Introduction to Digital Marketing

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Digital Marketing on MobileYou can define digital marketing in a variety of ways. The simplest approach is to describe it as the use of digital media channels to plan and execute marketing strategies. For this definition, you must first understand a complete system of marketing.

Marketing as a Business System

Marketing is a process that includes research, solution development, communication, sales, service and customer retention. Digital media offers you the capabilities of executing across this entire process, often in more affordable, efficient and effective ways that traditional or off-line media.

Digital research includes the collection of profile data on prospects and customers, including demographic, geographic and firmographic inputs. The ability to capture transactional and behavioral data is a tremendous advantage, though, relative to traditional media. You can track the way users engage with your website, apps and other digital touch points.

Leveraging deep data insights, you can improve the relevance of your solutions by targeting them to people that could benefit the most. Companies want to get away from inefficient mass communication strategies when more segmented approaches yield a higher return on investment.

By building rich market segments and buyer personas, you can craft creative communication plans that attract intention and interest from your ideal customers. This attention and interest as prospects enter the buyer journey allows you to build rapport up until the point at which more direct sales engagement is appropriate.

The correlation between marketing and sales functions is critical to success in digital marketing. It is typically the responsibility of marketing to attract leads and manage customer relationships, while salespeople nurture qualified prospects to drive conversions.

Customer service and customer retention are also integral within customer relationship management, which is arguably the most important long-term piece of a comprehensive digital strategy. Your ability to optimize revenue and profits over time is based on driving loyalty, and maintaining customers at a low-cost while you increase sales.

Digital as a Subcategory of Marketing

You can also define digital marketing as a subcategory of marketing. However, this approach is commonly debated by long-term marketers who have concerns about isolating digital platforms from traditional media.

While the conversation in marketing in recent years has heavily emphasized the role of digital media, successful branding is based on consistent strategies and communication across all integrated media channels.

In some cases, businesses with limited budgets or a powerful connection to the marketplace through digital media focus entirely on this new media category. However, large corporations and other firms with larger budgets still want to make use of the benefits of traditional broadcast and print media options.

When a well-crafted marketing plan makes use of a variety of media, synergy is often created in a way that leads to the best possible return on advertising investment.

Components of a Complete Digital Marketing Strategy

Though you could point to a lot of other aspects, the following is a list of key components that currently contribute to a thorough digital marketing strategy:

  • The Role of Websites
  • Content Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Customer Relationship Management (including Analytics)
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Digital Advertising (including Pay-per-Click)

Additional topics related to the successful development and execution of a digital marketing plan will also be covered. For instance, any business that engages its marketplace within the digital ecosystem needs to consider the importance of online reputation management.
People talk about their view of your brands on social media, in blogs and on other electronic platforms. You need to listen to these comments, and with a plan in place, engage with parties involved in the most effective ways.

Why Digital Marketing Matters

Investment in digital marketing strategies has now surpassed television ad spending in the United States. Projections from top recent firms expect the gap between digital media and other categories to increase significantly in coming years.

The following are some of the primary contributors to growth in digital spending:

  • Tight marketing budgets
  • Interaction and engagement
  • Analytics
  • Immediacy
  • Accountability
  • High audience awareness


You should now have a basic sense of the definition of digital marketing and the components of a complete digital marketing system! For more insights, subscribe to the free email newsletter!

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About the Author: Neil Kokemuller

Neil Kokemuller is a veteran college marketing professor with an MBA. He has also been a freelance business and marketing content writer and website creator since 2008.

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