Digital marketing is one of the fastest growing industries across the world. This year desktop and mobile ad spending surpassed TV ad spending for the first in the US. In Bangladesh, things are happening fast as well. Over the past couple of years, from almost oblivion, digital has become a mainstream phenomenon. An increasing number of brands are now spending in digital platforms ranging from Facebook to youtube to other platforms.
Here is an excerpt from a report we published early this year:
Digital marketing in Bangladesh has been experiencing a paradigm shift in the recent time. There is a growing interest among local companies to advertise their products on digital and social media platforms. Digital is the next big thing, says Anwar Ehtesham of Dhaka Bank, while Aftab Mahmud Khurshid of SSG suggests that digital spending will outperform other channels within a few years.
According to analysts, the digital advertising in Bangladesh is more than BDT 1.00 billion market and growing rapidly. That said, while local ad network like G&R, which serves around a billion ads monthly, and RITS, take a small share of that market, a significant amount of this money goes to giants like Facebook and Google.
With over 65 million internet users and around 120 million mobile phone subscribers, the market is considerably big and growing. Moreover, over 65% of the entire population are millennials and post-millennials who are largely digital natives and live on digital platforms which offer an unparalleled opportunity for digital marketers and platforms in the coming years.
The opportunities in the digital space are endless and challenge too.
People in this story:
Zara Jabeen Mahbub is a Senior Vice President and the Head of Communications and Service Quality at BRAC Bank. (Read Ms. Zara’s full interview here)
Ridwan Hafiz is the co-founder of Dhaka-based digital marketing agency Analyzen - one of the earliest digital marketing Agencies in the country. Over the past years, the company has grown significantly both in terms of size of the team as well as in business. (Read Mr. Ridwan’s full interview here)
In two separate interviews with Future Startup, Ms. Zara Mahbub and Mr. Hafiz share their thoughts on digital marketing and the future of the medium. We have put together a list of his insight for you.
“The way communications work is very different today. In the past it was one-way communication, brands used to talk to customers through TVC, press ad and other mediums and customers had very little opportunity to talk back. But now things are different. Customers have platforms where they can talk back and they are in fact talking back. This has created a whole new dynamics for brands”.
This is an important and equally powerful distinction that needs to be understood for several reasons. The first reason is of course effectiveness. When you are running a digital campaign, you want your campaign to be successful. And in order to succeed in the digital platform, you have to understand that the dynamics in the digital world is different than what it is in TV or press for that matter. In TV, you inform or tell something to your audience. In digital, you engage with your audience. It means you have to design your communication differently for each medium. Mr. Hafiz continues:
“In the digital world, you are directly interacting with your customers, competitors and other stakeholders, in a personalized manner. In today’s world, customers have the power to push your brand to a different height and also pull it down to the lowest as well. This is a whole new world. That’s one of the key lessons”.
One of the challenges of digital is that something new is trending every day. It is hard to keep up while also maintaining consistency of your brand message. The challenge, however, is not only around upgrading yourself on a daily basis, along with that you also have to develop profound understanding about these changes and how you can align your brand with that.
“It is a very fast paced world and new things are happening all the time. This demands a new kind of skill from the brands.”
This is linked to the first idea. And it is hard to overstate this one.
“In a world that keeps changing on a daily basis, the only sustainable strategy is to be good at dealing with the change,” suggests Hafiz. “You only get good at managing change, when you learn regularly and develop understanding about the changing reality. Complacency has no place in the digital world. If you think you know enough then you are about to fail. The market and the industry is changing every day and new trends are replacing old ones daily.”
This is the time when you truly internalize that knowing that ‘you don’t know’ is that best knowledge.
“You have to be open-minded and be vigilant so that you can change yourself with the changes in the market. Even though I have been working in the industry for a very long time, I don’t think I understand digital that well. I’m learning every day and I intend to do so in the foreseeable future”.
“The biggest lesson that I have learned from digital marketing industry is that you have to know your brand well and understand the trends to utilize it in building your brand, suggests Hafiz. You have to have a keen eye to observe the changes in the market and respond accordingly.”
The recent examples of Banglalink screwing up over a poster or United Airlines over their irresponsible handling of customers show us that the days of getting away with doing almost anything is over. Today, customers can take your brand up there, at the same time they can bring you down as well. From Zara Mahbub of BRAC Bank:
“One of the things I guess is brands and companies will have to act in a more responsible manner. Gender issues, political issues, and all social issues have to be taken into account in a progressive and wider manner, I have to pick and choose what I will show and what I will not show, and how I choose to market and what I choose to market.”
(Ruhul Kader contributed to this story), Cover image source.