Most definitions portray digital marketing as activities that use digital channels such as Internet, mobile networks, or “other interactive channels” to promote, market or sell products, brands, ideas etc.
Based on my experience as a web marketer who in the past year underwent re-labeling as a digital marketer there are two aspects to digital marketing.
1. Digital channels integration:
Digital channels integration has to do with the channels’ usage that most definitions mention. It takes having and integrating the channels with each other to pave the road for conversation through these channels.
A few questions can help identify if your digital channels are ready to be used to their full potential:
B. Do the digital channels I am using talk to each other and my website? You don’t have to have connections to all that’s hip out there. But if you are to use multiple digital channels for marketing they must be integrated in a way that will allow you to maintain fluid conversations through these channels and then move from social conversation to action (what some call goal conversion).
Here is an example of disjointed conversation resulting from lack of channel integration. One of my most favorite comedians posts different updates for each Twitter and Facebook. Neither lead to his website. As a result there are conversations happening in parallel in the twitterverse and on Facebook. Unless this is done as a test for which channel or post performs better this technique is at best just conversation that takes double the work to conduct.
C. Did you forget email marketing? There has been much talk of social marketing recently to where resources that could be used to enhance existing channels such as email tools are going to integrating new channels. Us marketers still exert most control over email marketing so let’s not throw the baby out with the water.
D. Are you ready to assign resources, be they employees or consultants to maintaining the digital conversation for your business? There was a time when many thought web marketing was the magic wand, later on many thought anyone could do email marketing and I know today twittering is a mighty tempting proposition. An individual may get hundreds of emails and hundreds of tweets a day, so consider the level of conversation that a business could follow and conduct. It may take hours a day which may be an investment that cannot be ignored.
2. Marketing via digital channels has to do with evolving beyond mere usage of digital channels from conversation to optimizing usage of these channels.
Here are a few questions that can help identify if your marketing has moved from channel usage to channel optimization:
There is a world of opportunities out there for digital marketing. Web and email marketing are still solid players, and the new players such as twitter, facebook and others are joining the team. Whichever combination of tools we choose for our businesses it is how we use them to meet our goals that will ultimatelly drive our success.