The foundations of digital marketing

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The fourth industrial revolution brought along the latest trends on digital and online marketing. Moreover, and since the gap between analog and digital is becoming more and more blurry, digital marketing has been evolving at the speed of light and for marketers and people in general to keep up such pace, they surely need a solid knowledge about the basic marketing foundations as well as the ability to think critically without compromising creativity. The digital era has been flooded with lots of digital tools, and for the untrained and inexperienced mind understanding the scope of their capacity might seem a daunting challenge at first sight. That is why at ReputationDefender we strive to make things much clearer for people seeking to get acquainted with marketing, and furthermore, digital and online marketing.

For those readers who are not really familiar with the terminology, we have decided to write this article as a guideline for first-time marketers or startups enthusiasts, as well as entrepreneurs and marketing managers seeking for basic information to train their direct employees. So, first things first, what is digital marketing? In order for this question to be answered, a point of comparison is needed. Readers are certainly familiar with the traditional marketing channels: printed materials, radio, television, etc.; before the digital era, companies and brands overall used to rely on these tools for developing a solid marketing strategy in hopes of reaching out to as many potential customers as possible. As the fourth industrial revolution was taking place, these materials evolved into their digital forms: websites, social media, E-mail, etc., and their scope, in comparison with the traditional channels, skyrocketed: websites, for instance, not only costs 62% less than printed materials, but also generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing; social media, on the other hand, is widely used around the world, in fact, just in the United States, up to 71% of adults are active on at least one social media platform.

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But, what is digital marketing? Well, just like any other discipline, digital or online marketing is a mean of empowering a brand by establishing a more personal connection with potential customers while providing them with an offer that seeks to fulfill their needs. The term itself is divided into three major components:

Technology Delivered

This means that the channels that are commonly used to deliver a digital marketing message relies on the existing variety of tools and platforms, whether social media, E-mails, websites, etc., or a combination between several after assessing their specifics strengths. Marketers can implement each channel alone, or together as a part of a much larger digital marketing strategy while creating a multichannel environment where each channel is ultimately driven by the technology. Bear in mind that the current portion of customers is vastly composed by the generation commonly referred to as Millenials: people who were born in the emergence of the digital era and who are digitally savvy, therefore, it is advisable to seize all the technological developments in order to successfully reach out to them.

Relationship Based

In accordance to the above, unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing has acquired a marked relationship nuance: in the traditional way, a message was conveyed, and companies would hope would impact customers the way they intended to, nevertheless, this was somewhat faulty as it was too general and poorly specified. Now, and since digital media became available, conveying a message is rather like having a conversation; it is engaging with customers in different processes and actually taking from them ideas to enhance and improve the way companies have been carrying out the process of bonding and communicating with them. Digital marketing focuses on establishing a beneficial communicational flow while making customers feel like they are being taken seriously by a brand or a company: it is advisable to cultivate and establish solid relationships with customers — using the tools previously mentioned — while conveying the message (as a part of the strategy).

Relies on Data

One of the perks of today’s juncture is that data is really easy to collect. Long gone are the days when companies would struggle to know something about their customers in order for them to come up with the most accurate possible strategy. Nowadays, the value of digital marketing is found in the data: today, there is no guesswork, instead, everything is measurable and interpretable, and it is a company’s job to benefit from it. Data allows companies and brands overall to develop much more specific and targeted strategies as there are no questions that cannot be answered, furthermore, data is crucial for testing hypothesis when creating and developing a digital marketing strategy, as it is the only way to actually learn. Spare no efforts in understanding how these tools work, for it will be the way to endure these rapid changes and thrive in the digital era.