4 challenges that the Philippine digital marketing industry must overcome to mature

By Hazel del Rosario-Lee

Managing Director

Oracle NetSuite Philippines

The marketing mix is most commonly executed through the 4 P's of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place.  Business owners use these principles to generate revenue by retaining and attracting customers through large or small-scale activities using conventional media like print, radio, or TV.

Increasingly, the advent of new digital channels to reach demanding consumers necessitates a shift beyond traditional modes of promotional campaigns to new ways to engage customers. To connect with digital-savvy consumers, it is more important than ever before, to engage with consumers through sales and promotional campaigns via digital platforms such as social media, websites, customized e-mail, and ecommerce sites.

The benefits of digital marketing have been a topic for discussion time and time again. Due to the pervasiveness of the Internet and the ubiquity of access devices like smartphones, digital media has become more affordable than print media to reach a wider audience. There are more channels that can be used to make relevant offers and these are likely to reach the ‘always on’ target audience more often.

But for marketers around the world, the ongoing transition or transformation of modern marketing into the digital realm foists its own challenges.

Firstly, consumers have more access to information than ever before. The onus is on marketers to help businesses get effective brand exposure with the right audience, particularly those consumers with a short attention span.

Secondly, the ‘customer journey’ is the way in which marketing campaigns facilitate the consumer’s awareness of new products leading them to purchase and use it and then influence others to try it out. Again, new marketing platforms can complicate the journey as they offer more options to the consumer than ever before.

Thirdly, increasingly, customers expect an improved experience with every engagement. More often than not, this expectation entails a higher level of personalized interaction between customers and suppliers which needs to be enabled by the marketer. Customers now want their previous interactions with the brand to be ‘recognized’ and expect personalized attention. As such, their experience across digital channels must be unique and consistent to ensure brand loyalty. The marketer, armed with the right information, can customize the customer experience from product preference to the mode of delivery or the level of service that they are willing to pay for.

Data-driven platforms

Fourthly, digital-based marketing is shaking up business functions. At best, marketing must work hand-in-hand with the entire business as opposed to the old accounts-based model where marketing was often oblivious to other departmental concerns.  Its main objective was to accomplish basic deliverables like driving traffic – retaining existing customers and acquiring new ones in an effort to increase sales.

All these challenges emanate from a plethora of data generated by various digital platforms that the marketer is expected to apply in order to create content that meet, or rather exceed, customer expectations.

The ultimate goal is to have a single view of the customer. However, the vast amounts of customer data from several sources can be seen as a burden to marketers who previously managed content for limited consumption. They now have hundreds of consumers vying for individual recognition.

At its core, the marketer must be able to handle both the creative side of their function and the tools that would help him analyze the habits of primary buyers. It’s the only way to ensure allegiance and return engagement from satisfied customers.

There is no question that humans have a creative side. Technology can only do so much to capture buyer tendencies through number crunching and statistical trends but only a human can deliver the right message in words and images that respond to the expressed needs of another human being, the consumer, to initiate awareness and eventual purchase.

New analytical tools allow the marketer to draw intelligent insights on customer behavior from a deluge of digital data. This helps to alleviate manual work that in turn, can be used more productively in other areas of marketing like the planning and execution of targeted promotional campaigns.

The foregoing observations can then be leveraged by top management to provide fresh directions and innovative strategies to guide the marketing staff in developing timely, customer-targeted campaigns. There’s no more room for spray-and-see-what-sticks mode of marketing a product or service.

In today’s marketing world, consumers have the upper hand and marketers should do what they can to engage the target audience through their preferred channel.