Soon after the advent of the 21st century, digital media took over the world. Its significance in our lives today is unparalleled, so it isn’t surprising that with the growth of digital media, its usage as a means of advertisement grew, and that too, rapidly.
Defining Digital Media Marketing
Digital media marketing has multiple definitions according to different sources but in basic terms, it is just a means of advertisement using the Internet. Today, every business needs to have a digital marketing strategy in place, otherwise, they will simply cease to exist. Even in a developing country like Pakistan, 75% of the population has access to broadband internet, which means that all those people are potential customers for companies advertising using digital media.
Careem: An Exemplary Player in the Digital Arena
As we discuss the what, why, and how of digital media marketing, we want to begin by giving everyone an example of a company that is impossible to miss in the digital arena: Careem.
Careem has taken Pakistan by storm and reached a phenomenal place in a short period of time. As with any product or service, the quality of service Careem provides is majorly responsible for their success, but their digital media marketing campaign is also to thank. They are hard to miss; they have promos that they advertise nearly every day on major social media platforms. Other than that, they team up with other well-renowned companies to implement campaigns where they give their customers discounts if they are going to a particular event or to a restaurant; an example is their recent campaign with Nandos.
To start your marketing campaign right, you need to study all the companies who are already getting it right in Pakistan, and the methods they are employing to do so. Now, for any business looking to enter the competitive world of digital media marketing, be it in Pakistan or in any other part of the world, they need to first put into place a digital marketing strategy.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
Your digital marketing strategy is basically the method you have in place to achieve your goals. It considers your current situation, where you want to be, what assets you currently have, how your company has previously performed and which tactics you need to employ in the future.
We can break down exactly how a company will build a marketing strategy.
Steps to Building a Digital Media Marketing Strategy
The first step is to find out who your customers are. Determining the characteristics of your perfect customer to get an idea of the buyer persona is essential to begin.
To do this accurately, you need to collect a significant amount of authentic data using online research or direct communication. Marketing developers consider the customer’s age, location, affordability, goals, priorities, hobbies, and interests, among other things.
- Identify Marketing Goals
A business needs to outline its marketing goals. For example, a company could be aiming for an increase of 25% in their sales or could be hoping to reach a wider base of customers by expanding their social media reach. Once the goals have been identified, you need to start looking for appropriate marketing tools. There is a wide range of tools available for marketing, but here we will give a brief overview of some of the most efficient and common tools available:
This program helps to optimize your website through keyword research and by carrying out an SEO audit on your blog. It allows bloggers to produce content that their audience wants to read.
It allows you to find out what content is doing well depending on a topic or on a website. The marketing developer can then base their content on what’s popular and what’s not.
This is a back-link checker and analysis tool for SEO.
- Google Analytics
This powerful tool is free and extremely useful. It tells you how many people are visiting your website, who they are, where they live and what they do while they browse your website. It aids enormously in marketing to the right customer.
- Open Site Explorer
Using this tool, you can find out how your competitors are getting inbound links and thus target the same customers accordingly.
Nearly every marketer has heard of this tool. It is a major source of link analytics, SEO optimization, content management, and social media marketing.
This tool is essential to digital media marketing today. It allows you to make posters, headings, social media graphics, presentations, and many more similar visual representations of content.
Once you have decided which tools you want to use, the next step in building your strategy is evaluating your assets. These can be divided into owned, earned and paid media.
- Owned media
These are all the platforms which your company owns completely and can include your website, social media accounts, blog content, or imagery such as videos.
- Earned media
This refers to press mentions, positive reviews, guest posts, or basically any recognition you received because of the digital media marketing you have already been carrying out.
- Paid media
This is self-explanatory and refers to advertisements that you have paid for.
It isn’t necessary to work with all three kinds of media, but it is recommended to incorporate at least two in your strategy to run a successful digital media marketing campaign.
- Audit Your Media
Once you have analyzed and managed your assets, the next step, also an essential one, is to audit your owned media. Naturally, your owned media is the most important part of your assets. The first thing to do is audit your existing content, to determine which of your assets are performing well and which aren’t. This will identify the areas you need to focus on more, and which things you can consider omitting from your strategy.
You also need to locate any elements that are potentially missing from or lacking in your current marketing strategy. This is done mainly by assessing your buyer persona carefully to see which needs of your customers you aren’t catering to yet, so you can incorporate it into the revised strategy.
Once you have gathered enough information through the above-mentioned steps, you can start to create a content plan. Your plan should contain a title, format, goal, promotional channels, and reasons why you are creating it.
The reason you need to audit your earned media is to evaluate where you’re getting the most attention from, thus outlining how you should focus more on those avenues. You audit your paid media, on the other hand, to decide where you need to invest more and where you need to cut back on. There is no point in spending most of your money advertising on a certain platform if you are not seeing the expected results. If this is the case, maybe it is time to find a new platform to invest in. Inefficient management of your company’s funds can be extremely hazardous to its development.
Digital Media Marketing Trends in Pakistan
While this is the correct method to establish an effective digital media marketing strategy, we will next elaborate the trends on which you need to be focusing on to enhance your sales.
In Pakistan, digital media marketing is slowly but surely taking over the marketing arena. Major companies have started using digital media to advertise their products.
Let’s begin with a platform for communication which has taken over the entire world: social media. Social media marketing is the cornerstone of digital media marketing. Every company, and we mean literally every company, needs to be active on social media. What is the reason for this? Practically everyone is on social media in today’s day and age. From your eight-year-old cousin to your seventy-five-year-old grandfather, everyone has somewhat of a presence on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. All these social media users are potential customers, and brands can gain their attention by advertising on the respective platforms effectively.
Let’s discuss the leading social media platforms for a clearer view of which ones are the most effective in reaching your customers and what benefits they offer.
Today, it is hard to find an individual who isn’t a user of Facebook. We have all received friend requests from our aged school teachers, relatives, and the young ones in our families even. The benefits associated with Facebook are first, related to how large of a platform it has become. Statistics show that there are about 2.07 billion active users of Facebook worldwide, with 30 million users in Pakistan alone. Many companies are recognizing the potential of this platform and are starting to use it to fulfil their marketing needs. In Pakistan, posts from all clothing brands such as Khaadi, Generation, and Gul Ahmed pop up on our Newsfeeds every two seconds, giving us an update on their latest collections or informing us of upcoming discounts. This leads to an individual, previously only scrolling through their Facebook, to click on their screens to be directed to the company’s Facebook page to view the entire collection and possibly to purchase something as well.
Another major benefit is the freedom to choose what kind of content you post on Facebook. You can post in the form of text, pictures, video, or a combination of all three among other things. Other than that, the newly introduced feature, Facebook Live, is a useful tool to enhance your reach and have a one-on-one conversation with your customers. You can take them backstage or show them the behind-the-scenes visuals before a fashion show, allow them to be digitally present at a launch, or show them how your shop or factory runs. An example can be the behind-the-scenes dance practices we always see circulating on social media whenever we have any major television award ceremony coming up such as the Hum Style Awards. This method allows you to evoke interest in your consumer, as now more people will want to tune in to the show, to watch their favourite actors performing their favourite dance numbers.
Facebook also gives you the greatest amount of data about your customer. This allows you to model your marketing strategy accordingly.
Another feature of Facebook that is extremely important for marketing is the ‘share’ option. Once someone shares your post, it shows up on the Newsfeed of people who haven’t even liked your page, thus bringing added traffic to it. If you shared Sulafah’s announcement of a winter sale, you help in spreading the word among your entire circle. Once you post something, make sure it gets as many shares as possible as this will benefit you immensely.
Facebook also offers targeted ads to marketers, which allows your message to be seen by relevant individuals.
Make sure you have a Facebook page, as, without it, your business will be at a definite disadvantage.
This platform has developed at an explosive rate since it came into the market. Today, Instagram has reached a whopping 800 million users and is a favourite amongst the youth. Most teenagers these days have accounts on Instagram, even if they are not on Facebook.
The major attraction on Instagram pictures. With the picture quality of smartphone cameras improving at an astonishing rate, people can now post their pictures directly from their phones. Instagram is also used to announce the coming of a new movie or drama by many of our actors nowadays. By posting related pictures, they let their fans know about projects they are currently part of or remind them to tune into a particular episode of a drama serial. The cast of Rangreza, for example, regularly updated their fans about the progress of the movie, thus ensuring that an increased amount of people showed up to the screening. Posting a picture which garners the correct amount of attention is a form of art, one your digital media team must be perfect at it.
Other than that, you can also post 15-second videos on Instagram, again giving your company the ability to show your consumers something which will get them interested in your product, in a unique yet quick manner.
Instagram has now also introduced the use of ads, which helps in targeting the correct audience for your campaign.
This platform is one of the biggest we have today. One of the reasons for its popularity is that there are no limitations as to the length of each video. You can redirect people to YouTube from other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and encourage them to watch your video, no matter how long it is, as long as the content is interesting and unique. YouTube is the answer to our entertainment needs as we can easily watch our favourite dramas or the highlights of the PSL match we missed on the platform.
YouTube can be used to your advantage in a multitude of ways. You can gain the attention of the audience by making tutorials regarding your product. If your company sells nail polish, for example, a five-minute tutorial showing different nail application designs can help you in advertising your product in an indirect manner. Another example is if you are selling dairy products; a video showing brief recipes using your product as an ingredient can be a hit amongst potential consumers if you do it right. YouTube is meant for those who can either entertain or teach so you need to present your product in such a way that it achieves one of those purposes.
YouTube has also introduced the displaying of advertisements. All those who use YouTube can testify to the fact that the videos we watch are often preceded by advertisements from companies such as Nestle, Coca-Cola, and many others. They might annoy us at the time but they definitely get our attention.
More than a billion people use YouTube. More importantly, surveys show that by 2025, half of the viewers under 32 will not pay for TV service. This highlights the importance of investing in ads being displayed on YouTube instead of on television.
For many, this might not be a very common platform to use. The reason why it has made it to this list, however, is its diversity. Pakistan does not have a large number of users on Google+ compared to the other platforms but definitely deserves exploration. Its integration with Gmail increases its importance tenfold because of the wide usage of the former. Once you’ve added someone as a contact on Gmail, you can connect with them through Google+.
This platform is again not extremely common among the general user, but everyone has heard of it, especially those in the professional workforce.
It was introduced thirteen years ago and despite not having reached similar popularity levels to Facebook or Instagram, it caters well to a more serious and business-oriented population. The things that work on Facebook, won’t work on LinkedIn. On this platform, people are looking for a more professional representation of what the latest marketing and business trends are compared to a video about nail polish application designs. As we mentioned earlier, at the end of the day, it is all about understanding the audience before you devise a message for them.
This website is more community-based than other sites. It isn’t as easy to integrate your product among Reddit users compared to other platforms but because of its large number of users, knowing how to work your way through Reddit is very helpful.
The reason for Reddit’s popularity is its AMA and voting features. AMAs refer to “ask me anything,” and as suggested by the name, Reddit users can ask you anything. Influential personalities such as Barack Obama and Bill Gates have made use of this feature, so it cannot be ruled out as an effective marketing tool.
Using this feature familiarizes your customers with their sellers and helps you in gathering important feedback and data. The voting feature on Reddit also helps users find which posts are the most relevant to the questions they have asked, thus making it an easy website to browse.
This application that has been introduced very recently has become massive in no time at all, especially amongst the youth. It has over 100 million active users today with the majority being younger than 25 years old. This makes it the perfect platform to advertise to the younger generation.
Snapchat has a time limit on your snaps, thus deciding what to post and how to post can be tricky. The content should be effective enough for the viewer to remember it as they might not be able to view it again.
Snapchat comes in handy for promotions; getting a celebrity to talk about your product on their story, similar to what Pakistani comedian Junaid Akram does, can have its benefits. He recently posted about a small bookseller in Saddar which got the attention of many book-lovers since the closure of Sunday Bazaar in Karachi has led to many of us not knowing where to go to buy second-hand books.
Today’s youth is bordering on obsession as far as this application is concerned. So, if your target audience ranges from 13 to 25, make sure you know how to use Snapchat skilfully.
Now again, this application isn’t the most popular but it has its perks especially if you’re marketing to a certain population, that is, those interested in cooking, DIYs, quotes, and others. The only tricky thing here is that the pictures are displayed in a vertical format, so your formatting needs to be done in a certain way.
Despite there being multiple social media platforms, a combination of the ones listed above, based on your individual needs, is essential to your success in social media marketing.
Platforms with Potential
Here are some more platforms we feel are gaining popularity currently and may become something big in the future.
The importance of mobile phones in today’s world is no secret. As a business, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you are at a major disadvantage and need to rectify the situation immediately.
However, this is not the only way you can use cell phones to market your products or services. We recently took a trip to the Northern Areas, where we noticed how reliant people actually are on their mobile phones. A method of an advertisement being used in Pakistan is marketing through messages. Many brands and companies send their consumers messages about their new collections or any upcoming sales. Most restaurants also use this method as well to introduce new additions to their menu or inform their consumers about deals and promotions.
A concept is known by many as ‘micro-moments’ has been on the rise, basically describing how a consumer reaches for their smartphone for the smallest of things, e.g. finding the age of their favourite actor. Another example is when you are feeling cold more than usual you immediately reach for your phone and check the weather. A business needs to assess what a consumer’s needs are in relation to their product and how they can accurately cater to their searches for a certain micro-moment.
Chatbots have entered the marketing industry recently but will play a huge hand in reaching the correct market and ensuring a consumer has the best possible experience while using your website. They are available around the clock, can be easily accessed by mobile, and provide information instantly, due to which consumers find them effective in easing the process of online shopping.
Incorporating chatbots in the marketing plan helps the company as well, as it helps in the personalization of campaigns according to the feedback.
Native Ads are another tool for digital marketing which, although they have entered the game only recently, have reached a high level of significance very fast because of their effectiveness. Instead of ruining a video a person is watching or interrupting the reading of an article, a native and ensures the marketing developer gets their message across in a non-disruptive fashion, for example, as a suggested post on Facebook. This way it gets the attention of a person instead of irritating them.
A soon-to-be essential aspect of digital media marketing is a voice. What I mean by this is Google Search and the use of voice-activated assistants such as Siri. Today, 20% of mobile queries are voice searches. The significance of this is that your marketing plan should be tailored in a manner that your product shows up in a search in response to something someone would say instead of what they would type.
Voice searches are not all that common in Pakistan yet, but with industrialization increasing rapidly and more and more people becoming fluent English speakers, voice searches will soon take over so you need to be prepared.
Effective Content Marketing
Whichever platform you use, you need to generate Search Engine Optimized content which is interesting and engages your consumers. Bloggers now write about restaurants, clothing brands, appliances, and basically everything else under the sky. If you aren’t investing in a good content writing team, you need to take measures to fix this; it is the only way you can develop an effective digital media marketing strategy.
Choose Video over Traditional Marketing Methods
According to Facebook, 1.65 billion active users watch up to 8 billion videos each day. A majority of 18-49 users also prefer browsing YouTube over watching television. Marketing using these platforms thus becomes more beneficial compared to placing ads in newspapers, on billboards, or running them on the radio. If a marketer is showcasing a new phone, there are more chances of the target audience watching a video on Facebook about its characteristics than looking out for it on a billboard.
There are many more methods by which you can effectively market to your population but those are the most popular and effective ones.
In Pakistan, like other parts of the world, digital media has reached new heights. Some might argue that it is difficult to reach everyone with digital media compared to television advertisements, especially the uneducated class, but with the increasing literacy rate, eventually, Pakistan will too be completely digitalized.
All major local companies have entered the digital media marketing industry and if you have a small business or a multinational company, you too need to be a part of the digital media arena.
You can choose from a wide variety of digital media marketing agencies operating in Pakistan to develop your marketing strategy, but as 2018 approaches, understand that it is essential for you to develop one for your business’s survival.