With the digital universe growing at a scorching pace, many domains from publishing, marketing and advertising are experiencing the impact of the consequent changes in consumer behaviour. All professions are confronted with novel challenges and unexpected opportunities, even as they come to grips with the changing dynamics of the digital era.

Every year, empirical evidence indicates that consumers are spending more time online, perusing different digital platforms. Over the past few years, the smartphone revolution has captured the minds of customers, especially the younger generation. Be it bookings, purchases, reviews or what-have-you, today’s generation is willing to log on instantly and use the digital medium to get things done, rather than step out into the open and expend extra energy.

Whether it is Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs and other digital channels, the virtual universe is giving a run for its money to the real world.

Against this backdrop, students who want to study marketing in future have little choice but to quickly understand the dynamics of the online universe and digital marketing. This medium has been gaining rising traction as companies find that they can reach their target audience at much lower spends compared to conventional marketing mediums. What’s more, digital marketing tools can evaluate the efficacy of specific marketing campaigns. Thereby, such marketers can decide how to optimise marketing spends more effectively.

These include search engine marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimisation and social media analytics, among others. Proper understanding can ensure they strategise well and offer full value to their clients via digital marketing. None of these advantages exist in traditional marketing. First job and career prospects are the key drivers for a student in his/her consideration for a professional course.

Digital marketing is the best direction for both short term and long-term prospects. Not only had the kind of salary or role offered in this industry on a high but also the growth prospects. With the changing scenario in customer behaviour globally, companies have come under increasing pressure to devise new ways and means to keep pace with their varying trends and expectations.

Marketing in the pre-Internet era was primarily one-dimensional, with the message merely being delivered. Digital marketing is two dimensional, with social media marketers beginning conversations and building relationships with clients.

In this two-way process, brands engage with their target audiences regularly. This not only helps in disseminating messages, but in understanding customers’ perceptions and preferences. Assimilation of this data on a mass scale helps brands better their offerings and keep abreast of changing customer tastes.

As they say, “forewarned is forearmed” and it’s no different in the world of digital marketing.

(The writer is a visiting faculty in institutes like IMT, Indian Institute of Mass Communications, and Delhi School of Communications)