What is digital marketing? Definition and examples
Digital marketing is the marketing of goods and services via digital technologies. The Internet, for example, is a type of digital technology. However, it is not the only one. Digital marketing also includes marketing services and products using display advertising, mobile phones, and other digital media.
If you are a marketing professional today, you probably market products or services using digital channels. You probably also use traditional channels, such as printed newspapers and magazines.
Promoting brands through digital media
The key objective of digital marketing is to promote brands through digital media.
The Financial Times’ glossary of terms, ft.com/lexicon, has the following definition of digital marketing:
“The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media.”
“Digital marketing extends beyond internet marketing to include channels that do not require the use of the internet. It includes mobile phones (both SMS and MMS), social media marketing, display advertising, search engine marketing, and any other form of digital media.”
The term ‘marketing‘ refers to analyzing the market and determining what consumers want. It also includes finding out whether your company can produce and deliver it profitably. The term ‘digital marketing,’ however, tends to refer more to advertising and promotions in the digital world.
Traditional vs. digital marketing
Marketing today is very different from what it was a few decades ago. Thanks to the Internet, dedicated software, and other hi-tech products, marketers can gather much more data today. They also have a wider range of tools with which to influence consumers.
Digital marketing allows companies to analyze and quantify their campaigns. Unlike physical newspaper adverts, for example, digital ads can tell us what readers did when they saw the ad.
Digital marketing example – Pizza Hut
Consumers today can download apps and interact with the seller. Pizza Hut, for example, created an app which allowed customers to create their own pizzas. All they had to do was drag their chosen toppings onto a pizza base image.
Their smartphone would then determine where the nearest Pizza Hut restaurant was.
Digital marketing – brief history
The term ‘digital marketing’ emerged in the 1990s when the digital world began to evolve.
The digital age grew rapidly with the advent of the Internet. The digital age also took off with the development of the Web 1.0 platform, which allowed people to find the information they sought. However, it did not let them share this information over the web.
In the 1990s, although many marketers entered the digital realm, many were not sure about its future. Since the Internet had not spread to every corner of the globe, nobody was sure whether digital marketing strategies would work.
The first clickable banner ad appeared in 1993. Marketers say that this was a turning point for digital marketing, i.e., the beginning of the transition to marketing’s digital era.
Google was born in 1998. In the same year, Yahoo launched its web search while Microsoft launched the MSN search engine.
Regarding digital marketing’s first giant surge, Avantika Monnappa writes:
“The digital marketing world saw its first steep surge in 2006, when search engine traffic was reported to have grown to about 6.4 billion in a single month.”
“Not one to get left behind, Microsoft put MSN on the backburner, and launched Live Search to compete with Google and Yahoo.”
Digital marketing – children
Businesses are increasingly using digital channels to target children. Marketers say that digital marketing is especially effective on kids.
Every child today was born into a digital world. It is a world that they are completely familiar with.
Schoolchildren in the advanced economies spend an average of 139 minutes online each day during the weekend. On weekdays, the amount of time they spend online is only slightly less.
Kids become consumers
Teenagers are reaching an age in which they begin making independent choices. Many start receiving or earning money regularly, i.e., they have disposable income.
As far as marketers are concerned, teenagers are becoming consumers.
Should we be concerned?
Public health experts say that the marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks is partly responsible for today’s childhood obesity explosion.
Should we be concerned about digital marketing and children? Specifically, how companies target young children and teenagers.
EuroNealthNet magazine quotes Dr. Mojca Gabrijelčič Blenkuš, a medical doctor and a specialist of public health, said:
“We have created a digital world, but we have no idea what the effects will be. We want to empower people to make healthy choices, but we have to recognize that these choices happen in a rapidly changing digital environment. It’s complicated, (but) that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act.”
“Digital marketing is designed to be addictive to children and to extract data. It tries to impact behavior, emotional responses, and preferences. It is also designed to target very specifically, which increases the vulnerability of children.”
“It’s about entertainment, emotion, engagement, and addiction- both chemical and non-chemical. Digital marketing can be used to make a connection between an emotion and a brand name in ways we don’t realize. The techniques are subliminal.”
Dr. Blenkuš is Senior Adviser, National Institute of Public Health, Slovenia, and also President of EuroHealthNet.
Getting hyperlinks for clients
Some businesses that try to get hyperlinks for their clients identify themselves as digital marketing agencies.
They may, for example, write an article which has a hyperlink to the client. They then place that article strategically on another website. Preferably, that other website has a high ranking.
To get that article onto another website, the agency may offer money. It may also offer to place reciprocal links.
A hyperlink is a link that takes the reader form a hypertext, button, or image to another website. The hyperlink may also take the reader to another part of the same website. We also refer to hyperlinks simply as links.
The more external links a website has, the higher its ranking will be.