Digital marketing has become a mainstay of the modern business environment. The capabilities offered by the rapidly developing information technology segment have contributed to the speed, effectiveness, and affordability of digital marketing strategies. As a result, it has become strongly associated with more efficient strategies, optimised resource allocation, increased level of customer satisfaction, greater precision and responsiveness of the campaigns, and stronger customer involvement. However, it should be understood that digital marketing also has several inherent weak points that should be acknowledged in order to be avoided. In addition, some of its aspects, such as touchpoints, can be misused, leading to the decline in business performance as well as a loss of customer base. The following paper provides an overview of key differences between traditional and digital marketing, highlights the key aspects of touchpoints in the context of the customer journey, and determines the role of data in areas such as website design.
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Differences between Traditional and Digital Marketing
As a result of the massive shift towards the adoption of information technologies in the business domain, the field of marketing has reacted by enabling a host of digital marketing strategies. Nevertheless, some companies continue using the traditional marketing means or, more frequently, combine them into a composite strategy. In order to understand the reason for such diversification, it is necessary to determine the key differences between digital and traditional marketing and outline the main advantages of each approach.
One of the most apparent differences is the implications of the information delivery methods. A significant proportion of traditional marketing strategies requires the existence of tangible medium such as paper leaflets, posters, and promotional merchandise. Naturally, such objects are delivered physically and, as a result, are limited to a certain geographical locale. While it also includes traditional media such as radio or television, these are typically limited to a certain area or region and rarely offer an international coverage in a true sense. Digital marketing, on the other hand, uses the Internet as its primary delivery method and, therefore, does not deal with such limitations. As a result, it can be delivered on a chosen scale. In addition to scope, this difference also offers the possibility of a more efficient resource distribution since it eliminates several intermediary parties and is less time-consuming.
Second, and, perhaps, the most significant difference is the two-way nature of digital marketing. In most cases, traditional marketing allows only a limited degree of interaction which requires additional effort from the end user and, therefore, is less streamlined. On the other hand, digital marketing routinely provides an opportunity to participate in the process by adjusting the delivery methods, leaving feedback, and rating the quality of the service (Tiago & Veríssimo 2014). In some cases, storytelling is encouraged as a form of feedback, as was exemplified by TOMS Shoes’ highly successful One Day Without Shoes campaign (Hoffman 2015). Such approach provides a more seamless experience and encourages the customer to take action instead of being a passive recipient. As a result, the customers view themselves as active participants in the process rather than a target audience and understand that their voice matters. In addition, it provides opportunities for data collection.
Customer Touch Points in The Digital Arena and the Customer Journey
To systematise the understanding of customer’s interaction with the business, the concept of touchpoints was introduced – intersection points where customers are dealing with the product or service (Rawson, Duncan & Jones 2013). Touchpoints allow measuring the success of the strategy or solution by obtaining information about customer satisfaction in each separate case. Due to the unparalleled analytical capacity defined in the previous section, digital businesses routinely use touchpoints to increase flexibility and responsiveness (Tornquist 2015). The latest data suggests that emphasis on touchpoints offers several key advantages for businesses. For instance, a study of European companies by McKinsey suggests that the number of digital touchpoints provided by the business correlates strongly with the likelihood of being selected by the customers (Bughin 2015).
In other words, the companies with more touchpoints are more likely to be selected by the customers. It is also worth mentioning that the relevance of touchpoints depends strongly on several demographic variables, such as gender, age, and income, among others, and varies depending on the type of product or service (Tornquist 2015). Therefore, it is necessary to consider these factors to achieve the desired level of efficiency. Finally, it should be mentioned that according to some sources, the total user experience comprised of the sum of touchpoints is more important than all of the considerations taken separately (Rawson, Duncan & Jones 2013). The focus on specific details may divert the attention of the analysts from the overarching goal of the campaign and distort the whole picture by excluding the interactions between touchpoints and their alignment with the strategic goals and a company’s mission. Thus, it is safe to conclude that touchpoints should be approached holistically as intrinsic parts of the customer journey.
The Role of Data in Digital Marketing
As was explained above, digital marketing provides unparalleled analytical capabilities for businesses. While the effectiveness of traditional marketing means can be evaluated using numerous tools and tactics, the process is usually relatively slow and inflexible. On the other hand, digital marketing offers multiple solutions for collecting and processing data. Many of these tools are either free or relatively affordable and can be updated at a chosen rate, which adds to the responsiveness of the campaign and may provide additional insights. In addition, its affordability creates a level field that allows smaller business entities participate on relatively equal terms.
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The described data plays an important role in many aspects of business, such as website design and customer relationship management. First, the recent surge in data processing capabilities opened new possibilities for predicting and modelling customer behaviour. A good example of the former is the design decision made by eBay to change the colour of their website gradually rather than instantly (Tenhue 2017). Since the available data pointed to the probable unfavourable reaction of the customer base, the decision allowed avoiding a decline in customer satisfaction.
Digital marketing has become an important component of the modern business environment. While it has not yet rendered traditional marketing obsolete, it would be reasonable to state that it has become at least equally important for the contemporary audience and it is possible to expect its relevance to increase at least in the short term. However, it is important to acknowledge the key factors that will determine the success of its implementation, such as the flexibility, the delivery method, and the two-way nature that allows for user participation and engagement. In addition, it is important to utilise touchpoints and acknowledge their compatibility with the products and services provided by the organisation as well as the demographics of the target audience. Finally, the opportunities offered by data analytics must be taken into consideration. Once all of the identified factors are taken into account, it would be possible for the business to utilise the advantages of digital marketing while at the same time avoiding its shortcomings.
Bughin, J 2015, Brand success in an era of Digital Darwinism, Web.
Hoffman, E 2015, Toms will give free shoes to children if you Instagram your bare feet, Web.
Rawson, A, Duncan, E & Jones, C 2013, The truth about customer experience, Web.
Tenhue, N 2017, The unexpected effects of redesigning the user experience, Web.
Tiago, M T P M B & Veríssimo, J M C 2014, ‘Digital marketing and social media: why bother?’, Business Horizons, vol. 57, no. 6, pp. 703-708.
Tornquist, S 2015, The consumer conversation, Web.