Much has been debated over the need for traditional businesses to move & adapt towards online business models. Here is a point of view from operational perspective. For any offline brand to adapt to online ecosystem, it needs to go through two phases, not necessarily in a sequential order though:
Objective: Maximise brand reach through content creation
- Video content: This is not same as an edited or longer version of TVC. Each campaign needs to be developed with a specific Purpose in mind. One of the biggest hindrance towards developing specific content for digital is that cost of developing a traditional TV ad costs a bomb and you can’t develop digital content at same cost. In past few years, market has evolved and today there are multiple content developers available at various price points, starting as low as a tenth of a TVC cost.
Another important point is that production values of each content does not have to be glossy. Certain type of content are better when produced with raw look.
Video is just one type of content. There are many other types and forms. Content development in itself is a huge task and involves both science and art and would need a different article to elaborate, else this may turn out to be a book instead of an article.
- Content distribution: Online ecosystem is far more complicated than we realise. Developing a good content is only half the battle won, rest half is distribution and is equally challenging as well. That’s because there are no industry benchmarks, no standard body which measures TRP like ratings. Thus each organisation needs to experiment with various campaigns, optimise them and then arrive at their own benchmarks.
- Measurability metrics: View rates & CTRs are passé now. You need to develop your own system to measure different metrics. For instance: Independent metrics may not always provide you true picture so go for View: like ratio, View: Share ratio, 25% view : 75% view :100% view rate. Key is to develop unique metrics that work for your own brands.
Beside the quantitative measurement, it is important to get your hand on softer listening aspects on social media platforms. Look out for sentiment analysis (whether audience is talking positively, negatively or is neutral to your brand)
- Measurability tools: though there are separate & multiple tools for each platform (facebook, twitter, youtube etc. but again you need to decide which tool is working for you and which is not. Agencies sometimes try to push the tool in which they have invested. This may not be the best option always.
- Build Brand: Eventually, we all need to understand that online is just a new medium. Fundamental audience behaviour won’t change with respect to a brand building exercise. It takes time to build a brand. If you are a strong brand offline, ofcourse it helps but not necessarily you will start getting high metrics right from day time. Building a brand online works the same way as offline- Invest time, energy, money and efforts and slowly brand will take off.
Objective: Start developing an e-commerce based sales business model. Phase 1 is important to develop a brand and then its time to reap in benefits of brand building and start getting some real business from e-commerce/ digital platform
- Distribution: this is different for Content and for sales. Distribution that may work for content may not work when it comes to performance campaigns for sale. Distribution is again a very very complicated part of e-commerce for any brand. Just having your products listed with e-commerce websites does not mean business will start flowing in automatically. Ofcourse it will but not up to its potential. Once a brand has presence on various online stores, you got to divert traffic at right time and right places. Key remains to optimise your spends and maximise your returns but that also will happen only when you start benchmarking your performance metrics against your own.
- Business Analytics/ Data scientists team: This is THE MOST important aspect in entire Digital footprint of any organisation. Reason being that for any business (offline or online), there is so much data available that it is impractical for any traditional marketer to analyse this data own its own. At first, this may sound like a simple task being complicated but one may not realise unless one gets his hands dirty. That is the reason, this is a separate function altogether in most online businesses. Infact, certain big businesses hire qualified Statisticians for this job.
One strategy is to begin with a goal about where you need to reach and then define and analyse business problems and work towards them. This approach is bit different from traditional way to analysing business problems where a cloud of data is analysed to find out business problems. In Digital space, this may sound like finding a needle in haystack. If you wish to read more about this business approach, read this book called “Thinking backwards” by Maartin Scheepbouwer. He is Global CEO of OLX (largest online classified site in the world).
- SEO/ SEM (Search engine optimisation & Search engine Marketing): Though these are obvious for any online business but even for a traditional businesses, these could play a critical role, especially if business has plans to expand into e-commerce. These may not provide immediate results but are critical pillars for long term business sustainability through e-commerce.
- Logistics: is another beast altogether but will eventually mature for e-commerce businesses to be viable. Will take this up some other time.
These are only the few basic but key metrics involving digital aspects for offline brands. All said and done, for any brand, digital space needs investment (a lot of investment), time & strategy and most offline businesses will have to eventually adapt to online in order to accelerate growth.