Justin Zhong, Marketing Head, TCL India

Justin comes with more than 9 years of experience in the marketing field. Currently, he is heading the marketing department of TCL India, responsibilities include- Developing launch strategy for new products and overall marketing planning; overseeing the whole creative / redefine process of brand identity & personality; managing marketing/digital campaigns to establish and maintain product credibility and sustainability; monitoring the consumer behaviours, studying the latest market trends, and identifying the potential growth opportunities.

 

For information on any particular product, the first thing a consumer does is ‘google it’. The sharp increase in affordable smartphones and internet dependency for information has transformed the online space into a competitive environment. Much like how physical stores brandish vibrant billboards, informative pamphlets, and have promotional agents, the online space is filled with content that advertises products on the back of creative digital marketing strategies.

Often, successful marketing is considered to be the art of subtle persuasion wherein a customer is convinced that they require a product. Digital marketing capitalizes on this ideology and the online dependency of a user and provides companies with the ideal platform to do precisely that. Companies can make their presence truly felt by showcasing their products through SEO-optimized blogs, articles, online ads, video ads, online magazines, and non-intrusive ads. They can be in constant touch with their prospective customer by churning out any number of content.

A note-worthy social media handle, a seamless, content loaded and SEO-optimized website with chat-enabled customer service can generate more international and regional customers than the most ingenious salesperson. Furthermore, using a barrage of metrics, companies can target and adjust their resources and concentrate on winning strategies, curbing losses, and generating customers. 

A primary reason why digital marketing is so effective is that it truly tailors the online experience based on customer habits. Applying data analytics on data accessed through cookies, companies can analyze consumer behaviour and generate ads that truly resonate with their target audience. Studies show that 78% of internet users find personalized ads the main reason for their purchase. While this proved to be an enormous resource, it also increased data thefts and made consumers truly vulnerable where their privacy is concerned.

Threats to Consumers Caused By Digital Marketing

Email Marketing Risks: Almost every website requires an email login and every account can be accessed using the same email. Companies use email ids of customers to send them newsletters and other useful ad content while also advertising. However, hackers can send emails to customers intended to phish data or insert ransomware using consumer analytics and cookies. Losing an email account is a great hassle. One compromised email means that every account that has been created using that particular id is equally compromised; that is why companies need to ensure that every consumer is protected by only sending verified emails and providing customers with subscriptions preferences.

Social Media Spamming: A user’s social media browsing habit is a data goldmine that companies can use to target their ads. For example, if users are interested in wildlife, they would be targeted with several ads ranging from wildlife tours, best wildlife cameras, photography lessons, and trekking trips. While these are relevant ads and useful for the consumer, they also allow hackers and internet trolls to spam the user feed and personal messages. Many spammers create their handles and actively spam users with advertisements about their products and make the online experience truly nightmarish. 

Improper Ad Monitoring: Digital marketing ads are so overwhelmingly used that Facebook makes $84 billion a year solely through ads. YouTube is also another platform that is heavily reliant on ads and recommendations. Every popular or unpopular online platform is heavily dependent upon ads for its revenue. This means that more often than not, these online platforms pay very little attention to the ads that are being run, as they are focused on the number of ads that are being run. As a result, the user has to sit through a lot of spam, and the chances of the user’s data being stolen increases monumentally. 

WordPress Vulnerabilities: Most of the blog space is reliant on WordPress websites. WordPress is easy to use and companies can have their content and ad prices ready to be showcased and targeting their leads in a matter of minutes. WordPress uses a lot of plugins; while they make marketing easier and content more effective, these plugins are an easy way in for hackers. Hackers just have to target the vulnerabilities in the plugins to gain access to consumers. DDoS, Cross-site Scripting, and Password attacks are just some of the hazardous attacks made possible by exploiting plugin vulnerabilities.

CRM Software Risks: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a big part of digital marketing. CRM software aids companies in storing, sorting, and providing meaningful reports on consumer behaviour. CRM software plays a crucial role in strategizing. If the software used is protected using a weak password or is not held to the strictest standards of internet compliance, then the entire customer data that has been collected and stored falls into severe risk. Companies need to actively invest in cybersecurity measures and ensure that only trusted devices access the network to maintain the integrity of the CRM software while safeguarding consumer data.

Digital marketing is the future. With increasing reliance on electronics and the internet in general, the vital requirement for digital marketing has never been felt more than today. It is the responsibility of every company and organization to ensure that digital marketing is done honestly and morally. The data that is extracted to analyze customer habits have been done so with willful knowledge and transparency. The organizations also need to make sure that every prospective consumer is made aware of any and every possible threat when they browse their content.

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