Digital Marketing

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is essentially part of marketing. But what is the difference between digital marketing and Internet or web marketing? What are the digital marketing tools? And how do marketers plan for digital marketing? This lesson aims to answer these questions.

So the place to begin defining digital marketing is to consider where it fits within the subject of marketing. So let's start with a definition of marketing. The American Marketing Association (AMA) definition (2004) is as follows:

Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.

Therefore digital marketing by its very nature is one aspect of an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders. As such an aspect, digital marketing has its own approaches and tools that contribute to the achievement of marketing goals and objectives.

This also helps us to differentiate between digital marketing and E-commerce, since E-Commerce is simply buying and selling online.

What is the difference between digital marketing and internet or web marketing?

There is no real difference between digital marketing and internet or web marketing. However, with the arrival of mobile technologies such as PDA's and 3G mobile phones, as well as Interactive Television, both terms tend to be stretched to include these new media technologies. On the other hand, others would see digital marketing and internet or web marketing as subtly different, for example Chaffey (below):

Internet [or web] marketing is achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies.

Digital marketing is achieving marketing objectives through use of electronic communications technology.

Whilst this distinction is wholly acceptable, it is difficult to see where the distinction lies between digital technologies and electronic communications technologies, especially with the convergence of technologies such as mobile devices.

What are the digital marketing tools?

The Internet has a number of tools to offer to the marketer.

  • A company can distribute via the Internet e.g. Amazon.com.
  • A company can use the Internet as a way of building and maintaining a customer relationship e.g. Dell.com.
  • The money collection part of a transaction could be done online e.g. electricity and telephone bills.
  • Leads can be generated by attracting potential customers to sign-up for short periods of time, before signing up for the long-term e.g. which.co.uk.
  • The Internet could be used for advertising e.g. Google Adwords.
  • Finally, the web can be used as a way of collecting direct responses e.g. as part of a voting system for a game show.

How do marketers plan for digital marketing?

There are two ways of looking at this.

  • An existing organization may embark upon some digital marketing as part of their marketing plan.
  • An organization trades solely on the Internet and so their marketing plan focuses purely on digital marketing.

The marketing plan in either case is the next step, whether focused upon digital marketing or all marketing. The next lessons focus upon a tailor-made digital marketing plan which conforms to the acronym AOSTC (from our generic marketing planning lesson).

  • A - Audit - An audit of internal strengths and weaknesses, an external opportunities and threats.
  • O - Objectives - SMART digital marketing objectives.
  • S - Strategy - digital marketing strategies.
  • T - Tactics - an digital marketing mix.
  • C - Controls - measuring the performance of our digital marketing plan.

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