In this blog post we’ll cover what digital marketing is (and what it isn’t) rather than how to pivot into a digital marketing career. Consider this post a ‘demystification’ of digital marketing and why it’s become one of the most in-demand careers in tech today.
Marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. Typically this is delivering value in the form of goods and services to targeted end users, like consumers or other targeted audiences. Before the rise of digital marketing, this included advertising using so called ‘traditional’ channels such as radio, TV, direct mail, billboards or newspapers and magazines.
Digital marketing is also known as online marketing and it refers to any advertising delivered through digital channels such as web-based advertising, social media, email, mobile apps, text messaging or search engine optimization (SEO). So if an advertising or marketing campaign uses any of these channels (basically, electronic devices) then it’s digital marketing. Those devices include computers, tablets and smart phones.
DataReportal says global internet use has reached 60%, meaning that six in every 10 people now go online. The typical internet user is online for approximately seven hours a day. In Southeast Asia, for example, Malaysians spend on average almost nine hours online (similar to Thais and Indonesians), while Filipinos report being online for an average of 11 hours a day. In terms of digital marketing, consumers increasingly use the information they find online to make purchasing decisions. This approach now means that consumers are not going in a linear line with seeing or hearing a traditional advertising message and then making a purchase. There is more fluidity in how people make their decision and smart marketers know this requires building a brand, providing great customer experience that brings more potential customers and having a targeted digital strategy.
Differences Between Traditional and Digital Marketing
Digital marketing uses a strategy that is highly customer-centric and uses digital channels to convey a brand’s message. One of the differences is that digital media can adapt its messages very quickly based on consumer response (positive or negative) and consumer engagement, such as whether a video link was clicked on and watched. Through this customer interaction, digital marketing can turn this into opportunities. Traditional advertising is less consumer-interactive and doesn’t have the capacity to make prompt changes to its marketing collateral (like a billboard or magazine ad).
Another difference is with traditional marketing it’s more difficult to assess just how well (or not) your recent marketing campaign went. An online marketing campaign can use basic metrics like how many visitors were on your site, number of interactions per visit or the exit rate to tell you right away how your message is landing. This allows for more agile adjustments in the advertising strategy. Digital marketing is also less expensive than traditional marketing because there is limited space within traditional marketing outlets and that is what makes it more expensive.
However, many businesses use hybrid approaches by developing both traditional and digital marketing strategies. There is no one single way to promote your brand and services.
Examples of Digital Marketing
At the beginning of this post I mentioned search engine optimization (SEO) and you’ve very likely heard of it or even used it yourself. It’s a form of digital marketing (or rather a tool in digital marketing) that optimizes your website to improve its appearance and visibility so traffic to your site is increased. This can mean using key words or cross-linking pages within your site.
Content marketing is another form of digital marketing that is based on the distribution of relevant and valuable content to a target audience. Before, an advertising campaign would try to attract customers by demonstrating the value of a particular brand or service. With content marketing, consumers’ increasing demand for more informative and meaningful content means value is offered for free in the form of written material, such as e-books, blog posts, videos and infographics.
Another form of digital marketing is social media marketing. It can be very effective because social media marketing involves active audience participation; the interaction that consumers want. Social media is also very good at providing metrics for measuring engagement and to help you understand how well you’re reaching your audience. And you probably already use these forms of social media at home or work: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
Digital marketing has become prominent because it can reach a wider audience and broaden your geographic reach. Data that is collected digitally tends to be more accurate and detailed, making it easier to personalize. Businesses have more choice with their advertising strategies and traditional, digital or hybrid approaches are all useful for elevating brand awareness and gaining consumer traction. In the end, marketing is about how you communicate your value to your consumers.
She Loves Data offers online courses (and offline events) that cover topics like digital marketing, as well as the opportunity to learn more about data and tech and the essential skills you’ll want to have. Our events are free and, unless stated otherwise, they’re open to everyone. We encourage you to attend as many as you can! These are some of the ways you can test the waters and see where your interests and abilities take you. And if you’re still not sure you can explore mentoring options as well.
Technology has boosted every industry and it’s an inevitability we can’t ignore. But it’s also not yet inclusive or diverse enough. Data and tech need you: your voice, your experience and your talent. Join us in helping to close the gender and skills gap in a growing field that offers so much positive opportunity for you and our communities.