Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. The use of the Internet and other digital media and technology to support ‘modern marketing’ has given rise to a confusing range of labels which is created by both academics and professionals. It has been called digital marketing, Internet marketing, e-marketing and web marketing and these alternative terms have varied through time.
Why digital marketing is important
Digital media is universal, consumers have access to information anytime and any place they want it. Gone are the days when the messages people got about your products or services came from you and consisted of only what you wanted them to know. Digital media is an ever-growing source of entertainment, news, shopping and social interaction, and consumers are now exposed not just to what your company says about your brand, but what the media, friends, relatives, peers, etc, are saying as well. And they are more likely to believe them than you. People want brands they can trust and companies that offer products and services according to their needs and preferences.
To understand the importance of digital marketing to the future of marketing in any business, it’s helpful to think about what audience interactions we need to understand and manage. Digital marketing today is about many more types of audience interaction than website or email. It involves managing and using ‘5Ds of Digital’.
1. Digital devices – our audiences interact with businesses using smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, TVs and gaming devices
2. Digital platforms – most interactions on these devices are through a browser or apps from the major platforms or services, that’s Facebook (and Instagram), Google (and YouTube), Twitter and LinkedIn.
3. Digital media – different paid, owned and earned communications channels for reaching and engaging audiences including advertising, email and messaging, search engines and social networks
4. Digital data – the insight businesses collect about their audience profiles and their interactions with businesses
5. Digital technology – the marketing technology that businesses use to create interactive experiences from websites and mobile apps
Digital marketing and its associated channels are important. It’s not enough to just know your customers, you must know them better than anybody else so you can communicate with them where, when and how they are most receptive to your message. To do that, you need a stable view of customer preferences and expectations across all channels – Web, social media, mobile, direct mail, point of sale, etc. Marketers can use this information to create and anticipate consistent, coordinated customer experiences that will move customers along in the buying cycle. The deeper your insight into customer behavior and preferences, the more likely you are to engage them in profitable interactions.
Three keys to digital marketing success
So, digital marketing is about utilizing digital technology to achieve marketing objectives. There is no essential need for digital marketing to always be separate from the marketing department as a whole, as the objectives of both are the same. However, for now, it remains a useful term because digital marketing requires a certain skill set to utilize the digital technology effectively.