Digital Marketing: The What, the Why—and the How

Digital Marketing: The What, the Why—and the How

What is digital marketing? Should you include it in your marketing mix? This article answers those questions in detail.

Digital marketing is, well… everywhere. Even so, you may not truly know what digital marketing is, what aspects apply to your business (if any), and how to apply them if they do.

We’ve got your back. Read on for a quick crash course in Digital Marketing 101.

Digital and Traditional Marketing Defined

First, let’s define digital marketing, which feels nebulous to a lot of nonmarketers (and to some marketers, too!).

Digital marketing is the use of digital (Internet-enabled) channels and technologies to reach and engage key audiences in targeted, measurable, and interactive ways.

What we now call “traditional marketing” are the sets of tactics people have used effectively for decades—for all the years prior to the Internet. Traditional marketing takes place off-line.

Digital Marketing Tactics

Given how much happens through the Internet today, digital marketing encompasses a broad set of tactical options. Digital marketing tactics include the following:

Traditional Marketing Tactics

Yet digital marketing hasn’t negated or eliminated traditional marketing tactics, which include the following:

Benefits of Digital Marketing

Many businesses have successfully employed traditional marketing for years. Traditional marketing is a comfort zone for a lot of companies and a lot of marketers. And just as with all comfort zones, there are numerous advantages to stretching into newer areas when it comes to marketing.

The main reason you should include digital tactics in your marketing mix? Your target audience is on-line.

Let’s face it: The world has gone digital. More people are on-line today via computers, tablets, and mobile phones than ever before. Worldwide, 50.1 percent of the population is digital, per stats from June 2016. In North America, digital has grown 196.1 percent since 2000.

We all know that marketing gets the best results when you deliver it right to where your target audiences are. And today, they’re on-line.

Further, more than traditional marketing—which has other advantages—digital marketing offers the following benefits:

  • It’s measurable—and measurable quickly
  • Investments are more directly tied to results
  • Reach, spend, and activity can be more targeted
  • You can access a larger percentage of your key audience more effectively and efficiently
  • Testing and adjusting for effectiveness is fast and straightforward
  • Management can be ongoing and constant
  • Extends the reach of traditional marketing activities (e.g., post-conference follow-up and conference-appearance exposure)

Digital and Traditional Marketing Work Together

Digital and traditional marketing complement and leverage one other. It’s a dotted line—not a hard divide.

Quality marketing includes traditional and digital tactics, which work together for exponential effect:

  • Many materials developed for traditional marketing can be easily modified for digital efforts and vice versa (e.g., articles, case studies, infographics)
  • Brand and visual look-and-feel developments should play across both categories
  • Key messages should stay the same across both types of efforts
  • Many traditional marketing efforts, including conferences and meetings, gain greater traction through digital add-ons and follow-up

Want help thinking through and executing a digital strategy? Contact FrogDog.

Image courtesy of Mathew Guay

Posted: Nov 08, 2016
Updated: Oct 08, 2019
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