Digital Marketing and Business Challenges

Introduction

Evolution is an integral aspect of marketing especially considering that the business environment is constantly changing. Digital marketing uses various media, which did not exist sometime back, and it is hard to predict to what marketing will evolve in some years to come. Being one of the rapidly growing areas in the field of marketing today, it brings with it a plethora of business marketing opportunities as well as challenges (Dodds 2011; Kennedy 2006). For a business entity to succeed, it must be determined to exploit these opportunities as well as overcome the challenges. The objective of this essay is to discuss both the opportunities and challenges which digital marketing presents to marketers, borrowing from previous studies. Also, it discusses how entities can develop and execute various digital marketing plans as part of their marketing process. By focusing on two organisations, the essay also shows how these organisations have incorporated digital marketing strategies in their marketing plans, while comparing and contrasting approaches adopted by the two.

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Digital marketing offers marketers a relatively less costly, effective mode of reaching customers. It is a very powerful instrument for winning new customers, keeping track of the existing ones, ensuring a productive business-customer relationship, and lastly, providing a very convenient way for the customer to give feedback on the goods and services they purchase. While insisting on the need to go digital or otherwise, be irrelevant, this huge need for digitalisation arises due to the need for agility, content optimisation as well marketing speed. This may be a very convenient way to manage the demand, increase the amount of e-sales, and also increase profitability by the use of the many opportunities which technology has brought about. Considering that many SMEs do not have sufficient resources to support most traditional marketing methods, they can work on small budgets to market electronically. It is evident that digital marketing is “global” (Madura 2007).

Therefore, firms, which have been effectively digitalised, will have the chance to reach global consumers in a cost and resource effective manner. In addition to that, marketing service suppliers such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, MySpace and others provide universal, and unified marketing tools without any discrimination. It is also an opportunity to establish direct contacts with their client. The digital possibilities provide immediate interaction and response from the client. The developments experienced in the field of information technology are bringing about a major challenge for businesses. Businesses have to face the fact that there has been a major shift in the power balance, resulting in highly empowered consumers. Considering the popularity of the internet in most parts of the world, there are many portals and users who offer free information and communications to other consumers about almost anything they would want to know. With their iPods, TiVos, computers, cell phones, and so on, they can access, browse, download, create, and also block content to see just what they need. This content proliferation has created a market situation where the customers are in control or can even control their experiences with the firms (Madox 2007).

This has been a major challenge for companies, because the balance of power becomes unfavourable. The constant evolution of digital marketing presents another major challenge for marketers, argues Wind and Mahajan (n.d). The instability is associated with a high degree of strategic uncertainty, where firms are completely in the dark when it comes to predicting the future (Wind and Mahajan n.d). Therefore, the firms ought to be as flexible and vigilant as possible so as to embrace the changes which occur with time. The major problem here is that strategies developed and implemented become outdated/obsolete very quickly, requiring the firms to move with the wave of changes. On-time responses are sometimes very difficult as change will sometimes be resisted. Companies likely to succeed are those whose mission, goals, strategies and organisational support-infrastructure are strategically developed and flexible enough to survive the complexity, dynamism, and the challenges which technology has brought (Madox 2007).

Many firms find that their digital marketing plans suffer because they are short off realism, or are highly over-optimistic when it comes to the opportunities which the digital world has to offer. An almost similar approach to traditional/offline marketing plans can be utilised when it comes to the online marketing strategies. A strategic process model should be applied, and it is very important that this plan is considered an important function the company’s overall marketing strategy. A two tier-approach could be utilised to incorporate the digital marketing strategies into the business strategic plan (Gay, Charlesworth and Esen 2006). Firstly, this would require the company to carry out marketing opportunity research or analysis, which would be a way of identifying the target stakeholders. In addition to that, this would be used to determine specific variables, which would be relied upon for product differentiation and help in the selection of a perfect positioning strategy. Secondly, the company should proceed to develop the value, offer, distribution, market relationship, and communication management strategies. Another alternative strategic approach to use will involve a number of elements, which are a situation analysis: establishing the connection of the e-marketing strategy to the overall marketing strategy, developing the plan’s objectives, implementation, budget, and an evaluation model (Gay, Charlesworth and Esen 2006). The situation analysis is utilised for the purposes of evaluating the marketing environment and determines the factors which affect the firms operations. Factors to consider include the political, societal, legal, technological economic and other factors which shape the companies strategies (Maddox 2007).

Dell and Boeing are two international corporations which have been in the forefront in the adoption and implementation of electronic marketing technologies. A comparison of the two companies reveals a number of differences when it comes to the usage of the online marketing channels. While both have worked to ensure significant online presence, it has been established that they two have had different objectives to meet with the digital marketing strategies they have instituted. Boeing’s corporate website, which was described as the “link farm” is currently designed for the purpose of making the company’s humanising content readily available and accessible (Callahan 2012). Currently, the company has found much value in YouTube, Twitter, blogs and other digital media. YouTube subscription has hit the 13,000 marks, while the first 787 flight advertisement received more than four million views. Blecher is convinced that the utilisation of social media is paying off, with post in popular websites such as NASA (Callahan 2012). One of Dell’s digital marketing tools is the online essential portal. The company uses it to educate its customers, make e-sales, address customers technical and issues, obtain feedback, advertise products, and so on. In collaboration with other agencies, Dell has initiated other public awareness creating initiatives related to online shopping.

A major difference between the two is that, while Dell makes sales through its online retail store, Todd Blecher, Boeing’s digital marketing director, indicates that the company does not sell aircrafts through social media or the internet. Dell has remained to be profitable selling its products online. It depends heavily on the WWW to support its direct distribution channel, which is also relied upon to collect customer feedback. The personalised customer service has enabled the firm to ensure lower prices for customers (Madura 2007). Though customers can pre-test computers in the company’s kiosks, orders have to be placed online. A relationship between the company and its customers is extended even after the purchase. Also, technical support issues are communicated through the online channel. Direct2Dell corporate bog, the IdeaStorm, Premier Page’s internet-based interfaces and a number of online forums are other tools used by dell to interact with clients (Ignatiuk 2008).

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In conclusion, it is essential for companies to realise how important it is for them to exploit all opportunities which the digital world presents. With the opportunity to achieve marketing goals in a quicker, cheaper and more efficient manner, business entities should be keen to embrace digital marketing. Digital media enables firms to establish better relationships with their customers, among other benefits. The challenges have to be overcome in order to ensure success of the marketing efforts. The interference with the balance of power does not favour businesses. Also, rapid changes associated with technology result in uncertainty, which is a challenge for many firms to keep up with the changes. If proper strategic plans are developed and implemented effectively, companies are likely to profit more from digital marketing.

List of References

Callahan, S 2012, Top Digital Marketers, B To B, vol. 97, no 6, p. 12,

Dodds, M 2011, ‘One Day, All Marketing Will Be Direct’, Marketing Week (01419285), vol. 34, no. 13, p. 48,

Gay, R, Charlesworth, A, and Esen, R 2006, Online marketing: a customer-led approach, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Ignatiuk, A 2008, Analysis of Dell’s business strategy: [research paper], München GRIN-Verl, München.

Kennedy, A 2006, Electronic Customer Relationship Management (eCRM): Opportunities and Challenges in a Digital World’, Irish Marketing Review, vol. 18, no. 1/2, pp. 58-68.

Maddox, K 2007, Marketers face challenges from economy to ecology. (cover story)’, B To B, vol. 92, no. 17, p. 1.

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Madura, J 2007, Introduction to business, Thompson/South-Western, Mason, OH.

Wind, J, and Mahajan, V n.d, The Challenge of Digital Marketing. The Wharton School & University of Texas at Austin. Web.

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