Digital marketing has many advantages and disadvantages, but do the pros outweigh the cons or is it vice versa? Indeed there is a lot of hype on how Digital marketing today is imperative for businesses of all sizes, but should you buy into the hype?
In the words of Bill Gates, “If your business is not on the Internet, your business will be out of business.” That was harsh, but in the digital era, it is difficult to not believe it. Provided your digital marketing needs, let’s weigh the good and bad of Digital marketing, both in terms of Digital marketing as a whole and the Digital marketing niches such as email marketing, SEO, Content marketing, PPC, and so on.
Before we dive in, do you know what Digital marketing is?
Digital marketing is the art and science of strategically selling your products online or meeting other marketing goals (brand awareness, community building, revenue generation, etc). This is done by pushing your products with paid ads or by earning your customer traffic with consistent value addition. Value addition, though, costs money in-house, saves your advertising budget, and builds a brand for the long term if executed correctly.
Advantages of digital marketing
Trackable, measurable results
Digital marketing offers an opportunity to track every single detail of what is working out in marketing and what is not. You can track impressions, open rates of emails, acquisition, conversion, click-through rates on your CTA on any platform (email, ad campaign, website, video on Youtube, blog articles, and so on), the source of traffic, the geographical location, user journey, at which point the user dropped off without purchasing, analytics of how your new campaign is performing against your old campaign, and so much more.
With digital marketing, you have a precise number backing all your marketing efforts and performance, which is usually not the case in traditional forms of advertising. In traditional advertising, let’s say we set up a billboard, we never know precisely how many people even looked at the billboard, let alone the people who saw the billboard and went ahead to make the purchase.
Lower cost than traditional media
While traditional media costs big and only significant size brands can afford it, organic Digital marketing can be undertaken with no money but only time and effort, and even paid advertisements can be started with the lowest of budgets which makes it an opportunity for small businesses to sell online.
Automation and personalization tools online help you reach out to your customers by calling their first names directly to them, providing them an offer exactly on the item they left in their cart, and offering them a feeling of uniqueness with customized deals, recommendations that this customer is likely to explore based on previous purchase pattern or choice.
It’s like building a human connection with your customer with automated tools. This is not available in traditional forms of advertising, where the promotion is built for the masses with no options for customization, whatsoever.
Higher conversion rates
Customers nowadays are more comfortable making a purchase online. Digital marketing efforts alone receive 50% more engagement than traditional forms of media. Providing lower marketing cost and higher conversion rates online has helped businesses achieve greater returns on investment from Digital marketing.
Higher return on investment
One-third of industry professionals say that SEO, content marketing, and email marketing contribute to their highest return on investments. Email marketing alone can generate a sale of $5 on an investment of $1, with an ROI of 5:1. This is a good enough basis point to understand the impact digital marketing channels have on generating revenue for businesses.
Loyalty & authority
Gone are the days when brands used to spend billions of dollars on marketing to build authority alone. The digital age has allowed the smallest businesses to establish themselves as an authority by creating content that adds value to the life of potential customers and building a community of loyal followers who are more likely to make a purchase and promote the brand with word of mouth.
According to a survey, 86% of users trust Reddit when it comes to new products or brand recommendations. Also, these customers are 9X faster in their decision-making.
Global + Local reach
A jewelry brand in India can sell to customers in Canada, and break global barriers of business through digital marketing channels. Similarly, taking Zomato for example used a hyper-local SEO strategy to target its customers who were looking for local recommendations and nailed the local digital marketing strategy. This helped Zomato outperform Swiggy, its competitor in India.
Works excellent with sales funnel
With digital marketing, a funnel can be created that represents the entire journey of a customer through different stages. There are various models of customer journey funnels such as AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action), and all the fundamental concepts remain the same. Here we can think of the Digital marketing funnel to have six stages:
- Customer Relationship
A digital marketing strategy can be built to optimize for each of these stages by doing these:
- Building brand awareness
- Identifying the target audience for each stage in the funnel
- Determine what you want to achieve
- Setting up a funnel for each TG to take them to the end marketing goal
- Targeting each group on suitable digital channels
- Measure the result of digital marketing campaigns and optimize them further
- Take special care of the retained customers as they contribute to 67% more sales compared to new acquisitions.
Pinpointing your TA
In a brick & mortar shop, you don’t have a say in who comes into your store. Often people who are not even your potential buyers,l swing by. But digital marketing provides you tools and options to target precisely the people who are either looking for your product/services (both organic and paid digital marketing) or have made similar purchases in the past (paid marketing).
Want to start selling today? Great, paid campaigns allow you to do just that. Even though it’s as easy as setting up a small ad group and running a standalone campaign, it takes some time for an individual to understand the entire process and optimize the campaign for better results. For someone who has experience with PPC campaigns and performance marketing, Digital marketing is indeed the fastest way to generate business with some monetary investments.
In the image, it is an ad set up by Butternut Box, that pops up when someone makes a search query for “Fresh dog food”. The search results may differ based on geographical location, bidding factors, etc.
Disadvantages of Digital Marketing
Skills & training
Without learning and practicing Digital marketing it is next to impossible to set up an effective campaign and drive results. Getting skilled requires knowledge, practice & most of the time guidance to ensure you are not stuck with the wrong tactics that can harm your digital marketing campaign.
For newbies in digital marketing, we have launched a do-learn-do Digital Marketing Bootcamp. In only 3 months, a newbie can turn into a Digital marketing wizard and either start their own Digital marketing agency, successfully promote their business online or build a career in Digital marketing. Explore the curriculum and details →
With a CAGR of 17.6% between 2021 and 2026, Digital marketing has been attracting many more businesses, hence many more Digital marketers. The growing competition makes it difficult to rank. Nonetheless, a strategic approach that’s in line with the latest trends has managed to bring even local brands to the top and will continue to do so. As the industry of sellers online is expanding, more buyers are hoping on Digital channels, making it still a lucrative marketing opportunity.
For organic forms of digital marketing such as Content marketing and SEO, the results take a substantial amount of time to reflect any outcomes. This can range from 3 months to 6 months. Even with paid campaigns such as PPC and Performance marketing, the skill itself needs to be mastered to see profitable results with high ROIs. It indeed takes time but Digital marketing is the present and future of selling. Therefore, the amount of time invested in a trusting plan yields long-term benefits.
Trial & error
The process of Digital marketing is full of making mistakes, or executing things that don’t yield any results and then identifying the lagging points to improvise the campaign and experiment again. It’s an ongoing process. One gets better at this trial and error with time, but no digital marketing plan is a 100% optimized plan and there is always something to improve upon.
Negative feedbacks are open to public
If your past client posted a negative review of yours on third-party apps, unfortunately, it’s out in the public domain and you cannot delete it. This is likely to harm your business as 86% of customers hesitate to buy from brands that have negative reviews.
Frequently changing algorithms
Changing algorithms of Google alone has impacted so many online marketers who invested years to build massive traction with their SEO. Then comes the constant change of algorithms across platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The strategies that worked yesterday may not work today. The pace with which things change online also demands that digital marketer stays on their toes for spotting any change and altering the direction to match what’s in demand and abandon what’s not in demand anymore.
There are tools such as SEMrush that tell you clearly what your competitors are doing, what they are ranking for, and so on. While this may be great for research and application, the recipe of your Digital marketing success will also be out in the public domain. Your competitors are most likely to look your strategies up and implement them.
Accessibility (1/3rd of the world still don’t use internet)
Not all your customers are online. Only 67% of the global population is online and the rest of the population cannot be tapped on the internet to sell your products. The moment you decide to take your business online, it is imperative for you to ask yourself “Is my TG there?” If yes, then what percentage of them are online. Number one rule of marketing is to be where your customer is.
Despite the cons of digital marketing, the pros are substantially impactful for businesses and Digital marketing aspirants. If you are someone who stays aware of the changing surrounding and dynamically upgrades oneself then Digital marketing is a great avenue for you to grow professionally. And you can easily do this with a Digital marketing bootcamp where you learn 20% of the time with theory and 80% of the time with practice on real industry projects. This is one of the most effective forms of learning Digital marketing, as this field is entirely execution based.
Explore the curriculum and further details of Digital Marketing Bootcamp by SkillCamper.