The new song called Digital marketing.

16 May

I hear ‘digital marketing’ tossed around the marketing corridors blithely. Being as it is a catch all for that entire phenomenon of marketing that includes social media, SEO, SEM, Email marketing, Inbound marketing etc., it is now collecting its own ecosystems of pundits who know better than you about what to do, and how not to do it. Nothing wrong in that.

My beef is that it is now viewed, and practiced, by marketing as something you do "to" a customer. (I hate the word "consumer", but that’s another blog post. Maybe my very next one.)

I tried to explain to my newfound friend that like in all marketing (as in life, which is another blog post there) there are a variety of investors that trot out a variety of statistics to build a variety of cases for digital marketing, and for its individual components.

Then there is the fact that only about 1/4th of India is connected to the net. Only about 1/4th of them have true broadband.

And what clout do these 400 million people hold? India is the second largest country on facebook, with 65,635,600 profiles, and facebook itself is the third largest country in the world, after China and India.

Just to confuse you a little more, the third and fourth largest countries on facebook are Brazil and Indonesia.

Brazil has 60,487,400 profiles with a population of 200 million people. That is over 30%! Less than 1/11th of Indians are on facebook! Explain that!

The digital universe has amassed a formidable resume.

The entire Arab Spring, which brought 4 rock-solid dictatorships crashing through the ground, is now understood to be the handiwork of the twitter platform.

Occupy Wall Street was incubated with an email from Canada.

Barack Obama was the first US presidential aspirant to truly harness the power of digital (as it was in 2007). So profoundly effective was his digital campaign that he won the accolade of Marketer of the Year in his very first year as President.

Long before Digital Marketing became the buzz it is today, in January 2001, 15 years ago, Joseph Estrada, President of the Philippines, was forced to resign after a massive demonstration against him in Manila, and the crowd that descended on the Philippine Presidential Palace had been summoned as a result of over 20 million smses sent out by the populace.

I’d like to propose that these are the ‘best learnings’ of Digital marketing. There is a valid place for monitoring competition and ‘reputation management’, but as in life, the tsunamis of digital victory are in the domain of the Obamas, the Philippine people, the Arab protestors, to name a few.

Note that all these massive chapters in the book of digital’s power also ‘sold’ a ‘brand’, be it Obama or ‘liberty’,

We would be well-served to study these, and learn something, and not just keep doing tricks to consumers in the name of marketing.

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