In recent times, Digital Marketing has undoubtedly been one of the most promising sectors in our country. It also happens to be one of the most misinterpreted professions out there. Here's a brief breakdown of why digital marketers are sick and tired of explaining what their job actually is.
After talking to individuals from 3 different age groups (university students, fresh graduates and, the not so fresh graduates) the general perception of Digital Marketing amongst the Bangladeshi crowd was nowhere close to what it actually is. Here are my favourite responses:
* “Anyone who knows Photoshop and has some common sense can be a digital marketer”
* “What do digital marketers do other than making fancy posts on Facebook?”
* “Digital marketing agencies charge way too much money from lazy clients who know little about technology”
WHAT IS DIGITAL MARKETING ACTUALLY?
By definition, Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technology, primarily using the internet but also through mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. In the context of Bangladesh, social media marketing and SMS marketing have proven to be the most effective forms of digital marketing. However, the field also includes search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, e-mail direct marketing and e–books, all of which are slowly gaining traction in our country.
Why do these myths exist? Let's take a closer look:
1. Facebook-centric population
In a country with over 65 million internet users (roughly 40% of the population) the scope of digital marketing is astounding, to
say the least. To a significant portion of these users though, internet essentially means Facebook. Digital marketing agencies use a lot of different mediums to convey a brand's message, but the general audience are more likely to view the content on Facebook and that's where all the confusion starts.
Nusrat Zahan, a former intern at Magnito Digital says “Most people confuse digital marketing with Facebook marketing. Popular sites
like Twitter and Instagram are good platforms to create brand awareness amongst the 18-22 age band and to capture an international audience, but most people in Bangladesh are not willing to understand that”.
2. Influx of unskilled marketers
How difficult can making content be, right? It's not that simple. From the point of view of the audience, it is impossible to understand the thought and effort put behind each post.
This is one of the major reasons why the Bangladeshi market is flooded with individuals, who have little knowledge or skill about the field, calling themselves digital marketers. Good skills in Photoshop and an SEO training certificate aren't the only things you need to produce quality material.
Shreya Saha, who currently works for Analyzen, says “It is very easy to miscommunicate a message in social media. Behind every content, lies countless brainstorming hours and rejections. We are responsible for generating brand perceptions and retaining them, which is easier said than done”
Another big concern is the cost. Most of these individuals are willing to work at a much lower price compared to trusted marketing agencies, which give clients a wrong perception of what the actual fees of quality content should be. It's easy for many people to believe they have acquired all the knowledge they need by being on Facebook a lot and having attended an online course such as Google Squared.
3. Lack of general awareness
Very few universities have dedicated courses for digital marketing. In fact, a good number of Marketing majors themselves have limited knowledge about the field. At a time when digital marketing is experiencing unprecedented growth as a sector in Bangladesh, the misconceptions will only get worse if our institutions do not incorporate this branch of marketing into our academic system.
THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL MARKETING
By 2020, all the millennials will be adults. They have grown up using the internet and social media, so digital marketing can be expected to play a crucial role in the eventual consumer decision. At the same time, more and more brands are going digital and utilising new technology to gain brand awareness and customer trust.
Risalat Siddique, founder of Analyzen says, “We can expect low bandwidth video platforms, USSD and IVR to be available for the mass market in Bangladesh very soon. This will be a real game changer when it arrives. 3D videos, Augmented Reality and interactive gaming systems are not too far behind either. So, the future looks very promising.”