Basics of Digital Marketing that are important: What, Why & How?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is a component of Marketing wherein the products or services are promoted through digital channels, such as social media, SEO, email, mobile apps etc. In simple terms, any form of marketing that involves electronic devices and technology is considered Digital Marketing.

History of Digital Marketing

The history of Digital Marketing starts with the invention of the Radio by Guglielmo Marconi in 1896. Radio was used as a medium by businesses/companies for advertising or branding. Then on, digital marketing has come a long way and has taken different forms and shapes.

The storage of customer information transformed from a manual format towards a digital format – database in the 1980s when the storage capacity of computers was grown big enough to store huge volumes.

The database allowed companies to track customer information more effectively enabling companies to choose online techniques like database marketing rather than restricting to a limited list. 

This image shows the history of digital marketing. It depicts the digital marketing journey from 1980 to 2010.

In the 1990s, the term Digital Marketing was coined. It was formerly known as and referred to as ‘online marketing’, ‘internet marketing’ or ‘web marketing’. In the 1990s, with the development of server/client architecture and the popularity of personal computers, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications became a significant factor in marketing technology. With the help of eCRM software, Marketers were able to own online customer data. This led to the clickable ‘banner ads’.

In the 2000s, with the increase in internet users and the birth of the iPhone, customers started searching for products and making decisions about their buying needs online first, instead of consulting the store/sales personnel. This forced most retailers to move towards an online presence to attract customers and ensure their existence in the market. This prompted marketers to find new and innovative ways to integrate digital technology into market development.

In 2007, marketing automation was developed to tackle the ever-evolving marketing climate. Marketing automation is the process by which software is used to automate conventional marketing processes. This helped companies segment customers, launch multichannel marketing campaigns and provide personalized information for customers based on their specific activities. 

Digital marketing became more refined in the 2000s and the 2010s when devices became more efficient in accessing digital media. With the development of social media in the 2000s, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, consumer’s dependency on digital electronics in their daily lives increased and led to the expectation of seamless user experience across different channels for searching product information. This change in customer behaviour diversified the marketing technology.

Types of Digital Marketing

This image shows the different types of digital marketing.

The two main pillars of Digital Marketing are Online Marketing and Offline Marketing. For a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, both Online and offline Marketing are important. 

Online Marketing:

Online Marketing can be categorized as below:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Email Marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of Optimizing your content so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages which helps to drive more traffic to your website.

With Search Engine Marketing (SEM), you’re using best practices to make traffic to your site organically.

Content marketing involves content creation and distribution across all your online channels such as your blog, website or social media. The content you create is not meant to be promotional but instead, stimulate interest and improve brand awareness.

Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are some of the most prominent social media platforms that can be used for marketing which comes under Social Media Marketing (SMM). SMM involves gaining traffic and attention from these channels.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a model of online marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time a person clicks their ad.

Affiliate marketing is a commission-based arrangement typically between an online retailer and an external website with the purpose to generate traffic and sales through referrals.

Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that uses emails to deliver marketing messages to its customers/consumers.

Offline Marketing:

There are 5 main categories of Offline Digital Marketing:

  • Enhanced Offline Marketing 
  • Radio Marketing
  • Television Marketing
  • Phone Marketing
  • QR Codes

Offline marketing but added/enhanced with an electronic device is considered Enhanced Offline Marketing. Electronic billboards are a great example of Enhanced offline Marketing. Another example is if a restaurant with Italian Cuisine uses iPad for their customers to place orders, then the offline experience of eating Italian food is enhanced with this electronic device. 

Radio and Television Marketing are categorized as Offline Digital Marketing as they involve an electronic device, yet the connection to the internet is not necessary.

Phone Marketing otherwise known as cold calling is the biggest and fastest-growing area of offline marketing. There are different options for Phone Marketing like Cold calling, Texting etc. With the option for people to screen their calls now, cold calling is still managing to exist and surprisingly, even bring in sales. Using Text Reminders as customer service can enhance your phone marketing. Like sending an alert to the customer once the product is ready for pickup.

QR Code is a type of barcode that takes the user to a specific webpage or app when he scans the QR code. The QR code can be used to deliver ads or promotional offers etc.

Classification of Digital Marketing based on the business:

The prime motto of Digital Marketing for any business is to understand the necessities and requirements of consumers and provide high-quality, relevant content for them. Based on the niche, need and size of the business, Digital Marketing can be classified as below:

  • B2B Digital Marketing

B2B Digital Marketing focuses on the logic and features of the product. There is no scope for emotion involved in influencing the purchase decisions of these businesses. The main focus point for B2B Digital marketing is on how a business uses your product rather than relying on product promotion. 

  • B2C Digital Marketing

B2C businesses use a variety of forums to generate brand awareness and promote business to grow sales as the purchase decisions are influenced by emotions rather than just buying the product. B2C Digital Marketing focuses more on product benefits. Consumers want the brand to describe how the product will benefit them.

Why is Digital Marketing Important?

The internet has brought a whole new market. Digital Marketing has become a norm for a successful business and if you are not involved in this, your business will not grow in the future. Now for businesses, there is a shift in the approach to their customers. Digital Marketing opens a lot of opportunities and thus helps in the growth of the business. As a business owner, your goal to increase your profit can be achieved as digital marketing lead to exposure and hence more sales.

Times have changed where Traditional marketing has taken a step back and brought a new face in front of the industry. Having said that, not all the traditional marketing strategies are gone. At the moment, marketing professionals are required to work with a strategy that includes traditional Offline Marketing along with Digital Marketing to create your company brand and help the growth of businesses. 

  • Your customers are online: With the increase in internet users, there are more people to reach out to when you practice digital marketing. The online market is the best way for the exposure of your business. This helps to target customers based on various parameters like the interests of the customers or the age group etc. Please do read my blog Digital Marketing: 11 ways how it impacts Consumer Behaviour to know more on consumer behaviour in online marketing.
  • Establish your brand’s reputation: People want to learn more about you when they hear about your business. They want to check about your presence online to know if you do exist. If they don’t find anything about you online, chances are you’ll lose them as a customer. Digital marketing allows you to show your customers what your business is made of and how you can help them with their needs.
  • Cost-effective and Faster: It is more affordable than traditional marketing. For a business with limited resources, spending money on traditional advertising or the need to print flyers for your business would be expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, with digital marketing, small businesses can start the process immediately with any kind of digital marketing that suits the business.
  • Better ROI: It is claimed by many businesses that doing online advertisements (whether paid or free) has a better return on investment. The conversion rate or ROI is higher because most of the customers are online.
  • Your competitors are doing it: It is very simple that you have to be in the game and make an online presence to drive more customers to your website than your competitors. You have to check what your competitors are doing and take note of that to plan your marketing strategy.

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