You know that thing you bought online mostly because your ridiculously charismatic friend was constantly tweeting about it? And then the company you bought it from sent you an email asking for feedback, and when you replied saying “Yes it’s awesome, it’s going to change my love life forever!” you got a whole bunch of suggestions of related products that would have similar far-reaching effects on your mojo? And when you clicked on one of these items, you discovered that a discount was being offered right at that moment, just because you’re…well…you? Betcha felt special!
Bubble burst in...3...2...1.....It's digital marketing. Yup, all of it.
If I just reduced your warm and fuzzy shopping experience into a calculated chain of events that some marketing person developed to separate you from your money, I’m sorry.
But the fact is that successful businesses today employ digital marketers, and if you’re thinking of reaching a wider audience for your brand, you should, too. Just like the above illustration, digital marketing can be a win-win for everyone. The first step is to be able to recognize the beast when you see it.
So what the hell is digital marketing, anyway?
We’ve all heard the term along with some of its synonyms (online marketing, web marketing, social media marketing) but what exactly is it, and why does it matter?
One of the first things that became apparent when the internet took off in the 90s is that the web was gonna be a lot bigger than anyone originally thought. That means that as the number of websites grew into the trillions, the question for businesses wasn’t “Do I have a website?” but “Can anybody even find my website?” And digital marketing was born.
The end game is to reach out to customers and have them 'find' you. To promote products and services on the web, for the purpose of making sales. That makes the goal of digital marketing no different than that of traditional marketing, except we’re using the internet and mobile to get there. Digital marketing not only works, it works like a psychic who has already hacked your email and secretly knows all your friends. It’s the reason that ads for the boot camp a couple blocks from your office suddenly started appearing on the web pages you like to look at, right after you did a little research into the Paleo diet.
Traditional marketing channels like TV spots, billboards and print ads are still a big part of the marketing landscape. But these days, putting your message out that way, depending on the audience you’re trying to reach, can seem as outdated as a town crier ringing a big brass bell. What such methods lack in subtlety, they can make up for in impact, but they’re no substitute for savvy digital marketing – which is interactive, real-time, and centred around the user’s experience. Good digital marketing is tailored to the individual, as opposed to that bumper-sticker approach that hits everyone indiscriminately.
Building your brand the digital way – through strategic use of marketing concepts like search engine optimization (SEO), which just means making sure your website contains the exact same key words and phrases that most people use when they do a Google search for whatever it is you do – is not only extremely cost effective compared to more traditional means, but allows for virtually limitless possibilities when it comes to brand building, cross-selling, and fostering consumer loyalty.
Wait. Consumer loyalty in 2015? Oh, it exists, all right. That’s another conversation.
Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_marketing, http://www.smedio.com/what-is-digital-marketing/