In a day and age where everything from downloading music to grocery shopping is online it only makes sense that marketing strategies evolved to fit the times as well! Since the inception of the internet and the first search engine in 1990, digital marketing has steadily gained popularity among businesses and professionals; so much so that it has developed into a lucrative career path! According to Avantika Monnappa’s “History and Evolution of Digital Marketing” timeline, the term “digital marketing” first came into existence with the creation of the first search engine; since then, digital marketing tools such as clickable ads, PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, text ads, etc. have slowly been used more and more by various businesses to maintain their existing clientele and gain new customers.
With the internet and technology evolving so rapidly, digital marketing technics and terminology have evolved as well. Today, terms such as “digital marketing,” “online marketing” and “internet marketing” are used interchangeably so often that it can be difficult to remember what the differences between them are. At the end of the day, CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights, Dave Chaffey, points out that the differences between these terms and their definitions don’t really matter. In his article “Definitions of Digital marketing vs Internet marketing vs Online marketing,” Chaffey explains that it is not so much the difference in definition that is important, but in the responsibilities you assign to the terms, and how effective those responsibilities are in assisting your company in its endeavors to build clientele.
Though the difference in definition does not really matter when it comes down to it, let’s explore some of the responsibilities of digital, online and internet marketing.
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According to Chaffey, more and more people are researching the term “digital marketing” as companies attempt to make the transition from traditional marketing efforts to digital. Chaffey defines “digital marketing” as “achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies.” The decision whether or not to invest in digital marketing, however, should be determined by the results you, or your company, experience from your campaigns, not your company’s adoption of the technology that now gives you the means to utilize digital marketing.
As Ximena Cordon points out in her article “What is the Difference Between Digital and Online Marketing” on WhiteSharkMedia.com, “digital marketing” does not necessarily mean the internet; it can simply mean utilizing technology to build your marketing message. Technologies such as e-books, SMS texts, games and TV ads can be defined as digital marketing; however, so can online videos and e-mails. So long as a form of digital technology or digital media is utilized in spreading your marketing message, you have engaged in digital marketing.
Chaffey reminds us that digital marketing campaigns will normally include internet technologies like company websites, search engine marketing and e-mail marketing, as well as digital technologies such as interactive advertising. Digital media like online PR, sponsorships, social media marketing and offline communications-like direct mail or merchandise-are also essential to a successful digital marketing campaign. Ultimately, the purpose of digital marketing is to create marketing campaigns based in digital technologies in order to acquire new customers and keep loyal customers satisfied with company service.
In her article with WhiteSharkMedia.com, Cordon explains that “online marketing”-also referred to as “internet marketing”- is actually just a subset of digital marketing. While digital marketing deals more with digital technology, online marketing focuses more on marketing campaigns that require live internet connection, such as pop-up ads and PPC campaigns. Some of the most common online marketing efforts are websites, SEO, PPCs, display advertising and social media marketing. However, just as the internet and online technologies change rapidly, online marketing also evolves rather quickly in order to keep up with the times. Cordon points out that attempting to keep up with the evolving online marketing tools, such as the ever changing terminology and skillset requirements, can be exhausting for a professional, and daunting to a newcomer.
Much like digital marketing, the best way to determine whether or not investing in online marketing will be worth your while, you must first take your company into consideration. Think about the type of business you are running, the industry you deal with and your target audience; will investing time and money in online marketing help your company expand its clientele or create more awareness of your brand? You must also consider what it is you hope to achieve with your online marketing before launching a more expensive campaign. Before you invest heavily in online marketing efforts, try one form of online marketing and gage the results you experience from it before investing further.
Though the internet and digital technologies allow businesses to reach their existing clients and catch potential clients’ attention more easily, Chaffey reminds us that it is important that not all of your company’s efforts go into online or digital marketing alone. In order to be truly successful in spreading the word about your brand or gaining new customers, you must integrate your digital marketing techniques with traditional media such as print, TV ads or direct mail. This integration is called “E-marketing” and usually has a wider scope than traditional media or digital marketing alone. Since “E-marketing,” like “online marketing,” uses some form of digital technology to either create the content of a campaign or deliver it, the term is another that can be used in place of “digital marketing.”
Chaffey developed a more in depth definition for “digital marketing” at the end of his article with SmartInsights.com. Digital marketing means utilizing digital hardware – such as PCs, mobile phones, digital TV – to market a product via online communication mediums like websites, search engines, blogs and instant messaging in order to attain new customers and retain existing clientele. Executing a marketing campaign in this way allows for direct interaction with your clientele; this will make your clients feel valued and listened to, which will encourage customer loyalty.
Successful Digital Marketing
While Chaffey advocates for integrated marketing campaigns that combine digital and traditional marketing in order to achieve successful digital campaign, Cordon advises that you strategize; research your target audience to ensure that your campaign will appeal to their interests and preferences, try out a form of digital marketing and pay attention to the results you get out of it, use that information to help you decide how you will proceed with your digital campaign. Since digital marketing will ultimately reach a wider range of people, you want to make sure that your brand will appeal to the type of audience you envision for your company.
In the end, the definitions of digital, online and internet marketing are not all that different, nor are they very important. Cordon points out that the definitions are technicalities, it is far more essential that you understand their general implications and decide which approach to use based on what you hope to achieve. When making your decision, ask yourself what you hope to gain from a digital marketing campaign. Are you hoping for company exposure? Do you want to get to know your desired audience in order to market to them more effectively? Once you’ve made your choice, deciding on a digital marketing approach and campaign will come very easily.
Here at Fremont College, we offer courses that will teach you how to make choices like these and how to read your audiences in order to accurately market yourself or your company to them. If you are hoping to learn more about digital marketing or web and mobile marketing, take a look at our programs and see what we can teach you!
*In no way does Fremont College promise or guarantee employment or level of income/wages.