3 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Start Digital Marketing
If there is one global truth these days, it’s that everyone is ready for the COVID-19 pandemic to be over and for life to return to normal.
If there is another, it’s that COVID-19 cemented the fact that the internet is the most important tool available to humans.
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Since it first went live in 1991, the internet has been the most dominant piece of technology at our disposal. Over the past 30 years, we’ve evolved from sending tiny bits of information through a connected cable, to downloading entire movies to a personal, pocket-sized computer in a matter of seconds. It’s even estimated that some 50% of the world’s population has regular access to the internet, and tech billionaires are working to provide access to the other 50% through glorified weather balloons!
Yet, despite all the advances in internet technology and the dramatic adoption of the internet as a global marketplace, some businesses are still reluctant to be a part of the digital age and have yet to fully invest in digital marketing.
You may be reading this and be thinking, “well, digital marketing doesn’t fit with my industry”, or, “my business is doing just fine without it.”
Sorry to say, but here is another truth: the present and future of marketing and sales are digital.
If you are still unconvinced that investing heavily in digital marketing is right for your business, here are three reasons why you should.
The COVID-19 Expressway
Many have called COVID-19 a Black Swan Event, a singular event that came as a surprise and made a significant impact on the world at large. In many ways, this is true. If there were people who predicted the pandemic and its potential impact, they were a silent micro-minority. Even now, over a year after the onset, we don’t fully understand the pandemic’s long-term effects.
But as digital marketers, we immediately identified one outcome as soon as the world went into lockdown, and that was the fast-tracking of the digital economy’s ascension to dominance.
Much like what happened during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s, when e-commerce giant Alibaba was born out of necessity, varying degrees of lockdown around the world during COVID-19 signalled that commerce, social interactions, and business was going digital. Marketers were quick to jump on the opportunity to grow their business by reallocating their budgets to focus on the digital sphere.
The businesses that were successful during the pandemic already had a robust digital presence and were well-equipped to augment their strategies to take advantage of an influx of new business. Those that were unprepared faltered.
There is no reason to believe that the world will go back to pre-pandemic commerce as we look forward. The digital economy was burgeoning and becoming dominant before the first wave of infections, and COVID-19 has only expedited the transition.
There is no turning back.
E-commerce is Dominating Asia
Around 2 billion people live in Southeast Asia and Greater China. With e-commerce logistics being what they are today, it’s never been easier to reach potential customers outside your country’s borders. Today, both Hong Kong and Mainland China have free trade agreements with ASEAN countries, making it cost-effective for brands to export their goods and sell overseas.
E-commerce players like JD, Lazada, and Shopee have also made it simple to list your products online and sell them to customers around the region, even if you don’t have a proper distributor. But, as any good salesperson or marketer knows, listing products is just “step one” in the sales process.
To take advantage of the explosive growth of e-commerce, in part due to COVID-19, and to find success overseas, businesses need to invest in digital marketing in the countries where they wish to sell. A Hong Kong company with products available for sale in Thailand, for example, would be wise to partner with an online marketing company in Bangkok.
Working with a digital agency in a foreign market ensures that your brand and products will be marketed correctly to your target audience. Tailoring marketing content to a new audience in a new market is called “localisation” and is one of the most critical facets of international marketing. Despite geographic proximity, no two markets in the region have the same consumer and cultural behaviour, putting the onus on marketers to adapt.
While pursuing multinational expansion may seem daunting, it can be executed well if you choose the right business partners. The potential for growth is so great that your local and foreign competitors are likely already ahead of you.
That said, an impactful digital marketing strategy can elevate your brand’s value and equity and help you gain market dominance.
Digital Natives are Driving the Bus
Whether you are in the FMCG industry or focus on B2B sales, your main customers are likely digital natives. Digital natives are people who grew up in the internet age, with unlimited information at their fingertips.
Digital natives use modern technology to solve their problems and are easily influenced by things they see online. The internet is their primary resource for everything. Considering that the percentage of adults who have grown up in the digital age is only increasing, it makes logical sense for brands to market to them on the platforms they use.
Today, most shoppers learn about new brands through digital marketing. They search generic keywords on Google and trust that the top-ranking website is the best. They see influencers on social media promote a product and assume that it must be good. They talk about things with their friends and start to see advertisements for related products across their social media channels. Your end-users or B2B buyers are young, have money, and trust that the internet shows them the best products available. But as marketers, we know that a brand’s internet presence is only as good as its digital marketing strategy.
To conquer the growing digital native consumer segment, businesses need to make sure that all of their digital marketing bases are covered.
From Google Ads and Search Engine Optimisation to catchy graphic design and engaging social media content, digital marketing has many different outputs. Having a strong digital presence is no longer a competitive advantage. Today, and moving forward, it is and will be the most essential aspect of a brand’s overall marketing strategy.
So, what are you waiting for?