What is digital marketing?
The question is one of the most commonly asked career-related queries. Digital marketing has been a revelation, changing the way companies approach brand marketing and outreach.
The story of digital marketing is very similar to the tale of every great invention – necessity is the mother of invention.
The History of Marketing and Arrival of the Digital Age
Marketing is not a recently discovered field. For years, businesses have existed and sought to improve sales and profits. Marketing is viewed as the practice of increasing awareness about a brand, product, or service.
Before computers came along and the internet gained ubiquity, marketing was planned through traditional channels of promotion. Mass media mediums such as newspapers, television, magazines, and more were considered prime channels of promotion. Their popularity was born largely because of their reach.
Despite traditional marketing channels having great reach, they could not ensure that a marketing message reached a specific part of the audience. Furthermore, the cost of promoting a business through such channels was extremely high. Many small businesses didn’t even consider marketing an option as the ROI was too low.
This changed with digital marketing.
In its current form, digital marketing solves all the problem offline marketing had. Small businesses can run effective and efficient marketing campaigns at a reasonable budget with great ROI. Advertisers have the capability to choose a specific audience that is easily convertible. Marketers even have the facility to gain visibility on highly-trafficked search channels organically.
How Does One Define Digital Marketing?
Formulating a digital marketing definition is easy because of its straightforward purpose. It is defined as a field that involves the usage of a few techniques and practices to promote a business through digital means.
When it comes to marketing, the conversation will inadvertently involve businesses. While it is seen as a large encompassing field covering many aspects of digital media, only strategic use of digital promotion is considered digital marketing. Businesses use digital marketing the most, although individuals can also technically use it. Blogging and affiliate marketing are popular examples of how individuals can promote themselves through digital marketing and earn money.
Why is Digital Marketing so Important?
Why indeed is digital marketing important?
One way of understanding the importance and significance of digital marketing is by viewing it as a solution to the many problems of offline marketing. With digital, marketers now have a way to reach their audience in a more efficient and organized manner.
Another way of understanding why the field is important is understanding the role of digital media in our lives.
The modern human experience is largely defined by digital media. When a person is asked to distinguish between 2019 and 1919, what will be the first point of distinction? The most common answer would be either computers or the internet.
Digital devices and platforms play a much deeper role in our life than we’d care to imagine. Some of the greatest innovations of the 21st century have been in the digital sector.
The only way for businesses to harness the power of digital media to strategic use is digital marketing. The importance of the field is exemplified by the need for businesses to stay current and relevant. This need can only be met by maintaining a presence on digital media.
Digital media, in this context, refers to every form of digital content out there, from blogs and articles to social media, video platforms, and streaming services.
What are the Types of Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is not a one-horse field. It covers many different aspects of promoting any given business online.
There are many different types of digital marketing. Naturally, some fields are more popular than others due to their effectiveness in delivering results.
It is not a compulsion for a business to try and promote itself through each different type of digital marketing. Some businesses are more suited to a certain digital marketing technique. It is important for marketers to understand which technique would work best at any given point.
In the list below are named the prominent types of digital marketing a marketer ought to know –
Search marketing is a way for businesses to grow their visibility on search engines. Since search engines like Google have become a central part of the average netizen’s life, marketers have to find a way to make their brands visible on them.
There are two main ways search marketing is done – SEO & SEM.
SEO or search engine optimization refers to practices that help a brand grow its presence on search engines organically. In other words, by using the right methods, a brand can gain visibility for free. Since SEO is free, many brands in the market try using it.
SEM or search engine marketing refers to practices that help a brand grow its presence on search engines through paid means. Search engines like Google have advertiser platforms such as Google AdWords that allow marketers to post search ads on particular keywords. Each keyword has a different cost-per-click depending usually on its popularity and search volume.
Social media wasn’t always a part of the discussion on digital marketing. It was largely considered an activity with a greater social impact than any business-related opportunities. More than a decade since its arrival into the mainstream, social media has come to dominate the discourse of our very culture.
Social media can be utilized by businesses for many different purposes. It can, first of all, be used to develop the brand image of a company. Other goals in social media marketing can include objectives like lead generation, website traffic, sales increase, and so on.
All these objectives can be met by either developing a presence on social media organically or promoting posts by paying. Paid promoted posts can be targeted to reach specific parts of an audience.
As the name suggests, email marketing refers involves increasing visibility of a brand through email correspondence. While often left out of discussions, email marketing is a very useful and generally contributes a great deal to a digital marketing campaign.
People on social media tend to have low attention spans, something many brands tend to struggle with. In email marketing, marketers can establish a more inclusive long-form conversation with the target audience. This is why many email marketing campaigns have delivered much better results compared to other popular types of digital marketing like social media.
What Does a Digital Marketing Strategy Refer To?
A digital marketing strategy simply refers to a long term vision of a campaign and specific information on how the vision can be realized.
The need for a strategy in digital marketing is obvious. Considering the number of things that have to be taken care of in a campaign, a strategy helps simplify the many moving parts involved. Typically, DM strategists have to settle on the following details before making a strategy.
No digital marketing strategy can be made without the digital marketers knowing the exact objective of a campaign. Based on the goals, the strategy will naturally change and adjust in a way that the goals are met.
For example, if the goal of a campaign is to increase sales, the strategy would mandate maximum visibility for targeted audiences across different channels. However, if the goal is to increase traffic, a more concentrated effort on SEO and content development would be outlined in the strategy. These different types of practices can only be specified in a strategy if the clear goals of a campaign are discussed.
Who are you talking to?
Until a marketing campaign can answer this one basic question, a strategy cannot be formed. The very basis of a DM strategy should be to find a way to interact with the target audience effectively. Doing this is impossible without knowing the audience in the first place.
To identify the target audience, marketers have to conduct thorough market research into their respective niche. In many cases, identifying too broad an audience can be risky as investing money on customers less inclined to buy is a waste of money. Thus, a specific set of audience that has a clear motivation to buy a product is almost always the best option.
Identifying the right digital channel to promote a brand is also a big channel. Depending on the audience and the goal, some channels have to be used to send market messages on.
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The identification of these channels is based upon where the target audience is used to being. For example, some audiences may spend more time on social media than any other digital platform. Thus, a DM strategy must focus on social media instead of branching out into optimizing other digital channels.
Role of Digital Marketing in the Business World
Digital marketing has seen a major shift in the way brands behave.
For one, the speed at which information is transmitted now makes the presence of digital marketers in a typical marketing team essential. Professional digital marketers are much better equipped to deal with the fast-paced nature of DM.
The way marketing is evolving, a common approach adopted by some brands is to take a balanced approach between digital and offline marketing. In most cases, this is a wise approach. Giving up completely on offline marketing is not right.
However, every brand depends nowadays on DM to deliver results. From a movie hoping to have a big opening on a release date to a new startup trying to build an audience, the only effective way to reach an audience is through digital media. As mentioned before, digital media can only be mastered through digital marketing.
In companies, a digital marketing team is now a very common sight. The adoption of digital marketing in small and medium-sized companies has been even faster than so-called big businesses. This is because small companies realize the potential of digital marketing and its ability to cut through conventional gaps and make the playing field much more level.
Thus, modern companies have to understand the role of DM in the modern world. No longer can offline marketing methods such as newspaper ads and posters serve as viable options. The need to reach people digitally is more relevant now than ever. If resources allow it, companies must consider hiring digital marketing specialists in roles such as SEO executive, social media manager, content writer, digital marketing strategist, and so on.
What are the Differences Between Traditional and Digital Marketing?
Marketing at its core is the practice of increasing the awareness about a product within a given audience. With increased awareness and additional information, the given audience is expected to make a choice on whether to buy something or not. At its heart, even marketing comes down selling something to someone.
Traditional and digital marketing represent two different eras. Traditional marketing represents a time when marketing was only a dream for a small business. No startup in the 70s or 80s could afford huge billboard ads or newspaper promotions.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, represents a modern take on marketing. Outreach in this form of marketing is fueled by digital channels and mediums.
There are key points of difference between traditional and digital marketing. Some of them have been discussed in the table –
|The message transmitted to a wide audience who may not have an active internet connection or access to digital devices||The message transmitted to an audience with ready access to the internet and digital devices|
|Reach cannot be targeted to a specific audience||Reach can be targeted to a specific audience most likely to be converted|
|Marketing campaigns cannot be analyzed on a deeper level||Marketing campaigns can be analysed endlessly with the help of great analytical tools|
|Requires large investment||Requires little investment. Marketers can even run organic engagement campaigns which require no investment|
|Marketing message cannot be changed dynamically||Message can be changed endlessly until the right message is discovered|
In conclusion, this article covers digital marketing as a subject in detail. Any marketer interested in learning about the field should consider the points made in the article carefully.