What Exactly is Digital Marketing?

To understand what exactly is Digital Marketing we may need to understand the role and various processes in Marketing, and also the interventions and the value added by Technology in each of those marketing practices and processes.

In-principally Digital Marketing is the marketing using Digital Technology with an underlying objective of attaining Business Goals. The objectives of Digital Marketing are more or less the same as that of traditional marketing, however, the form and processes are transformed into Digital platforms and underlying resources and capabilities.

The company’s business goal may be 30% revenue growth in a 3-years period or a 20% profit growth in the next 2 years’ time, similarly, other targets can be an increase in Volume, Market share, etc., etc…. Further, you can understand that to support these business goals the respective marketing goals may be any of the following:

  • Increase in Sales (% growth YOY)
  • Generate New Leads
  • Spread Brand Awareness, Recall, and Preference
  • Increase in Customer loyalty etc. as per pre-defined milestones and timelines

Technology and Marketing Channels

When the above-mentioned marketing goals are achieved strategically through digital technology, digital media, and software tools, it is Digital Marketing. You know that digital technology gave rise to different channels like websites, forums, social media, video & podcasts, etc. which have different characteristics and unique dominant personas. Hence the marketing strategies, tactics, and actions for each of such channels are also different to manage the business communications as per the target persona. For example, Facebook has the persona of Informal Social Networking, hence it is considered very successful for B2C communications, whereas LinkedIn is considered a more professional and formal network suiting B2B marketing communications.

In a very basic way, Marketing may be considered as the actions and communications which make the customers say YES to the company’s products or services. Getting the YES would require information and understanding of customers’ demography, geography, psychography, and behaviors along with efficient planning and execution of Digital Marketing strategies like mapping of Customers’ behaviors and a trust relationship with them, insights of Market, and Competitors, Global trends, etc…

Big Data as a Source of Marketing Intelligence

Every one of us is a consumer and largely influenced by technology. You may nod in yes that the use of smartphones has increased by leaps and bounds during the last decade and we make an online search before buying any product. One study has established that people with smartphones are spending, on average, 2-3 hours on their phones daily. This change in lifestyle has connected global digital infrastructure and intelligent systems to individual users directly.

Internet users, like you, are generating online data through searches on Google, posting professional articles on LinkedIn, chats on WhatsApp, messages on Facebook & Twitter, sharing stories on Instagram, publishing pins on Pinterest, posting Q&A on Quora, giving ratings on Amazon, reviews on blogs, replies of emails, click on display ads, submissions of online surveys, comments on YouTube, etc…

Such online activities of users result in big data which is both structured and unstructured in nature. However, irrespective of the nature, the data, and the context are being captured, stored, and analyzed to extract users’ insights. This Market intelligence makes the companies competent to track and target users at a very personalized level using the tools and techniques of Digital Marketing.

Digital Assets and Competitive Advantage

Digital Marketing guides to creating Digital Assets that facilitate efficient channels of two-way communication between the company and the customers. Superior Digital Assets provide the company with a Competitive Advantage in the market. You may realize that the Competitive advantage lies in the strategic use of the following:

  • The quality and quantity of information about your target customers to under their needs
  • Designing your product and services which can serve customers’ requirements better
  • Deliver the solutions effectively to customers so they have a great overall experience
  • Communicate with them in a reliable manner so that you can set their expectations right and develop trust with the solution delivery in line with the expectations…

So all the online marketing activities associated to build and operate Digital Assets including managing the campaigns are Digital Marketing activities.

Categorically they may include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Marketing, e-mail Marketing, Video Marketing, Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Analytics, etc…

You can understand the impact of technology on basic marketing processes considering the example of e-mail marketing campaigns.

Email Marketing Campaign

You may consider the following flow diagram as the guiding process for an email campaign.

Also, you must understand that your Digital Assets for an email campaign are your company’s website, Your Social Media Accounts, Your Blog site, and other forum accounts wherein your customers and prospects are interacting with your organization (i.e. reviewing the content, sharing the content, sharing contact details, giving feedback, filling surveys, etc..). Apart from it your company’s email marketing tool, prospects database, your team’s digital marketing, and communication skills, etc are the desired resources and capabilities, which in an integrated way comprise your company’s core competence.

Now, in order to run a successful email marketing campaign, your strategy should be to:

  • Clearly define your target audience and the campaign metrics
  • Have a good quality database of prospects not merely a list of email ids’
  • Design the email content including images such that they attract, inform and inspire the recipients of the emails effectively
  • Optimize the landing page along with customer testimonials, product/service descriptions including videos, if any, and any other relevant information which give a very good user experience and provide a confidence to your visitors;
  • Communicate clearly all the things which you will deliver to the customers so that their expectations are well set and perceived risks are minimized so that they become ready to take actions in your favor…..
  • Provide option to users to unsubscribe from the mailing list, also you may seek the reason/feedback from them to enhance your learning curve
  • Monitor the performance of your campaigns, as per the defined metrics and KPIs and time to time adjust your campaign to optimize it…

Your email campaign will have a high probability of success if you are able to comply with the above considerations. However, please note that a quality database of prospects is very crucial for the success of an email campaign. Your company’s digital assets will be very helpful to prepare the campaign database for eg. one source can be the newsletter subscribers database from your company’s website, another source can be your followers in your Social network or the networks of your influencer partners, responders to your posts on forums or online surveys, etc… Also, the quality of this database from your digital assets will depend upon how well you are managing your digital assets from the perspective of users.

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