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DIGITIAL MEDIA: EMPOWERING CUSTOMERS AND FACILITATING

MANAGERS FOR THE FUTURE


Digital media is the media of the present and definitely the future. It is something that has
changed the course of the way we live owing to its incredible innovation capabilities, which at
times dont even seem pragmatic but eventually turn out to be! Digital media, in generic terms
can be defined as the media that can be understood by anyone, even by machines! An
organizations ability to communicate with its potential customers has changed drastically from
old school dial up connections in the early and mid-90s to the broadband and fiber world of
today. In the mid-90s, a communications campaign would have included newspaper ads, radio
spots or talk show appearances. Modern digital campaigns might still use some or all of these
media but there is one other important medium available to all these days- digital media. Digital
media has increased the reach of individuals as well as organizations. Today, there are roughly
one billion active Facebook users, 343 million Google+ users, 200 million LinkedIn users and
500 million Twitter users.

According to Aaron Reitkopf, North American CEO of digital agency Profero, Theres never
been a better time to be in advertising, and theres never been a worse time. But digital media
has revolutionized the art of marketing and advertising. The face of digital media is the digital
media marketing. When we take a look at the way Narendra Modi made an impact with the help
of digital media, we can actually judge the kind of impact of using the right things at the right
time in the right manner.

But why has digital media created a kind of an impact that was never seen before and why is the
number of users on the rise? Firstly, there is a lot more to offer for not only customers but also
organizations. From the customers point of view, there is a lot more choice because of digital
media. Google gives you a million search results in an instant when you just asked one! This
makes the customers mind go farther and makes him explore. It actually empowers the
customers! Theres so much available to customers that it is getting really tough for
organizations to make an impact on them. It is important for them to cross the Zero moment of
truth. This term means that customers form an opinion in the first few clicks when they search
online for a brand or a product. Digital media is all about connecting the customers to
organizations perfectly.

The AIDA model depicts as to how the customer is actually connected to the brand. Customers
tend to form an image about a brand and then try to substantiate as to what they thought was
right. Organizations need to build the image of the product by making customers aware and
interested. Only then, customers long to buy the product and finally buy the product. Digital
media has simplified the process completely. In several cases customers do not even see the
product, but are still so loyal to it like the Intel Processor. Digital media is beneficial from
organizations point of view because they are noticed by the customers. There is a lot more
choice available even to organizations to reach their customers. Instead of choosing among a TV
or a print advertisement, they can now create media that is a combination of audio, visual, text
and interactive media. This mixed media can appeal to a larger audience with different mindsets.
Some success stories of digital media include FORDs Fiesta Movement. Videos related to the
Fiesta campaign generated 6.5 million views on YouTube, and Ford received 50,000 requests for
information about the vehicle, primarily from non-Ford drivers. When we take a look at the way
BJP and of course, Narendra Modi came to the limelight with none other than digital media, we
can actually judge the kind of impact of using the right things at the right time in the right
manner. Another instance is when Levi Strauss used social media to offer location-specific
deals. In one instance, direct interactions with just 400 consumers led 1,600 people to turn up at
the companys stores an example of social medias word-of-mouth effect.

Secondly, the cost of advertizing reduces drastically because of the virtual medium which is
used. One is free to create anything he/ she out of imagination without depleting natural
resources. The digital media is the one that actually generates resources rather than using other
resources. Many sectors actually bank only on data these days while others are beginning to
improvise themselves with the humongous amount of data available. Reports suggest that the
USA healthcare system alone generated about 150 exabytes of data till about 2011 and is
expected to touch Zettabyte and Yottabyte ranges in the future. This is where the concept of
Bigdata comes in. This kind of data can help in clinical decision support, diseases surveillance,
and population health management. Moreover, a large amount of skill is required to handle
BigData. Hence, employment generation is the immediate effect of BigData generation. The
healthcare industry is an example in which BigData can actually transform the way things work.
It is more of a disruptive change. Digital media and in turn, BigData has led to a large amount of
predictive intelligence. Things have changed rapidly as Stan Rapp from MRM Partners
Worldwide rightly says in the 21st century, the database is the marketplace.
Thirdly, digital media is all about the right usage at the right time, especially for managers. It
facilitates managers for the future! One of the most important aspects for managers is to target
the correct segment. This would depend on the needs of the customers & hence it is important to
understand the needs of customers. However, there are several instances where the need is
created. Thats where the predictive intelligence helps in understanding customer mentality. This
facilitates managers to take better and more objective decisions. Mckinsey proposed a model
which describes the steps any organization and its managers must follow to bring themselves in
the hall of fame!

Even without engaging consumers directly, companies can glean insights from an effective
monitoring program that informs everything from product design to marketing and provides
advance warning of potentially negative publicity. Its also critical to communicate such
feedback within the business quickly: whoever is charged with brand monitoring must ensure
that information reaches relevant functions, such as communications, design, marketing, public
relations, or risk. Social media can be used most proactively to lead consumers toward long-term
behavioral changes. In the early stages of the consumer decision journey, this may involve
boosting brand awareness by driving Web traffic to content about existing products and services.
Another important factor for managers is customer relationship building and customer loyalty.
For instance, M&M uses social media to address complaints to ensure customer loyalty. An
individuals opinion can make a huge impact because of digital media. Sometimes customer
opinions can go viral and even expose a company completely. A classic case is the United
Breaks Guitars when a catchy tune with about 13 million YouTube views, created by a guitarist,
Dave, whose beloved $3,500 guitar was broken by Uniteds luggage handlers. Even after eight
months of persistent correspondence without receiving compensation from the company, Dave
Carroll released a YouTube video to air his grievances to the world. The videos popularity was

so high that it led to social media fervor and bad press galore. This was not really negative
publicity but just one complaint from a customer! The story is now a case study in customer
service. It even propelled Dave to write a book, United Breaks Guitars: The power of one voice
in the age of social media.
Hindustan Unilever recently set up a digital media lab in Mumbai to train its managers. Apart
from this several managers have been to global headquarters of Facebook and Google among
others for training purposes and digital certification. The amount of money that has been pumped
into digital ads has increased by approximately 40% in 2012-13. HUL also has partnerships with
digital media giants like Sonys Arcade Creative, Samsung, EA sports etc.
Although digital media seems to be the best in every sphere, there is a dark side to it too and this
is enough to keep cyber criminals busy. The flip side of using digital media is that the
manipulation of data is easier than print media or other forms of mass media. There are several
issues like that of the copyright violation, phishing, piracy etc. In fact, the US author Tom Wolf
went on to say that It's almost impossible to make a name for yourself on the internet unless you
do something scandalous!
Thus, digital media has extended the disruptive impact of the digital era across a wide variety of
functions. We are now in a generation where hours have become seconds and supercomputers
can fit into ones palm. The scope of creativity in technology of the human brain is unlimited.
But one must always remember that digital media is more about sociology and psychology than
technology!
References:
1. http://voicemags.com/INVESTORS.html
2. http://www.smartinsights.com/traffic-building-strategy/offer-and-messagedevelopment/aida-model/
3. http://www.mcbeestrategic.com/social-media-in-2013-the-influence-and-impact-of-theindividual-on-digital-communications/
By:
Rajat Ramesh
Saikat Roy
PGP 2014-16
IIM Tiruchirappalli