Digital Marketing, at its core, is any marketing effort by a business that leverages ‘digital’ delivery techniques to promote whatever the business marketing message may be. These could include:
- Search Engine Optimization & Marketing
- Social Networks & Media
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Mobile Marketing (via apps, digital publications)
Digital Marketing vs. Online Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Digital Marketing is a term coined by marketers to define how business marketing advertising materials might be delivered to consumers. For an example, a magazine subscriber might return a reader reply card to a business in response to advertising placed in the magazine. Let’s say the reader is expressing interest in a car where they would then receive a CD-ROM in the mail that would offer multi-media content about various cars the business sells.
Online Marketing began as a subset of Digital Marketing. The term was originally intended to specifically describe business marketing (advertising) activities that take place via the Internet.
The reality is that for a small business exploring implementing some sort of strategy, Digital Marketing and Online Marketing have become synonymous.
Let’s examine that previous example of the car featured in a magazine. Assuming someone was reading a paper magazine, they could simply scan an advertisement featuring a QR code with their mobile device or tablet that would then take the interested party directly to a multi-media website where they could watch videos about the car, read reviews, and book a test drive instantly. (Our connected world allows for nearly instant gratification and has eliminated the need for a business to invest in costly production of fulfillment materials.)
The point is that the Internet permeates and links our society together in ways unanticipated 10 years ago, presenting unparalleled opportunities for the business marketer evaluating advertising opportunities. For example, cars are being connected to the Internet as “hot spots” for wi-fi. TV’s are interactive portals to the Internet. “Dumb” appliances like refrigerators are being connected to the Internet. (All of this is called the “internet of things”.)
In other words, technology has changed so that the distinction between “digital” and “online” really can’t be drawn.
For example, product placement and sales messages within video games might have been previously classified as “digital” marketing. But as “massively parallel player” video games have taken hold, the “online” aspect has become pervasive. The ability to connect individuals with products instantly via the Internet once again blurs the distinction. Simultaneously, innovations like gaming on mobile devices once again allows for ad delivery that can connect the player with products and services directly online.
In spite of the diminishing distinction between “digital” and “online” marketing, the term “Digital Marketing” is on the rise…
- The term Digital Marketing as a business term is significantly more popular in Europe than the U.S. where Online Marketing is the norm but where Digital Marketing is gaining.
- Google Trends shows that global interest in “Online Marketing” as a term is relatively steady. “Digital Marketing” is seeing gaining popularity.
Is the distinction between digital marketing and online marketing all about money?
- Anecdotal proof suggests business marketers are beginning to promote the term “Digital Marketing” in the hopes of creating a more sophisticated air for themselves to prospective business clients. This perceived superiority allows the “Digital Marketing” expert the ability to command higher billable hourly rates when compared with their “Online Marketing” counterparts.
- The same trend is being seen in business salaries where a VP of Online Marketing may earn $150,000 to $170,000 while a VP of Digital Marketing will likely earn between $150,000 to $280,000.
The conclusion is that those who call themselves “Digital Marketers” have a distinct self-interest in promoting the term and in attempting to differentiate themselves from “Online Marketers”.
If the trend continues, expect that more “Online Marketers” will adopt the more lucrative title of “Digital Marketer”…
Greendays Group and the Online Marketing vs. Digital Marketing debate
Online Marketing? Digital Marketing? Who cares! What matters is driving results. Greendays Group has long advocated viewing the website as the marketing hub and then layering on whatever appropriate technologies and techniques make the most sense in order to drive results to the bottom line of the Small Business.
We’ll leave the debate for the corporate consultants working to justify their multi-million dollar digital marketing contracts to their Fortune 100+ clients…