Don’t be surprised, the question, “What is digital marketing?” has appeared on the search engines for over 200,444 times in a month.
Chances are that you’re among those who did the search; but if not, you still have interest in knowing what digital marketing is all about and that’s why you’re here.
Almost everyday, people search for the keywords- digital marketing, online marketing, internet marketing etc. The answers provided could be somehow confusing due to their similarities.
Among these keywords, “what is digital marketing?” seems to be the highest searched. This is a clear evidence to show that many still have need know what digital marketing is all about.
It is gloomy to say that the definition of digital marketing as a concept is already becoming complex despite being a buzzword.
Which implies that you may not get it’s full meaning by mere looking at the dictionary or even from a single text.
Here comes the good news! I have made it simple.
This article draws a clear picture of digital marketing. Keeping it simple with explicit examples that drive the point home.
First, let me make it clearer by letting you know that digital marketing has gotten lots of titles or similar terms that are mostly used interchangeably.
Most times, people refer to it as online marketing, computer-based marketing, internet marketing, modern marketing, electronic marketing etc.
Am sure you have that surprise look on your face by now, right? Ok, settle down let’s begin the journey.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is a general name for marketing activities done with the aid of information technology with or without the internet facilities.
It is not the same as online marketing but online marketing can be used as a channel to achieve digital marketing objectives of your business.
See the way business dictionary defines it:
The promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media… the Internet, social media, mobile phones and electronic billboards, as well as via digital and television and radio channels.
Can you see that digital marketing can even be offline or online?
That’s because one does not need the internet to use electronic billboard, TV and radio yet, they are all part of the ways to go digital.
The main area of confusion is, most people fail to understand that rapid changes in technology are responsible for the divergence in the meaning of digital marketing.
The methods of reaching digital marketing objectives in the year 2005 is not the same with that of 2018 and will never be the same by 2030.
Why? its because change is constant.
Note: People use the word digital to denote modern or contemporary.
So when you hear digital marketing, just know that it implies modern methods of performing marketing activities.
I guess the game is getting clearer to you now. Check out my definition.
Digital marketing is defined as all or any effort put together to create awareness, promote, sell or engage customers of a product or brand through the use of information technology (IT) usually on the internet.
A clear meaning of these two terms – Information Technology and Internet will make it easier for you. So let’s go:
What is Information Technology (IT)?
This is the use of computer or electronic devices to create, collect, store, transfer, transmit or manage data or information.
Digital marketing practice requires little or more of IT skills and knowledge.
I wonder who will be doing it without a little knowledge about computer, software, mobile phone devices, and other electronic media devices.
At least, one need to know how some of these things work because they are the working tools for digital marketing jobs.
I like the way Naijatech listed some examples of IT career and skills
- Information Security
- Software engineering/development
- Network engineering (computer networking)
- Database management/administration (DBA)
- Project Management
- Operating System OS Administration (Windows, Linux, Unix)
- Multimedia Technology (Flash)
- Web design technology
- Computer engineering (Computer design, programming, and assembly)
A digital marketer is suppose to keep track of the latest events in the tech-industry. Because that is one big way to stay ahead the competitors.
That’s enough, what about the internet?
The internet is a community or system of networks where different computers or electronic devices are allowed to connect and communicate with each other.
It is the network of all networks. It permits electronic devices around the world to connect to each other with an internet protocol (IP) address.
Think about this:
As you wake up in the morning. You switch on your device (mobile phone or PC), you want to go online (access the internet).
How do you think it works?
It is the internet service provider (ISP) that provides signals which will allow your device to use its IP address to connect to the network that will enable you to do whatever you want.
Assuming your device and my own are connected to the internet with IP address 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 respectively. See how they will look like:
Internet connection (two devices), Image credit: Stanford
For you to connect with others on Twitter, Facebook or on any web page. All your devices must use their IP addresses to gain access to the network of all networks.
The major point here is – a marketing activity is not worth calling digital marketing activity if it does not use information technology, combined with or without internet for the aim of marketing a brand.
This is because there so many ways to go digital.
You can decide to use digital media devices like electronic billboard which does not require an internet or online presence.
An electronic billboard is an electronic wired screen board used to display information to the public. It change images with some visual actions like the television.
I guess you already know how it looks like. But if not see it here.
Digital Billboard: Image credit: Unsplash
So you now know that using electronic billboard for marketing purpose is also one way to go digital.
Agreed? Ok, Check out this example.
Company ‘A’ promotes its product through the means of electronic billboards and social media while company ‘B’ uses only digital billboard to promote its own product.
Can you guess what happened?
Company ‘A’ and ‘B’ are practicing digital marketing but ‘A’ also went online while ‘B’ was offline.
Often times, people use digital marketing as a term to replace going online or selling online. But lucky you, now the difference is clear.
The fact is, most organizations are taking their business activities online (internet), but it does not mean that anything digital is online.
Don’t be confused. Put it this way- digital marketing involves moving away from the brick-and-mortar (traditional) method of marketing to a tech-and-click (modern) method of marketing.
Digital marketing is a mother-name or general term for any form of marketing done with tech- devices, either combined with the internet or without the internet
The Facebook, Twitter, E-mails, Mobile apps, websites etc that people apply today in marketing, are all evolvable stuff. Some never existed few years ago, while some have been modernized.
That’s why most times, people say we are living in a digital (tech-driven) world.
In simple term, digital marketing is equal to IT plus or minus internet. That is, it could be done with or without an aid of the internet.
Do you have similar or different thought? Or you think something is missing out. Leave it in the comment box below, I’ll be happy to hear from you
Jackson Cyprian is a Google Certified Digital Marketer. He is the founder of Elites Content and a brand storyteller, not a teller of stories. He is passionate about helping online businesses grow with compelling digital marketing strategies. He is a passionate content marketer and a blogger that derives joy in creating quality content to help both business and marketing practitioners make informed decisions. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.