations of the clients (Mulhern, 2009). This discussion seeks to highlight the opportunities and challenges presented to organizations implementing digital marketing techniques. Organizations are continuously investing more in digital marketing to optimize their profits in terrain that features aggressive marketing strategies. The outcome of these increased investments is market fragmentation, which has led to decreased effectiveness. Organizations must focus on meeting the expectations of their clients through effective delivery of goods and services in order to succeed. Successful organizations, therefore, utilize new media to understand consumers’ behaviour while shopping, and then design personalized commodities (Mulhern, 2009).

According to Mulhern (2009), digital technology provides organizations with a number of opportunities. Organizations develop new markets for their brands by implementing digital marketing so as to expand their horizons and gain competitive advantage. Digital technology supersedes traditional barriers such as language and cultural differences to access their clients, thus gaining more economic benefits. Digital marketing also presents opportunities which are both quantitative and qualitative. It creates alternative communication channels for clients and enhances interactive business processes. Transactions can be performed at enhanced speed and efficiency while responses and queries are processed almost immediately. However, many organizations do not have a thorough comprehension of the digital marketing environment and the challenges that are dominant in this environment. Digital technology enhances client-organization relationships as well as competition among firms. Digital media increased market competition as a result of the increased access, elimination of geographical boundaries and decreased entry barriers. This technology gives the suppliers more bargaining powers as a result of the availability of many buyers and the increased amount of information they have about the organization. As this technology increases the market competition, the clients gain more bargaining power (Mulhern, 2009). Another significant challenge organizations have to face due to the improvements in digital marketing is the lowered barriers to entry. This means that other firms and substitutes join a firm’s market niche with relative ease. Since new technology can provide comparisons of goods and services to be done, organizations must also strive to avoid engaging in price wars.

Digital marketing presents opportunities for organizations to create a more interactive environment with consumers than traditional marketing avenues had. This facilitates the design of marketing strategies that are able to meet the needs of consumers. According to Day (2011), new media enables organizations to tailor products and services to meet the needs of individual customers. Using digital media like e-mail and mobile marketing, organizations have a chance to perform direct marketing and thus interact with clients. The organizations, therefore, get opportunities to obtain feedback from the consumers. This feedback can be integrated into the design of their brands. Besides these great opportunities, Day (2011) also identifies future challenges posed by digital technology to organizations. The main challenge for organizations is developing long term strategies due to the dynamic nature of new media. Digital technology changes rapidly and advanced technologies come up extremely fast. Some organizations also focus more on new media and neglect basic marketing elements such as relevance and differentiation. Consumer behaviours such as a preference for touch and feel effects requires organizations to encourage both the traditional marketing models and the latest models based on new media. This means that organizations have to incur additional expenses to implement both models (Day, 2011).

According to Valos, Ewing & Powell (2010), changing from the traditional ways of marketing to the implementation of new media is also a problem for many organizations. This is because employees tend to resent this technology. Because of the great selection of digital technology, organizations have to struggle and understand the synergies of the different media in implementing digital marketing. Organizations must at times integrate the various platforms of technology with the same functions and manage the consumers’ movement between the digital and traditional models of marketing. Some clients have a wrong perception of digital media, particularly of privacy and confidentiality issues. Other technologies are known to be too intrusive, especially those with web-bugs and cookies. These perceptions erode the trust customers have in the company’s brands. These negative consumer perceptions pose a challenge to organizations, thus there is a need to address these concerns in order to strengthen the trust and confidentiality the consumers have in the firm’s brands (Valos, Ewing & Powell, 2010).

In implementing digital marketing, Valos (2009) identifies a number of opportunities organizations can achieve. The greatest opportunities include higher revenues and cost-effectiveness. As the geographic, cultural and language barriers become redundant, organizations reap from the widened market. Organizations achieve enhanced social and personal interactions with their consumers. Digital technology can facilitate decision making in organizations and promote innovativeness. Through the utilization of new media, marketers can have real-time interactions with the clients, thus the ability to be provided with immediate feedback. Organizations can optimize their profits by employing new media technologies such as social networking in their advertising. This is because organizations can utilize digital marketing to reach a vast number of consumers in the shortest time possible.

Organizations use different approaches to plan and implement digital marketing tools in their marketing activities. These approaches are based on customer preferences, interactivity and trust (Rappaport, 2010). In planning and implementing digital marketing, organizations must develop systems for assessing their investment costs and design infrastructures to support digital tools. The organizations must also put in place mechanisms for evaluating the success of new media. All these approaches must integrate clients’ feedback into the firm’s brands and also create new avenues of communication (Rappaport, 2010).

Some organizations have been able to maximize the opportunities provided by digital media. Such organizations have achieved competitive advantage, in spite of the challenges brought about by digital media. Examples of these organizations include publishing firms like Redbook and Moose River Media which have utilized social media to improve their marketing activities. In its “Redbook National Happy Hour” (Kinsman & Botelho, 2011, p. 39) campaign, Redbook integrated social media into its marketing strategies by creating a web landing page to understand its consumers and interact with them. During the “fluid film campaign” (Kinsman & Botelho, 2011, p. 39), the marketing group of Moose River Media utilized “moose river fluid media” (Kinsman & Botelho, 2011, p. 39) to reach consumers. The two organizations developed videos and encouraged customers’ feedback. The feedback was later utilized in delivering samples of products to potential consumers.

In conclusion, the increased use of digital technology in marketing presents both opportunities and challenges to organizations. Opportunities arise as a result of the increase in avenues and platforms for engaging with consumers. Some of the challenges that organizations face in implementing digital marketing tools include the complexities related to controlling costs, coordinating and integrating the different tools. According to Edelman (2010), new media have brought additional responsibilities for marketers. However, in many organizations staffing and budgetary needs have not been addressed to match new media.

List of References

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Edelman, DC 2010, ‘Gaining an edge through digital marketing’, McKinsey Quarterly, 00475394, issue 3, pp. 129-134.

Kinsman, M & Botelho, S 2011, ‘New frontiers: case studies in social media marketing’, Folio, Web.

Mulhern, F 2009, ‘Integrated marketing communications: from media channels to digital connectivity’, Journal of Marketing Communications, vol. 15, no. 2 &3, pp 85-101

Rappaport, SD 2010, ‘Listening solutions’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 50, no. 2, pp 197-213.

Valos, M 2009, ‘Structure, people and process challenges of multichannel marketing: insights from marketers’, Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management, vol. 16, no. 3, pp 197- 206.

Valos, M, Ewing, M & Powell, I 2010, practitioner prognostics on the future of online marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Web.