Top 7 risks associated with digital marketing

Marketing is a professional term for the practice of planting a particular message into the minds of the right people. Before the advent of the internet, marketing was dependent on physical methods like newspapers, flyers, television etc. The digital revolution has made it easy to own and function a marketing business without offices, multiple employees and other traditional systems.

The flip side of the boon of the internet is the risks that come with it for digital marketing purposes. That includes not having a clear strategy, defamation, lack of research and many more. It’s essential for a company to handle and mitigate risks before they result in the downfall of the company.

Risk 1 : Lack of a clear digital marketing strategy

A digital marketing plan is as essential as any other strategic communications generated by a company. The digital marketing risk of not having a clear plan is the dangerous consequences of the aforementioned.

  • Sales pipeline – This pipeline is a visual and real display of the current state of company and not creating a plan with lead to fewer sales, lead which inevitably leads to a decrease in sales and profit
  • Weak online presence – buyers are growing more skeptical and judging based on a company’s digital engagement and the risk of misinterpretation of information.

Risk 2 : Risks of exposure and risk of defamation

The risk of having a basic social media account includes the chances of public ridicule. A single mistake can affect the reputation of the organization. The permanent damage caused by this online misstep and the stronger and outgoing a digital campaign is, the higher the risk of offending the community, not meeting social guidelines and gathering a group of people that would be “rubbed” the wrong way. Damage control in these situations is difficult to manage. It would be most essential to make sure public relations affairs are in order and have examined the campaign before release.

Risk 3 : Risks in using Services

Marketing through online channels includes the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools as well as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and the absence of using these lead to the outflow of old, outdated information. But using these services in an incorrect way can open the firm to multiple risks (Frost 2016).

Over the years, these tools have rapidly evolved and get regularly updated which requires the digital marketing strategies having the need to be simultaneously updated. In the last decade, the world of online marketing has seen a transition from Google AdWords to demographic key audience analysis, behavioral segmentation and revolution in the world of advertising (Ouellet 2017)

SEM: This form of paid advertising permits an organization to promote advertisements on search engines like Google, Yahoo and pay as soon the ad results into a click.

Risks in SEM – Due to the vast variety in the available metric evaluation tools, there is pressure in choosing the most effective tool specific to the company’s campaign. There is risk of spending over budget, targeting the incorrect audience leading to less traffic to the organization’s website.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization is one of the more popular tools for marketing in this era. Every time a user searches for your brand or service or anything relatively close this tool shows the consumer the option of your website at the very top.

Risks in SEO – The failure to meet the requirements of Google’s algorithm will lead to no results. Engines like Google have a lot of criteria and strict factors that go into ranking the websites and this will require thorough checking and adjustments for maximum engagement.

Risk 4 : Lack of Research for Target Audience

The danger in online marketing is lack of research especially in terms of audience analysis. One of the initial processes in tailoring a marketing campaign via online channels is targeting the type of users according to geographic, online behavior, demographic, psychographic and many other factors (Ouellet 2017). Not defining the target segment for your campaign can open up the organization to risks like waste of money, resources and failure of achieving the goals of the campaign.

There is also an added risk of information bombarding your target as well as information being lost in the sea of advertisements on the internet. Without segmentations, the data analysis process is rendered ineffective. Highly targeted and automated messages can be useful to beat your campaigns.

Risk 5 – Misleading bot traffic

Creating and releasing digital content can possibly lead to bot traffic. These advertisements can be measured by consumers that are processed by several tech softwares. According to Montgomery, there is a possibility that the farm uses the clients’ money using grids bots to duplicate reactions, swipe activities and rob from their budget (Montgomery 2019).

Privacy Protection – With increasing awareness among consumers, the concerns about privacy are openly voiced. Targeting your audience and displaying ads includes the risk of bad faith. This risk can be avoided by being transparent and being clear on your privacy policy to ease consumers and make them feel safe. (O’Neill 2019)

Risk 6 – Omni-channel marketing

Sole reliance on a single channel can be too risky. With digital marketing in question, there are multiple online platforms that are available that are fully used by intelligence agencies.

Single-channel marketing strategies – Too much dependence on one channel delivers the wrong brand image. Multiple techniques like emails, social media, KOL (Key opinion leaders) and events with many more can effectively deliver the message (Rose,  Kindred Creative Group).

Risk 7 : Trademark infringement

Trademark infringement is a concern for digital marketers. With so much emphasis on branding, every brand wishes to protect their ideas and any concepts that are or could be an asset to their portfolio. These have several forms like words, logo or taglines and it is highly possible that a particular firm has been unknowingly using registered trademarks from another company.

Digital marketing is used by almost all businesses and if your firm keeps the above in mind while implementing a communication strategy online and ensuring a stronger ROI. These mistakes and risks can easily be avoided to build a strong brand.

References –

Frost 2016, <3 Risks to Be Aware of When Researching Digital Marketing>

Buccella 2021, <Top 5 Risks that Marketing Departments Face>

Oullet Megan 2017, < Digital Marketing – Risks to Avoid>

Ad Age Collective expert Panel 2019, <8 online advertising risks your agency must be prepared for>

Submitted By: Ananya Mangwani, Member of Student Risk Club (SRC)


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