Disruptive by Default

Although much has been spoken about the notorious pandemic a lot of the current discussions about changes in the management of business or work-life is incomplete without its mention. The pandemic has been starring as the anti-hero in more aspects of life than one and when it comes to start-ups and businesses, to simply conclude that it has introduced changes would be a gross understatement.

On the one hand, where the pandemic-induced cash sting shelved several budding endeavours, it also managed to encourage upcoming businesses to become creative with their marketing techniques. Cash-strapped start-ups learned to not only re-visit the older marketing tactics but were observantly more open to exploring what the world of digital marketing had to offer.

Start-Ups: Mavericks

Innovation is not new to the start-up culture. In fact, long before the pandemic struck us, it was believed that the innovative techniques used by start-ups should be mirrored by legacy companies for continued growth. While the growth of certain start-ups can be attributed to product relevancy arising out of contactless requirements and the rising healthcare concerns, a lot of other budding businesses bootstrapped their way and explored the digital marketing domain to sail through the chaos. Whether it was turning to Facebook for selling products or exploring newer avenues such as conversational e-commerce, start-ups learned to stretch their money to steady the dwindling revenues.

How Start-Ups Experimented with Digital Marketing

Any entrepreneur testing the waters will know to a fault that while an innovative idea, a talented team, and the necessary funding are essential elements of running a business, marketing it correctly is an indispensable requirement. What makes this challenging for a start-up setting is that the rules of marketing that apply to legacy companies, won’t necessarily guarantee success in a start-up format, and replicating them might only lead to a significant financial investment with uncertain results. Here are a few digital marketing techniques that start-ups have largely benefitted from: –

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With an ever-increasing fan base, AI is starting to strengthen its roots in Indian start-ups that are leveraging its power to forge innovative solutions and use real-time data to tweak the business for an enhanced consumer experience. For instance, FreshToHome the Bangalore-based start-up that sells seafood and meat to its users is leveraging the power of AI and ML (machine learning) to analyse consumer behaviour particularly to understand product mix and consumer preferences, and uses the appropriate recommendations to fuel business growth. With its increased adoption to grow businesses, AI is disrupting the traditional industry norms and it can be safely assumed that all start-ups are AI start-ups.

Conversational E-Commerce

The e-commerce industry flourished amid the lockdown and ever since start-ups have hopped onto the emerging trend of “conversational e-commerce” to reach out to the relevant customers and sell products or services. To understand the term, it is important to first establish an easy definition of e-commerce: buying and selling things on the internet. The usual process to do this is by browsing on a website, choosing your product, paying for it, and expecting it within “3-5 working days.” Contrarily, conversational e-commerce is an interactive approach to online shopping wherein the consumer is spoken with throughout their buying journey. This change comes with a general shift towards personalisation and enhancing convenience for customers.

Online Videos

A great internet presence is essential in a world that is thriving digitally. This is true to the extent that if your business is not online, it may very well not exist at all. In the diverse spectrum of digital tools available to businesses to increase their visibility online, there is hardly something as effective as live streaming and marketing videos. This promising medium has been assisting businesses in increasing visitors and subsequently sales. The best way to use online videos is to explain product usability. For instance, brands such PooPourri  leveraged the power of video to speak about something nasty in a mildly cringe and completely hilarious how-to product video. While humour may not always be a brand’s choice of tonality, businesses could walk back to the drawing board and figure out a suitable narrative that could be transformed into a video.

Digital Marketing of the Future  

When it comes to digital marketing, nothing is ever set in stone – there is always a new curveball to “revolutionise” the landscape. Here is a compact list of current attention grabbers: –

  • Social Commerce: First come the astounding numbers: with the social commerce industry expecting to grow three times when compared to e-commerce. But before jumping the gun, here is a definition of the term: selling products on social media

  • The reason for its growth stems simply from the understanding that people are addicted to social media and brands would be fools for asking users to leave the platform to purchase their product.
  • Metaverse: The metaverse is an extension of social media as it seeks to create an environment where people could work, play and socialise. As the excitement for this virtual space grows with great potential for people to spend their time on it, brands will benefit from establishing an early foot-in-the-door through exciting marketing techniques to explore.
  • NFTs: The next iteration of the web as we know it has unlocked an interesting and creative avenue. NFTs are uniquely created digital assets and brands can create their own NFTs to build or strengthen their customer community.

To conclude, using the aforementioned tactics start-ups could focus on increasing profits and advancing on the goal of business growth even in a challenging market scenario. Digital trends have been constantly reshaping the world of marketing and diversifying ways to reach out and communicate with audiences. While the pace of innovation may seem overwhelming, the changes are exciting and difficult to ignore.

Stay curious. Stay Secure.
See you next week

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Jai Bahal
Jai Bahal - Co-Founder @ NAVIC
NAVIC aims to educate, inform and train students, professionals and entrepreneurs about the future of communications. NAVIC has collaborated with SCoRe for its flagship course: EVOLVE – A first of its kind curriculum that discusses hyper-relevant subjects like Meme Marketing, Trolls and Bots, AI in communications and more.

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