Digital Marketing: Something You Should Have Started On 25 Years Ago

Digital Communications

Digital Communications is the newest form of marketing which exists today. While I say “new”, it is at least 25 years old (Counting from 2015, where Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1990). Ever since the first website was put up, since the first social media platform was released, and since Google started serving ads, digital communications has existed as a marketing tool. It was just that many older marketers refused to accept it as a tool until fairly recently.

Even fairly recent technologies have been around for a while. Youtube was founded more than 10 years ago now, and the first social media site (Six Degrees) launched in 1997. There really was no excuse not to understand and use social media, video sharing sites, forums, and other content-rich webpages for marketing purposes. As always, however, the established will always be afraid of change. Those who did change to learn about the Internet as a whole new communication medium were very well rewarded. To those who stayed- it is not too late.

Digital communications, as can be guessed from the name, pertains to any communication which utilises the technology of the world wide web. The introduction of the Internet opened up many avenues of marketing which were not possible before.

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Topics typically associated with Digital Communications involve:

  • Applications
  • Websites
  • Social Media
  • Forums
  • Video-sharing Sites
  • Content & News Sites
  • Third Party Reviews
  • Search Engine Marketing

Benefits of Digital

A major benefit that digital communications brought was a merger of all other forms of marketing. With the power of automation, it was very possible to serve unique ads to each user, depending on his/her search history, interests, and demographics. At the same time, one marketer could reach a much larger audience without actually having to speak to each one. Digital communications combined the interaction provided through direct communications with the reach of advertising communications. The best part? Digital communications can be cheaper than both.

Where a salesman may get a 50% commission on something he sells, an online conversion usually only costs a few dollars. You can still target large audiences, but you also get real-time feedback and statistics. Unlike direct marketing, digital marketing is also much more measurable. From behaviour tracking to general statistics, digital marketing is like following a user everywhere they go and analysing everything they are doing through binoculars. Then, when you meet them again, you can tell them exactly what they want to hear. Customers gain by having their needs directly addressed. Marketers gain insights and increased conversions.

Disadvantages of Digital

While there are many benefits which digital communication brings, it is also important to take note that there certainly are drawbacks. The distance created by the computer screen means that many sales tactics are lessened. Where a salesman could show you how a vacuum works, the best you can do online is show them a video. Where a letter feels personal and is physical, bookmarks and web-pages are easily forgotten. The final challenge is channel saturation. Unlike other media, where users are focusing on one thing at a time, the Internet is loaded to the brim with content. There is so much content, that just reading everything on one web-page can take days. The result is that consumers are trained to ignore useless information. Too often, these are marketing communications materials. To overcome these challenges, the digital marketer needs to learn how to give users quality content which not only bridges the informational and physical gap, but also engages the browser enough for them to pay attention.

To succeed in Digital Communications, you must think like a direct marketer as well as a advertising marketer. You are playing a numbers game, but also have to make interactions personal. You must be able to give them all the information they need, yet not give too much. Finally, you must keep up to date. As Internet technologies and digital behaviour changes all the time, you need to keep learning, keep testing, and keep questioning what you are doing. What was impossible yesterday could be an opportunity today, and what was optimised today could be defunct tomorrow. The key is to keep yourself active, and keep yourself flexible.

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