Online Marketing, a new way to approach the traditional marketing systems, has gained major popularity in recent years thanks to the increasing availability of smart digital devices and of course, the internet. Today, marketing and technology go hand in hand which was beyond the imagination of many - even a decade ago in Bangladesh.
The reasons behind the sudden growth in online marketing are manyfold. According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), in January of 2018, approximately 80 million people in Bangladesh were using the internet. Online marketing can give access to a marketer of this vast number of people within such a short time that was previously impossible by using traditional marketing methods.
Moreover, various social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc. can give a marketer valuable information about the interests and demographics of possible consumers of their content in a way that traditional methods could never. We have all experienced how Google collects our data and shows us relevant advertisements. The algorithms these media are built on can be of great help to marketers trying to reach the right person at the right time.
Online marketing in Bangladesh started to become popular in the early 20s. Back then, it was mainly done using email newsletters, SMS and websites. Now that we are approaching the end of this decade, much development has taken place in the online marketing environment around us. Although emails and websites are still popular methods among marketers, use of social media has vastly increased as more and more people began spending a large amount of their day browsing through social media. Today, if a business doesn’t have any social media profile, one might wonder if the business even exists. As we are here, we may as well look at some of those marketing platforms used online by various companies these days.
There isn’t much doubt about Facebook being the most used social media in Bangladesh. So conveniently, most brands have adapted to using this for their marketing purposes. Starting and promoting small businesses have become much more accessible with the page creation and promotion features of Facebook. Communicating with the consumers has become easier than ever with the help of Messenger.
Along with the flow, larger brands have started engaging customers via this popular social media. RFL, Bashundhara Group, Aarong - whatever brand you can think of, has at least one Facebook page where anyone can satisfy their queries on products and services available right from the comfort of their homes.
The reason for this major success of Facebook as a marketing media in Bangladesh is obviously the large number of users which counts around 25-30 million at present. However, relying on only this one media might not be the way to go in the long run. Ehfaz Nowman, Lecturer of Department of Marketing and International Business at NSU, believes that currently Bangladeshi firms spending in digital marketing on Facebook alone are not losing out on too great an audience, in a few years that may not be the case. [The Daily Star, October 21, 2019]
● Other Social Media
Even though Facebook is the most popular social media in Bangladesh, other media such as Instagram, Twitter and YouTube have also started being used in online marketing. Studies on social media usage in Bangladesh have revealed that the 15 to 25-year old demographic is invariably branching out to other social platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. While the young generation is leaning more towards Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, YouTube is used to stream videos by almost anyone who has a smartphone.
As Instagram has a major number of young users and the potential to reach international consumers, companies catered towards the younger generation, i.e. 10 Minute School, Aarong, Chaldal etc. are actively using Instagram to market their products and services whereas the more traditional brands are still reliant on using these media for marketing purposes.
Unlike other social media, YouTube and Blog websites have two-fold marketing opportunities. One’s through the traditional on screen advertisement, the other’s through sponsorship. Although sponsorship deals are an effective method of marketing and being highly used in this content creating community around the globe, Bangladesh is still not using this to its full potential. The reasons might be lack of interest or idea in online marketing from the larger brands and the content creator community of Bangladesh.
● Business Websites and Email Newsletters
Despite Facebook being the most popular social media in Bangladesh, no one has still been able to beat the traffic on Google.com and using website links in promotions can make the company appear in universal search results. Along with that, building a website for one’s business can earn a point of trust from the consumers and provide a more customizable space to showcase the products or services. Using websites to browse and even directly order products is much easier and can be made a pleasant experience if the designing of the website is good. In today’s dynamic world, everyone looks for a little convenience.
Websites and emails are being used in online marketing by more or less all brands in Bangladesh from the very beginning of this online marketing path. Nowadays, many brands even have their own apps that can be downloaded from the App Store or Play Store on one’s mobile device for an even easier and more convenient experience while shopping.
● Online Shopping and E-commerce Websites
This is another platform that has been getting more and more popular since the mid 20s. An e-commerce site is an online marketplace where brands can advertise their products and consumers can order them directly from the website. At present, the most popular online shop in Bangladesh is Daraz.com along with many other websites where the brands can sell and anyone can buy products.
These websites range from an “anything-you-want” shop like Daraz or Evaly to “everyday-grocery” shops like Chaldal. There are sites that sell only electronics or real estate, there are online bookstores as well as sites where one can sell their old reusable products. These websites are a great way to market for large brands as they not only make people familiar with the brand names but also provide an easy way to immediately sell their products.
● Display Advertisements
According to Wikipedia, Display advertising is advertising on websites or apps or social media through banners or other ad formats made of text, images, flash, video, and audio. The main purpose of display advertising is to deliver general advertisements and brand messages to site visitors.
This is another old and trusty method of online marketing that’s executed in Bangladesh by many brands. Display advertisements are seen in social media and YouTube. A large amount of these advertisements can be seen in various Blog websites, search engine results and unpaid applications.
In Bangladesh, most of the digital marketing is outsourced to marketing agencies by the brands. These tenders are given through bidding among the participant agencies who operate creative campaigns for the customers. They try and engage customers using various online platforms, from emails to apps, by using strategies to fulfill the requirements of the client brands. Adding to that, the agencies create social media content such as posters, videos, queries etc. for their clients to share the latest product information to keep people engaged. In more recent days, sharing information about the brand through emotional storytelling has become trendy and getting a vast response from consumers. [Ref]
Even if only 10-12% of the total marketing expense goes towards online marketing in Bangladesh for now, this approach to marketing has already shown positive results for many companies. With the growth of smartphone users, internet subscribers and of course, the introduction of 3G and now 4G network, online marketing is becoming more and more effective with even the smallest investment towards it. If implemented well, online marketplaces can bring in promising development for businesses while providing convenience to consumers all over the country.