Because customers increasingly stroll in the digital world, companies can create unique products for this world and can reach out to customers. However, customers’ needs are not different in the digital world. They have the exact needs of the physical world, but they fulfill them using some digital technologies. For example, those requiring printers use the printer to take printouts, make notes, and store/share them with others. However, the same need can be met in the digital world by online applications like Evernote, which allows storing documents, making notes, and sharing them with others. Another set of customers in another occupational group may be choosing to do zoom calls to share that document and discuss what they want to note and share earlier.
I hope the above example clarifies customer needs have not changed in the digital world. But, it is just met using other ways enabled by digital technologies. So, if the exact needs are there in the digital world, the same logic of marketing in which we target the customers having similar needs and connect to them using the marketing mix or 4Ps will work.
However, it is easier to do it. In the earlier example, we needed to rely on the information on occupational categories to identify customers with similar needs, i.e., printers at home.
However, the digital world offers more aspects on which we can identify such similar customers and makes it easier to get customer information on these aspects. For example, customers who need a home printer generally search for ‘the best printer for home use.’
They would be posting on Facebook or Twitter with specific keywords more often. Thus, when customers increasingly interact in the online world, they leave more traces of them. These traces make it possible for companies to identify people with similar needs quickly. Then companies can connect to these targets with the marketing mix or 4Ps.
Therefore, digital marketing boils down to understanding how customers meet their needs in the digital world and how digital enables better marketing mix implementation. The available marketing mix is also better enabled by digital technologies. Please note that I have used ‘enabled’ rather than ‘transformed,’ which we usually assume.
Sometimes, customers use digital products to satisfy their needs in the digital world. Traditionally, software and other associated services are recognized as digital products. The use of emojis, stickers, gifts, inventories used in games, etc., are also digital products that have been widely in use recently. There is no difference between such digital products and physical products for a marketer. The marketing logic of understanding customer needs for the product and connecting to her using the marketing mix remains the same.
In summary, the concept of digital marketing is no different from traditional marketing logic. However, we need to understand how customers satisfy their needs in the digital world and how digital technologies act as an efficient channel for information and distribution.