Manny Nepomuceno, Digital Director and Head of Proximity Philippines, Sister Company of BBDO-Guerrero
The word is immediate. The scope is limitless.
The most exciting thing about digital advertising is, it is not bounded by geography or time.
Digital advertising continues to evolve, amazing us to a dizzying spin.
Varying forms of this media are waiting to be born, in the next few months, or tomorrow when we wake up in the morning.
From simple email, banner, text, display, pop-up, content, flash HTML, mobile ads to blogs and product feeds, digital advertising has gone beyond the boundaries of our imagination.
Websites have become cutting edge in functionality, design and entertainment value.
"Digital advertising added new dimension to the ad world, innovation at its finest," says Jamaal Acuna, a University of Asia Pacific communication arts graduate.
Search engine and social media marketing have proven themselves powerful awareness-making machines, creating buzz for less media money investments.
Nowadays, it is unthinkable for one not to explore the different avenues paved by the wonder media of the future.
"The latest iteration of an activity that began with prehistoric man, word-of-mouth and cave drawings has gone beyond our wildest dreams.
"The media, contexts and content have evolved … but not the objective," says Bing Kimpo, Chief Marketing Officer of Trackworks and former director of Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP).
In these days of strong market competition, a consistently updated, interesting, entertaining brand website can be a potent word-of-mouth instigator, capable of making countless hits, bridge contacts and eventually close business deals.
A website matters most, matter of factly. It is your face to the world, likened to an airport where you get a strong impression the first time you're visiting.
The site legitimizes your existence. It is your brand's online profile and identification card.
Over 70% of the largest and small businesses all over the world now have a website of varying degrees of creativity, appeal and usability, according to sellingtosmallbusinesses.com
"It is unthinkable not to have one. Even off-the-beaten path bed-and-breakfast pension house in the provinces now have a website," says a small entrepreneur.
Web designers, photographers, ad agencies, people who are in various disciplines of the arts: fashion, entertainment, museum curating have the most cutting-edge sites.
"Indeed, the digital revolution has dramatically changed the way we communicate. From an era of purely mass communication, we are now in a generation of personal engagement," says Raymund Sison, Senior Copywriter at BBDO-Guerrero.
Inquirer Business interviews Manny Nepomuceno, Digital Director and Head of Proximity, BBDO-Guerrero's sister company and most awarded digital agency for the fourth year running at the IMMAP Boomerang awards.
Proximity has also developed award-winning integrated campaigns with its BBDO Guerrero for accounts like Pepsi and Bayan Telecommunications.
ADOI: How is digital advertising moving now in the Philippines? Slow, fast, overtaking other media?
MANNY NEPOMUCENO: We're seeing more and more clients shift more and more of their budgets into the digital space.
The pace of this shift is slower than the pace of the market - for example, Facebook has been the dominant social network in the country for the past couple of years, but we're still finding brands that haven't begun to explore what's possible on the platform.
A lot of the work being done involves establishing practices and familiarizing people with new concepts and ideas.
Digital won't be overtaking other media anytime soon, but radio and print have suffered somewhat from its inclusion into the marketing mix - at least budget-wise.
In other aspects of the practice - creativity, effectiveness, etc. - digital is at least on par with other communications channels.
ADOI: How do you see it 5 years from now?
MN: As little as four years ago, most if not all of the digital work on the market presumed a user sitting in front of a computer.
Campaigns in the mobile space inevitably required a user to text a code to a number. A 'tablet' was a kind of pill you popped into your mouth.
Obviously, these have all changed, although we still do the text-a-code-to-a-number thing.
The current projection is that by 2016, mobile marketing will be tremendously important - the growth rate as projected over the next five years is staggering.
The agency of 2016 and its clients should be, and will be, paying more attention to how it engages its market on a small, pocket size screen.
ADOI: What is Proximity's core competence in digital advertising?
MN: Integration. The core proposition of the brand shouldn't change across channels.
A brand that promises something in its ATL advertising shouldn't say something different on the online space.
Also, and we should really emphasize this: creativity. It's a much-abused term in an industry full of creative people, but we have a wall full of trophies we're insanely proud of and a roster of clients who are happy with the work we've done.
ADOI: How much does a whole digital advertising package cost?
MN: It depends, really. There are brands for whom 'digital marketing' is just a Facebook page managed by a brand manager, and that's ok.
That costs nothing beyond what they're already paying the brand manager. Other brands require projects with such a broad scope that they approach above the line advertising in the size of their budget.
Our best advice for brands looking to get onto the online space is to shop around - there are plenty of organizations offering digital marketing services (of which we are, of course, the best.
What costs millions of pesos in one shop might cost much less in another. Also, having a budget in mind helps both the client and agency figure out what is possible and what isn't.
ADOI: Give Inquirer readers, clients and marketers big reasons why they shouldn't let go of digital advertising in their marketing mix.
MN: Take a good, hard look at who's buying your products.
Chances are, they're people with cell phones in their pockets and computers in their homes or places of work.
They still watch television, read the news and listen to the radio - but they aren't necessarily doing so in the same way our parents were.
They probably aren't watching, reading, or listening to the same things our parents were, either.
Digital is about staying relevant.
We live in a fast-paced, hyper connected world where a bad review from a blogger can escalate into a PR nightmare and where a shared video can catch the eye of an audience hungry for a message.
It's a different place for a brand, and only the ones that can reach out and connect to their markets will flourish.
Digital is about making that connection.
No other medium allows a consumer to talk back and tell the brand what he thinks.
No other medium allows a brand to communicate directly with that consumer, one on one, and to customize that communication so that it is relevant, interesting, and personal.
No other medium is as powerful, pervasive and potentially transformative of both business practice and personal life.
Whether or not a brand wants to be in the digital space, it already is. The market sees to that. What remains to be seen is how skillfully (or poorly) the brand responds.
And that is the case for digital.