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How to go beyond digital marketing

How to go beyond digital marketing

Thursday July 26, 2018,

6 min Read

Under the glossy world of social media, lies a dark underbelly of businesses for whom the glamour of Online Marketing couldn’t be more overhyped! Lots of indigenous companies have their own set of challenges.

For example, a local coffee shop (without any branches) doesn’t need to advertise on Facebook to get customers to their shop; they need local people to know about them. While most of the modern tasks of real estate research can be done online, people buying new real estate are middle-class, hard-working parents who don’t have time to google for new projects.

Working class people listen to the radio as they get stuck in traffic jams. They don’t browse Facebook and Twitter for more than an hour a day. In short, they’re not millennials.

What most modern internet entrepreneurs do isn’t wrong, it just isn’t catered to the typical needs of grassroots companies whose target audience is not millennials. What if millennials need to connect to people from different age group or a different social class?

How to solve the problem of marketing for customers you don’t relate to

To help solve the problem of local companies, we must get down to the roots.

This is the actual definition of marketing:


Look at the last three words of this definition – “market research and advertising”. Market research is conducted to understand your target market – the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the market in which the company conducts its business in.

Marketing companies need to focus on conducting deep market research for each of their clients. A one-size-fits-all approach is only a recipe for average business; it takes you nowhere close to market dominance!

Marketing Tip 1: Each client is unique in their own way

Do you think Facebook ads are useful for a local patisserie that doesn’t have any remote delivery setup? No, it’s an absolutely ridiculous idea. Advertising and marketing are not the same!

When you look at each client individually, you get to see their individual objectives. Not every client is built for digital marketing. Modern marketing needs to blend local marketing with a healthy mixture of online marketing sources.

I am not trying to demonize digital marketing; I am just trying to say every client’s needs are different. These days, starting a digital marketing agency has become a fashion. For those people who think digital marketing is nothing but setting up digital ads on Facebook, Google, or Twitter, they need to wake up and educate themselves.

There are chances local marketing won’t bring in results for every client. There may be clients for whom digital channels of marketing work perfectly.

Every business has its own identity, so a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t do much for your clients’ progress. For real results, go to the grassroots level and figure out what are the mediums for publicity at the local level.

Take your time to learn about local promotional mediums – this includes local mediums like railway station hoardings, highway hoarding, even ads behind rickshaws if that’s where your target customers will see the ad.

Efficient marketing is about using that information and applying optimization strategies to make the spending efficient. This is where most cut-paste solutions fail.

Does past success guarantee that the exact same methods will also work for a new client who is nothing like any of your previous clients?

Asking this question will help you think and decide fitment of your strategies to each client. It will, ultimately, help you learn and grow.

Marketing Tip 2: Focus on building a brand, before you can dream about the sales numbers for each campaign

In today’s world, everyone is oversaturated with information. Whether you are advertising online or offline, your brand is fighting for customers’ attention against several other brands. Unless you do that first, you won’t get any sales.

For an offline ad, it’s even more difficult to get noticed. But if you see the same ad, say Tata Salt, repeatedly over a week on hoarding and TV advertisements for 7 days, then on the 8th day, chances are high that when you go to buy Salt, you will likely consider Tata salt as your first choice.

The central idea of branding is to attach a positive image of your brand in the minds of your customers.

So, the lesson here is ads should not be your only channel for generating sales. If you do get an instant sale after placing an ad, nothing like it! The main objective of any ad campaign should be building your brand and generating your leads.

Marketing Tip 3: Building a brand is as much about the product as it is about market research

Of course, the reverse is also true. If people see your ads and don’t like your product (or the ad itself!), your efforts will be counterproductive. To make people buy from you instantly after seeing an ad is very difficult; you need to have a flawless sales copy, followed by a high-converting landing page (for online ads). For offline ads, direct tracking of sales is impossible.

Advertising should be essentially focused on the product. If your ad doesn’t talk about the product, it will fail to create a buzz among your potential customers.

We need to understand the concept of “brand” and differentiate from the company. Look at Murugappa group, they don’t produce a single product they advertise for. Everything is sold via its subsidiary companies. Are their ads meant for selling products? No, they just want people to know how Murugappa group is associated with other brands they already know.

Other examples include IBM ads on TV and Shell ads through Instagram stories. Both these companies don’t actually sell to end consumers, they are B2B enterprises. But when people see it, it creates an image of the brand and its logo. If any of IBM’s advertisement viewers happen to a budding entrepreneur, he can ask his team to place a bulk order on IBM.

Market research is the only way to build such a precise understanding of the audience. These inputs must be used to form an accurate customer persona and must flow into marketing content creation efforts. When your content team knows the customer, it can create content that resonates with customers directly.

It is time Millennials expand their understanding of Marketing

I have seen many young bloggers wanting to make a quick buck. They use whatever knowledge they have learned from their Facebook and Telegram blogging groups. Everybody is so eager to turn their tag from “Blogger” to “Entrepreneur”.

Teenagers as young as 15 and 17 are starting hosting companies. It is literally “a child’s play”!

I do agree with it that it is a brave decision to start a company so young; you don’t need to be 30 to start a company. However, running a company and interacting with partners and employees does require a deep sense of emotional maturity.

Even more than emotional maturity, a CEO’s knowledge about the field needs to mature.

(With inputs and examples from Digital Cube CEO, Mr. Bharatwaj Rao)

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