What is Digital Marketing?

What is Digital Marketing? | Digital Marketing | Emeritus

Food, water, shelter.. and Wi-Fi. This is the new normal and our dependence on the internet is here to stay. It is now common knowledge that more and more customers are heavily relying on online channels for entertainment, information, shopping, and socializing. As this trend continues to grow, brands too are becoming more bullish. Companies are increasing their digital marketing efforts and budgets to explore multiple service touchpoints. Before we learn more about the world of digital marketing, let us first understand what is digital marketing and why is it such a lucrative career path.

Brief History of Digital Marketing

The history of digital marketing can be traced back to the evolution of technology, server-client architecture, and computers. From the first personal computer to the advent of the internet, each of these developments has contributed to the growth of digital marketing. One of the first search engines to come up was Yahoo! (in 1994), closely followed by Google (in 1997). Simultaneously e-commerce sites like Amazon (in 1994) and eBay (in 1995) too joined the digital revolution. For brands, especially marketers, this was a golden period with a lot of room for innovation.  

Web 1.0 

While traditional platforms like TV, print, telephone, and radio marketing continued, search engine and email marketing joined the bandwagon in the mid-1990s. As users on these platforms increased, the landscapes evolved further too, especially on the internet. Companies started creating simple websites too to showcase their offerings. By the early 2000s search engines started cataloging these websites and allowed users to find information in a few clicks. 

Web 2.0 

Companies started witnessing the impact of digital marketing and started purchasing banner advertising space for their products too. Apart from Yahoo and Google, there were other small search engines like MSN, HotBot, and LookSmart too. Up until this point, people were passive users and adoption was very low. By 2004, this changed and web 2.0 came to life. People became active users and consumers. They interacted with brands via websites, advertisements, and posts. 

The Advent of Social Media

Two big milestones followed; social media and cookies. Digital marketers started following user habits, interests, and patterns. This helped brands tweak their offerings and advertise better. What is digital marketing without tailored, personalized advertising? The birth of social media sites LinkedIn (2002), Myspace (2003), Facebook (2004), and Twitter (2007) ensured marketing tactics completely shifted. Inbound marketing got a lot of prominence. Marketers, and brands, focused on being more user-friendly, collaborative, and easily accessible. 

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Benefits of Digital Marketing 

  1. Better Reach

    Let’s face it – everyone is online now. It’s just become easier for brands to connect with their customers, even potential ones, through social media, search engines, and targeted ads. You no longer have to play Russian roulette with ads – there’s an actual science behind it, which you can master with the right digital marketing courses to equip you

  2. Cost-efficient

    The primary goal of any organization will be to reduce the cost of acquisition/acquiring a customer. Digitally, it’s called cost per click. You can run multiple ads online for the price of one billboard at a town square.

  3. Easy to Track

    The results are easily quantifiable given the right tools. It’s easy to understand how a consumer engages with you and thereby run experiments on optimizing successful campaigns/formats.

  4. Better Conversions

    The time taken for any potential customer to convert is significantly lesser with digital marketing. Ie, customers can take action almost immediately if your content is convincing.

We’re not saying one medium is better than the other. Different mediums suit different businesses – depending on whether you are B2B or B2C, and who your target audience is. Different tools and types of digital marketing kick into play for different phases of the sales funnel. For instance, if you’re looking for customers to become aware of your brand, blogs and websites are great content marketing tools. This builds awareness at the top of the funnel. But digital ads or emails can help convert a person quicker, and fall into the bottom of the funnel. But the funnel might now become an outdated concept – keep reading to see why!

Types of Digital Marketingdigital marketing

  1. Content Marketing

    According to Hubspot, content marketing is important because it answers your audience’s questions and helps you build trust, develop relationships, improve conversions, and generate leads. In today’s age, customers expect high-quality, consistent content from their favorite brands. Brands choose to engage with customers using videos, blogs, infographics, testimonials, influencers, etc. While the content may not be outrightly about selling the product, it builds awareness and educates consumers on a service/product/industry.

  2. Social Media Marketing

    Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Tiktok are some of the most popular social media platforms that marketers use to engage with the audience. Easier to reach people, easier to drive traffic and convert, no wonder marketers around the globe have specialized in understanding each platform and how best to leverage them.

  3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    SEO is the craft of making sure your content becomes attractive to search engines. Constantly evolving, this deals with: How does your content rank over competitors so that it’s noticed by high intent consumers? It’s an art and science that most smart brands have invested heavily in. 

  4. Affiliate Marketing

    This is an innovative way of getting other brands and individuals to drive traffic to you in exchange for a commission. Many top brands like Amazon (Amazon Associate program) use this.

  5. Email Marketing

    If you’ve ever opted to become a subscriber or if you’ve ever purchased anything from a brand, email marketing then kicks in to keep you abreast of updates, sales, and so on. This is an ongoing initiative that keeps people coming back.

  6. Digital Advertising

    With an aggressive strategy, you can buy/bid for top positions for relevant searches in your category. You spend with every click a consumer makes, i.e., Cost Per Click.

Why become a digital marketer?

Traditional marketing is expensive, time-consuming, and limited. Therefore, brands that wish to reach a larger audience, experiment, and spend lesser time and money, are choosing digital marketing. With more and more brands choosing the digital path, thousands of new jobs are cropping up across the globe. Now that we know what is digital marketing and what its benefits are, let us find out why becoming a digital marketer is in demand.

Here are the biggest reasons why people are becoming digital marketers:

  1. Lucrative profession

    Not only is this one of the most trending and future-proof career paths in the market today but also the salary of digital marketing professionals is desirable and growing. The average annual salary of a digital marketing manager is  $66,326 in the USA, and £32,820 in the UK.

  2. Scope for out-of-the-box thinking

    Brands are able to reach a larger audience than via traditional means. They need people to put audiences in buckets by understanding their needs, interests, and buying habits. This challenging and exciting role involves a lot of strategies, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking. 

  3. Quicker results

    Digital marketing is highly cost-effective and produces results much faster. As a digital marketer, someone who is good with numbers and problem-solving can thrive in this industry.

  4. Measurement and insights

    Brands can easily pivot in the middle of a campaign and measure success more consistently when a good marketer is managing the projects. With more brands adopting digital marketing, more exciting job opportunities are coming up too!

  5. Targeted efforts

    With the right efforts, digital marketers can focus only on prospective customers and convert them into leads. In some instances, salaries can be commission-based and in such cases, a good strategy will help bring in the bucks for digital marketers!

  6. Level playing field for brands

    New and young brands also get an opportunity to compete with big brands if they are creative and innovative on digital platforms. This evens the playing field. This is a great opportunity for creative marketers to showcase their skills, set up award-winning campaigns, and boost their careers.

  7. Minimal impact from external factors

    There is minimal impact due to economic, political, and social issues on campaigns if marketers are resourceful and always thinking on their feet. In such cases, they can easily tweak, minimize damage, and move on.

  8. Better planning and focus

    Every digital effort is user-focused and audiences can be engaged at each stage if digital marketers plan well in advance. Keeping up with trends and successful campaigns will help digital marketers plan better. 

  9. Go green

    There is no carbon footprint as paper, flexi banners, paint, and other such materials are not used. Digital marketers can move toward more green practices by adopting 100% digital techniques. 

  10. Using data to improve products and services

    Data from digital campaigns can be used to plan better for future campaigns and to improve products and services too. A number cruncher with the ability to visualize data will enjoy this part of digital marketing too. 

With such a fast-paced field, you have to constantly keep evolving and staying abreast of trends. So what does the coming year have in store?

  1. Video content will take priority similar to 2021, but the formats will become shorter
  2. Are your website and content mobile-optimized? Focus on driving traffic with a mobile-first approach
  3. Influencer marketing – leverage it all you can!
  4. SEO will dominate most marketing strategies. Having a robust content marketing strategy can have long-lasting effects on brands
  5. Experiential marketing that adopts AR/VR will be big 

Pro Tip: Marketers will move from the funnel to the flywheel, which is a self-sustaining marketing strategy that keeps a steady stream of traffic and leads. Hubspot first adopted this model having noticed that the conversion was not the only goal, it was to also ensure a good customer experience. Content will overcome the inertia it now faces with this model.

Popular digital marketing career pathsDigital Marketing Trends Webinar

Digital marketing in its true essence is the process of using the internet or other digital forms of communication to reach out to potential customers. But digital marketing is a broad terminology that encapsulates anything from websites, blogs, and ad campaigns to social media, emails, and more! Digital marketing makes sense for every business, across industries. While the most common designation is that of a digital marketer or digital marketing manager, here are a few other careers that require digital marketing skills: 

  • Paid Search (PPC) Brand
  • Paid Search (PPC) Non-Brand
  • Display Marketing
  • Paid Social Media Marketing
  • Organic Social Media
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Linkedin Marketing
  • Tik Tok Advertising
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Video Marketing
  • Marketing Automation

Wondering how to get started in the world of digital marketing? Emeritus can help. In addition to helping you find the perfect digital marketing podcast for your daily commute, we also offer online courses from the world’s best universities. Learn and explore how digital economies emerge and flourish, as well as how digital marketing will continue to influence the use of technology, consumer trends, and purchasing decisions. All our courses are continuously updated, and new ones are added to accommodate and adapt to the evolving industry and learner requirements. Find the right digital marketing course for you today. 

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About the Author

Content Marketing Manager, Emeritus Blog
Manasa is the content ninja that every brand needs. Apart from being an expert in tech-related trends and digital marketing, she has found her calling in edtech. Her 10-year-long tryst with education started with a teaching fellowship for underprivileged children, followed by a stint as an edupreneur. It gave her the perspective she now uses to create impactful content for Emeritus. Manasa loves the life of a digital nomad that allows her to travel and hopes her reels go viral on the Gram.
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