19 Jun 2019 17:40 IST

‘Digital marketing not a disruption but another way of reaching consumers’

Book on digital marketing by Swaminathan TN and Karthik Kumar released at MMA Centre in Chennai



“Disruptive technologies and the tech convergence have raised customer expectations, and Industry 4.0 and Marketing 4.0 have to work in tandem to provide the highest level of customer experience,” said Dr Swaminathan TN, Strategic Advisor to Dean & Adjunct Professor, Marketing, at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai.


He is co-author of the book Digital Marketing: from Fundamentals to Future, that was released by IAS officer Dr Santhosh Babu, Principal Secretary, Information Technology Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, at the Madras Management Association Centre in Chennai.

“For an aspiring marketing professional, it is imperative that, apart from exposure to the fundamentals of marketing, or marketing 2.0, the adoption of digital marketing methods should be strong,” said Dr Swaminathan.

Dr Swaminathan said that while digital marketing is largely perceived as B2C, it is equally significant in business-to-people, business-to-government and government-to-government interactions. “This needed to be dealt with in a comprehensive manner. And this book attempts to cover all these areas as such a resource for management students was lacking till now,” he said.


An additional tool

Karthik Kumar, a director at Rage Communications with over 40 years experience in analytics and marketing communication, and co-author of the book, said its publication is a watershed moment for the marketing community in India as it brings digital marketing from the periphery and puts it firmly at the centre of the marketing process, where it should be.

“Without digital marketing, businesses cannot succeed at the market place. Digital marketing is not a disruption, or an adjunct process, as people imagine. It is an additional tool which helps businesses reach the new generation of consumers,” he added.

“Everybody thinks digital marketing requires a different kind of expertise. But marketing will always be the same, whether digital or non-digital. Digital only provides new and different ways to connect with consumers,” Kumar said.

What the book offers

Published by Cengage, the book highlights the convergence of technologies through digital strategising, engagement, content marketing and marketing management. The book is a detailed guide to the use of digital technologies and media, based on sound marketing principles that remain the same for traditional or digital approaches. It caters to the needs of students, academicians, corporates, entrepreneurs and others who want to understand and explore digital marketing in their spheres.

The book’s objective is to motivate and equip readers to begin a career in digital marketing and uses concepts, illustrations and cases to expand on specific techniques, platforms and channels.

Solutions from start-ups

“Using digital media, we converted Poompuhar, a somnolent organisation, into a popular showroom with a strong social media presence, doubling its turnover in a short span,” said Santosh Babu, adding that the TN Government is putting in place several measures to increase connectivity to the hinterland, an initiative that will drive major change.

He said that another significant resource, with a completely different approach to solving problems, is the start-up ecosystem. Referring to the book’s description of ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital migrants’, he said: “Millennials who start their own ventures have no baggage and can ‘unentangle’ easily. They think laterally and vertically to come up with effective solutions. All they need is a market and investors who are willing to fund them.”

Santosh Babu said the government is looking at ways to engage with start-ups in procurement of services, and is considering the creation of a different tendering process to accommodate such a resource.

Going digital helps small players

The event concluded with a panel discussion on Digital and connected: world beyond B2C, moderated by the high-energy Pravin Shekhar, Founder & Kreator in Chief, Krea. The panelists, all experts from the marketing domain, were: Gowri Mukherjee, Co-Founder, Credit Mantri; Raj Narain, Founder - Optima Response; Karthik Nandan, Great Lakes alumnus, sports and travel buff, and Principal Product Manager, Cricket.com; and Prem Kumar Sivakumaran, Director at The Smart CEO Magazine and Growth Mechanics Infomedia.

Asked what word of mouth (WoM) meant to them, Gowri said: “WoM has been a way of life in India for over 3,000 years. Digital helps amplify the voice of the common man; but there’s a need to conform to accepted norms of social behaviour.”

All the panelists were in agreement that digital marketing is a boon to small businesses, that have leveraged this route to grow faster and reach higher levels of innovation.