Lesson 1. What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is another fancy trending term after artificial intelligence and data science. If you want to sound smart and tech-savvy nowadays, then you must have a clear understanding of the term “Digital Marketing”.

In this article, I am going to explain this term. But first of all, you need to understand the meaning of these two different words – Digital and Marketing.

The word Digital comes from the Science & Engineering background. If you belong to engineering education background then you must have heard about Digital versus Analog signals or Digital versus Discrete quantities. Most of the electronic integrated circuits communicate using digital signals, they use finite values such as 0 and 1. So, we can conclude that most of the electronic devices are based upon Digital.

Another term, Marketing belongs to Commerce & Management studies. Marketing is a business activity which is used to sell or to promote or to create awareness about a service or a product among targeted people.

After combining both the terms we may state that – “Digital Marketing is a method of selling, promoting or creating awareness about services or products using electronic devices”. A good Digital Marketer should have a basic understanding of both Management and Engineering concepts.

Now, let’s look at the history of Digital Marketing – There is no single father of Digital Marketing, it is evolved with the help of a community of people spread across the world. But thereafter as well according to a few digital marketers, Guglielmo Marconi was the first person who used digital marketing in context to sell Opera show tickets using the radio. Our the time and with the invention of television, computers, the internet, search engines, social media and mobile phones, the market share of Digital Marketing gets increased rapidly.

How Digital Marketing got hype over Traditional Marketing – Data Analytics for sure is one of the biggest things which helped digital marketing to get popular and beat traditional marketing techniques. So, here is the list of advantages which digital marketing provides over traditional marketing –

A brand or business can reach out to the unlimited number of audience by using Digital Marketing tools such as social media marketing, online display advertising etc. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 3.2 billion people almost half of the world’s population is connected with the Internet in 2015 and the numbers are increasing very fast. You may refer to the below graph, which shows a drastic increase in the number of Internet users.

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

As discussed for digital marketers there is a Brahmastra of Data Analytics that means we can easily track the performance of our advertisements and marketing efforts. And based upon that performance analysis we can take decisions to improve our marketing strategy over time. There are various analytics applications available such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights etc.

Digital advertisements provide higher engagements and conversions as compared to traditional banner advertisements. As nowadays people are surrounded by digital gadgets, so most of the time people spent their time with mobiles, ipads or laptops. Let’s take an example – Sonia was born in a small village of Himachal Pradesh before twenty-five years. Ten years back, when she was travelling to from her village to nearest city Chandigarh, she was watching banners and hoardings on the road. To kill her boredom she started reading almost every roadside banner. Then she has noticed about many ads placement by Lovely Professional University on the highway. She was somehow influenced by those ads and took admission theirs. Now, Sonia is working in top MNC of Bangalore and she managed to afford a car with driver. Nowadays whenever she used to travel between her house and office, she uses her mobile phone and tablet to kill the boredom. And the university is also smart, they started investing money to display online ads on social media, search engines and various blogs rather than displaying ads on roadside banners. And the best part is now the university can also track the number of users who have seen their ads, clicked on it etc. So, this is how the role of roadside banners have been decreased. Even you may consider the future after driverless cars when even the driver will not be watching on roads and those roadside banners.

ROI and flexible campaigns are also another benchmarks where digital marketing wins over traditional marketing. Traditional marketing involves lots of expenses and once a campaign is set, it’s almost impossible to make changes in campaigns of traditional marketing. Whereas digital marketing is pocket-friendly even a person can start almost with no money, and the beauty of digital marketing lies in flexible change options in running campaigns. These changes can also save huge wastage of money, as these changes are inspired by the previous results.

So, there are lots of benefits of digital marketing over traditional marketing.

Verticals of Digital Marketing – Now, you need to understand the different verticals of digital marketing. Overall digital marketing can be categorized as Offline Marketing and Online Marketing.

Offline Marketing is a method of promoting brands or selling products or services using digital media without any Internet connectivity. There exist three different platforms of Offline Marketing –

Television Marketing – TV commercial ads are one of the most important marketing channels for business branding. However it is costly, but still, it is helpful for consumers goods promotion and for promotion of any government campaigns like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan etc. Online television is also a new thing which can be a big hit in the near future, Netflix, Jio TV and Youtube Channels are becoming very popular these days.

Radio Marketing – Many people love to hear FM during driving. Radio advertisements can also play a big role in business branding. Online radios are also getting popular similar to online televisions. The radio commercials are purely based upon voice, and it really has a very vast history of advertising.

Phone Marketing – Cold calling and SMS marketing are also low-cost marketing channels, which can be used as customized marketing for each individual. However, it has downfall as many countries have strict laws nowadays for spam calls.

Another vertical of Digital Marketing is Online Marketing and most of the times these are the interchangeable words like Digital Marketing, Online Marketing, Internet Marketing etc. Basically, Online Marketing involves internet connectivity along with digital devices. There are various different channels of Online Marketing such as –

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  3. Online Display Advertising
  4. Email Marketing
  5. Mobile Marketing
  6. Content Marketing

We will be learning about all of these different marketing channels in upcoming chapters. Apart from this Data Analytics is the core area, upon which a digital marketer should have expertise. From here onwards in this book wherever I will be using the word Digital Marketing it means I am talking about Online Marketing.