By Dibesh Dangol
Digital marketing is still new to Nepal; however, it has created a mega impact in the marketing world elsewhere. The less-effort-more-connectivity and wider access to customers is why companies invest in marketing their products on digital platforms. With more people online, more and more companies are now looking at the digital platform to connect with their customers.
According to Arvindra Ranjit, CEO of Business Advantage, the history of digital marketing dates back to the history of internet in 60s and 70s. “After Google was born in 1998, digital marketing trend went to a whole new level, and when Facebook Ads went live in 2007, digital marketing became even more diverse and started becoming the prefered way of advertising,” adds Prashraya Ratna Tuladhar, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Ads Market. In terms of Nepal, Ranjit states that digital marketing started almost a decade back and has really gathered pace in the last few years.
Richa Rajbhandari, Co-Founder and Managing Director at The Mint Studio agrees with Ranjit and says that digital marketing has not only played an important role for companies and brands in Nepal but it has also changed the marketing landscape.
Tuladhar provides his view of how digital marketing started in Nepal. According to him, there were no focused practices of digital marketing before Ads Market came into existence nine years ago. He shares, “Early 2010 was the time when only a handful of people knew and implemented digital marketing. It was not even called digital marketing; it was known as internet advertising. We are the first company in Nepal to promote ‘Digital Marketing’ as a professional digital marketing agency.”
“Early 2010 was the time when only a handful of people knew and implemented digital marketing. It was not even called digital marketing; it was known as internet advertising.”
Prashraya Ratna Tuladhar
Co-Founder and Creative Director of Ads Market
“After Google was born in 1998, digital marketing trend went to a whole new level, and when Facebook Ads went live in 2007, digital marketing became even more diverse and started becoming the prefered way of advertising.”
CEO of Business Advantage
“Digital marketing is outdated and a thing of the past. Though this bubble is just trending in the Nepali market, digital marketing is considered near-to-end in developed countries.”
Brand Manager at Uptrendly Media
Though Google, Facebook and other social media platforms contributed in promoting digital marketing, the true digital marketing boom was witnessed with the rise of smartphones, increase in internet speed and when both these technologies became easily accessible to people.
Ranjit focuses, “I think it became popular with the boom of personal messaging and social media websites and it is growing by leaps and bounds with the growth and popularity of smartphones and apps.” Similarly, Shristika Bijukchhe, Media Officer at Jawalakhel Group of Industries says that digital marketing has become one of the primary features of most companies advertising and promotional budget, and it isn’t just about social media marketing, there is immense growth in online and mobile marketing.
Sushant Diyali, Brand Manager at Uptrendly Media which is an influencer-marketing platform and creative content generator for brands, gives a different perspective and says, “Digital marketing is outdated and a thing of the past. Though this bubble is just trending in the Nepali market, digital marketing is considered near-to-end in developed countries. But Influencer Marketing, my friend, is the product ahead of time! And today is the right time to invest in services like this.”
Diyali further differentiates between digital and influencer marketing and centres the point that anyone with access of $5 or even less can begin digital marketing/promotion but the viability, trust and security of such platforms might be questionable. Whereas in influencer marketing, influencers like celebrities, business professionals, athletes, etc. who have a large fan-base and who people look upon to influence people via various sources to acknowledge the marketed product directly. He clarifies that if the influencers don’t believe in products, they won’t promote it. Companies like Tuborg and Huawei promote their products through social media influencers like Mr. Foodie Nepal (123k followers in Instagram), Niti Shah (241k followers in Instagram) and other influencers who have large fan-base and followers on social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram.
Digital Marketing over Traditional Marketing
The discussion around extinction of traditional marketing and media has always been a burning topic since the advent of digital marketing and media. In the beginning, it seemed like a hoax, but now it has become the undeniable truth. Companies are becoming more and more inclined towards promoting and marketing their products and services on digital media rather than the traditional platforms like TV, radio and print.
“We’re all evolving as a society and how we consume information,” says Samriddhi Rai, Media Personality and Social Media Influencer. Rai has 80.5K Instagram followers, 72K Facebook friends and 33.2K YouTube subscribers at the time of this story. In her view, people find it easier to consume news and information from social media platforms than from traditional media. She justifies this by saying that it is because of people’s involvement in social media platforms backed up by statistical evidence which clearly towers over the number of print consumers and it is also the same reason why advertisers too are now rapidly seen cashing on this new playground of opportunity.
Diyali says, “Companies invest their promotional budget largely in digital or social media platforms because of the engagement factor. He also quotes, “Print ads are dying, digital marketing is disappearing (due to multiple ad blocks) and influencer marketing is emerging.”
“People find it easier to consume news and information from social media platforms than from traditional media”
Media Personality and Social Media Influencer
“A lot of work is put into that one photo or video that you see online. It may only be a 30 second clip but hardwork has been put into it.”
social media influencer
Full of Roses with No Thorns?
Though there is no doubt about digital marketing being a vital tool for business promotion and expansion at present; digital marketing must have few thorns attached with it. “There’s obviously some negative implications when it comes to digital marketing,” says Rajbhandari. She suspects that given the excessive content and information present online, it has the risk of reaching a saturation point. When that happens, audience tends to ignore the materials. As a result, efforts made by companies in promoting their brand on a digital platform would become redundant.
Sanna Gurung, social media influencer (65.9K Instagram followers and 24.5K YouTube subscribers), highlights that most people only see influencers as ‘All Fun’, and although there is no denying that it is a great job, there is also a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that people miss out on. “A lot of work is put into that one photo or video that you see online. It may only be a 30 second clip but hardwork has been put into it. Sleepless nights and a lot of sweat go into creating content. But the best part is that we love what we do!”
Ranjit stresses on the fact that any negative news that is published or mentioned in digital or social media platforms spreads faster and even a single negative comment in the post will give an opportunity for your competition to bring your brand down in the eyes of your existing and potential customers. He further adds that because the entry barrier for any brand to get into digital marketing is very low, all brands whether big or small, good or bad are using the platform which makes it very difficult for a brand and its customers to differentiate quality of the products and services on digital medium.
Ingredients of Good Digital Marketing
Bijukchhe says that digital marketing plans should be made based on proper consumer research because it is important to be aware of the target audience and their preferences. Moreover, one must give attention to details and plan effective content management strategies. “It should grasp the attention of the audience.” He also recommends that you think about the return on investment while planning the budget. Leveraging social media and integrating marketing mix is also a must for better results.
Tuladhar adds, “Going digital is only possible with a proper digital branding strategy which includes good knowledge of the brand and target audience, identifying a professional digital marketing agency that understands your brand and has enough experience and technical team ability to execute the strategies properly and a good digital marketing audit which will help you figure out your standing in the market.”
As for becoming a social media influencer, Rai says that a successful media influencer would definitely be someone who has an active presence on the platform, and by default, someone with a large number of social media following. She suggests that regular posts and becoming a formidable force in one’s line of career should be enough to become a social media influencer.
“Digital marketing has not only played an important role for companies and brands in Nepal but it has also changed the marketing landscape.”
Co-Founder and Managing Director, The Mint Studio
“Digital marketing has become one of the primary features of most companies advertising and promotional budget, and it isn’t just about social media marketing, there is immense growth in online and mobile marketing.”
Media Officer, Jawalakhel Group of Industries
Gurung replies, “Every campaign differs.”
Tuladhar does not give a specific answer either. He says that Ads Market work on both retainer and project basis and everything depends on the digital marketing plans that they prepare for the clients. He also focuses on Ads Market not having any commitment or cancellation costs system as most business is done on trust basis.
Diyali also gives a similar perspective and adds, “We don’t have strict commitment or cancellation clause with the client. If the client is unsatisfied with our work and if they can quote specific reasons for the dissatisfaction, we cancel the contract outright. We believe in client satisfaction at any cost.”
‘Bolne Ko Pitho Bikcha, Nabolne Ko Chamal Pani Bikdaina’
It is a fact that both digital and influencer marketing is about reaching more audiences and customers through digital and social media platforms and creating a buzz about ones business, but is it also related to ‘bolne ko pitho bikcha, nabolne ko chamal pani bikdaina’ (he who shouts the loudest gets heard) type of marketing?
“While it is important to be visible in the media and talk about your brand, it is not true that the brand image or the quality of the product is equal to the amount of noise that you make in the media (be it digital or any other),” says Ranjit.
He adds that the focus is not only on getting the attention of customers but about establishing a relationship with customers and engaging with them by creating options and opportunities to do so. “If you overdo it, users will get irritated and retract.”
He believes that identifying the right audience, understanding what they are engaged in and keeping your brand’s presence in a tasteful manner is key to the success of any digital promotion.
Rajbhandari agrees with the proverb and adds that those who can market their product well can obviously sell their products. She highlights, “In Nepal’s context, it’s partially true because we are very much ‘cost’ oriented and those companies who are able to maximise their marketing capability will definitely sell their product during the initial stages but if the price of the product doesn’t match the spending capacity of the consumers, such efforts will go in vain.”
As a marketer Bijukchhe stresses the need for brand awareness and recall. She agrees that digital marketing helps one to occupy a sizeable space in the mind of the audience, but at the same time ‘Brand Experience’ is something that will last longer with customers. She states that if one can implement an aggressive integrated communication plan along with the quality of product/service, then long-term results can be brilliant.