Digital marketing has become a huge part of any modern businessman’s strategy; this much is true. With the rise of social media, mobile devices, and e-commerce, marketers have been going digital in droves to promote to their audiences quickly and cheaply.
But, like any marketing approach, there are some drawbacks that come with digital marketing.
If you are looking to adopt this strategy for your business, it is a good time to be aware of what these drawbacks are.
In this article, let’s explore the top five digital marketing disadvantages for your business.
Top 5 Digital Marketing Drawbacks
1. Overreliance on Technology
If you were still in school during the start of the golden era of technology, the early to mid-2000s, you have likely heard your parents and teachers complain about “kids these days” and their “dependence on gadgets”.
If you were annoyed by that, you would be disappointed to learn that even in business, the sentiment remains. But alas, the truth is the truth, and we can run but cannot hide from it.
No amount of denial will change that one of the most significant digital marketing disadvantages is the overreliance on technology.
Sometimes things just do not work, web design is not an error which can occur at seemingly no provocation, and technology needs to do its job better.
If your website does not work the way it should, if your links lead to blanks, then prospective customers will leave. The same goes for if your service feels too robotic.
Humans crave human interaction; there is no better example of such humans than Malaysians.
If the AI helper for your business cannot provide the feeling of being appreciated as a customer, then you run the risk of losing them. If there’s no personal relationship, then what would customers have to lose by supporting other businesses?
Of course, technology has shaped the industry into what it is today and completely avoiding it would hurt your business. But we urge you to remember that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
2. Difficulty in Standing Out
The second of the digital marketing disadvantages is how it is now nigh on impossible to stand out.
Digital marketing indeed offers a level playing field for businesses of all shapes and sizes, but it is also true that the competition is very fierce because of it.
With so many businesses jockeying for attention online, it is difficult to ensure your business is the one with the most value.
And with customers picking brands and businesses based mostly on affordability, the best way to catch their attention is by lowballing your prices ridiculously.
Which not everyone can afford. A business is a venture to make a living; one cannot simply sacrifice their turnover for a bit of publicity.
So regardless of how aesthetic your advertisements are or how splendid your branding is, plenty of other competitors have as much.
The first thing that customers will look at is the ringgits it costs, not the quality of marketing against thousands of others.
Unfortunate as it is, unique marketing is simply no longer the hallmark of a supportable business. Add to that the challenges that already come with creating attention-grabbing content, and you have yourself in a predicament.
3. Cybersecurity Threats: A Digital Marketing Disadvantage
The third digital marketing disadvantage is the increased risk of cybersecurity threats.
Conducting business online has always come with risks in safety and privacy, now more than ever.
Just look at the statistics from Cyber Security Malaysia (CSM), which point to a rapidly increasing amount of cyber threats;
Nearly 5000 cases in 2022 and 500 cases in February of 2023 are not reassuring numbers at all.
As more businesses become reliant on digital channels, they also become vulnerable to cyberattacks, such as hacking, phishing, and malware.
Such threats can compromise customers’ private data, potentially leading to drops in sales and customers. And this is not even mentioning the damage that it will do to your reputation as a business.
Reputation is everything; without it, you have pretty much nothing going for you, and customers know that intrinsically.
Potential buyers will always believe the words of their fellows more than a business representative. As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
4. Difficulty in Measuring ROI
Another complication that conducting marketing online can bring is difficulty in measuring return on investments (ROI).
“But isn’t it easier to track engagement and traffic and things online?”
Well, yes, technically. While it is easy enough to track website traffic, social media engagement, and email open rates, the real challenge lies in connecting these metrics to actual sales.
There are a variety of reasons for this, but for now, we will focus on something easy to understand: Revenue does not always neatly tie to campaigns.
These days, marketing is generally about generating excitement or “hype” for your products. Sophisticated marketers use a variety of techniques to tie awareness to revenue, but this is the exception, not the norm.
Your website traffic could be spiking because of any number of reasons. Most or even all of them could be completely unrelated to a sudden influx of customers interested in your product.
In the end, tracking engagement is not and should not be used as a tool to estimate ROI.
When it comes down to it, without a clear understanding of the ROI of marketing efforts, businesses may struggle to justify their budgets and make informed decisions about future marketing strategies.
As such, this has made it to the list of digital marketing disadvantages.
5. Saturation of Digital Channels
The final in our list of digital marketing disadvantages is the saturation of digital channels itself. We briefly touched on this in digital marketing disadvantage number two; difficulty in standing out.
As previously stated, more businesses are going digital for fear of being left behind by the times and losing money. But as they do this, the digital channels that they use become increasingly overcrowded.
This makes it that much harder for businesses, especially smaller, newer ones, to break through.
Joining the cacophony of people hawking their wares with your own sales pitch in a market that is always going and is full of vendors is easier said than done.
And even if it is done successfully, who is to say that said pitch even reached the desired audiences?
Metaphors aside, this saturation is also leading to higher costs for digital advertising as the demand for ad space rises.
All while enforcing decreased engagement as social media users become desensitised to promotional content.
Understanding Digital Marketing Disadvantages in Malaysia
To conclude, while digital marketing offers a fine assortment of benefits, it also comes with a litany of downsides.
From overreliance on technology to difficulties in measuring ROI, if you are looking to start marketing digitally, you should be aware of these disadvantages.
The best way to avoid them is to put in the work to mitigate them, thus ensuring the success of your digital marketing efforts.