A decade ago, before technology disrupted the marketing and advertising industry, marketers still spread their media budgets across cinema, television, radio, print and press. Today, while these offline channels still hold value in their own right, there’s a greater choice of online channels available. These digital marketing platforms allow clients to target different audience segments with personalised messages; and easily measure the results.
Over the past ten years, many businesses have shifted their focus from offline marketing to online marketing.
Let’s take a closer look at three key events that have influenced this evolution:
1. The arrival of smartphones
Today, virtually everyone is walking around with a supercomputer in their pockets, able to find information, buy something or join a conversation with people around the world at the touch of a button. The easy accessibility of mobile phones has been a major contributing factor in the stratospheric growth of the internet – and along with it, online marketing. We have come a long way since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007 and the first iPad was launched in 2010!
2. The growth of the internet
In March 2009, there were 1,596 million internet users worldwide. Ten years later, by March 2019, this had reached 4,346 million. Over the last decade, a great many more customers have come to rely on the internet for a wide range of everyday things, from socialising and accessing entertainment to catching a ride to work and doing the weekly grocery shop. In this context, every brand needs a presence online.
3. The rise of social media
Over the past 10 years, social media has exploded onto the scene, disrupting the way people connect with each other, as well as the way that brands engage their customers. It may feel like the social media channels we use today have been around forever. However, as mentioned earlier, Instagram was only born nine years ago in 2010. Today, it has one billion monthly active users, with more than 500 million of them using the platform every day.
In 2009, 150 million people around the world were actively used Facebook. At the end of March 2019, Facebook recorded over 2.38 billion monthly active users. This is a massive jump in just ten years. Also, Facebook only introduced its Like button for the first time in 2009; and launched targeted ads in 2013. In a mere ten years, social media marketing has become an integral part of any marketing strategy.
These developments have completely transformed the way that brands build audiences and market their products to consumers. Ten years ago, for example, companies used celebrities from the entertainment or sporting world to endorse their products. Today, social media influencers have taken over this role. Research shows that influencers have the power to build stronger relationships with fans. Influencers’ videos gain three times more views, twice as many actions and 12 times more comments than videos starring celebrities.
All of this has fuelled a movement away from brand-centric marketing to customer-centric marketing. In today’s digital world, customers have the freedom and power to air their feelings about the products and experiences they spend their money on. They also generate their own content, which makes it much more difficult to encourage them to listen to marketing messages or read brand-generated content.
In many ways, marketing is actually a lot more challenging today than it was 10 years ago. But when digital marketing is done well, it can also reach more people in more meaningful ways.