Don Catlett

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Digital Marketing:

The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media. Digital marketing extends beyond internet marketing to include channels that do not require the use of the internet.

As a digital marketing consultant,

people often ask what is it that I do, and how do I go about doing it.

The approach to market each customer is as varied as the image, product or service that they represent, but let’s look at how we define marketing and the steps I may take to make it work for you.

Is there a difference between digital and online marketing?
Online and digital marketing are terms that are often confused and misused. I work in the industry yet have found myself wondering should I write online or digital?

It may sound trivial, but knowing the difference can help you shape your overall marketing strategy.

It can also help you analyze your current strategy by categorizing in which type of marketing your efforts fall. Are you making sustainable long-term efforts that will yield results consistently or are you simply playing by ear with each of your outreach efforts?

The Umbrella Term: Digital Marketing
Digital marketing refers to using digital channels, devices, and platforms (regardless of whether they are online or not) to build or promote your marketing message.

In other words, with digital marketing you don’t limit yourself to using the internet, and in this way digital marketing can serve as an ‘umbrella’ term because it encompasses many marketing techniques.

For instance if you download ‘Temple Run 2’ on your iPhone, you did this by using the internet and the app was built with technology that probably did as well. However, when you use it on your phone, the app is working independently from the internet and thus considered a form of digital marketing.

To give you another example, let’s say you want to run a mobile campaign where you send SMS texts to your customers offering upcoming promotions from your business. Again, technology was used to create and send the message, but the was no need for a live Internet connection for your users to receive it.

I guess you could say that as long as technology keeps evolving so will digital marketing. But it is safe to say that anything that has a digital foundation can be considered digital marketing. And as of now you have plenty of strategies to choose from:

  • E-mail Marketing
  • E-books
  • Games
  • Content Marketing
  • Video Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing (SMS text campaigns)
  • TV ads

Like digital marketing, online marketing evolves with technology. However, I would argue that online marketing is so fast paced that sometimes it can be difficult to keep up. Also, for a newcomer it can seem more overwhelming because of the terminology and skillset that some efforts require.

Some online marketing efforts include:

  • Website
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing

Where is My Money Best Invested?
Most businesses will always be engaging in some digital marketing, and that is great, but not sufficient. I’m a big fan of using data to make smart decisions when it comes not only to marketing a business, but also to learn about it from all perspectives.

The straight up answer is that it very much depends on several factors like:

  • Business type
  • Industry
  • Marketing budget
  • Marketing Goals
  • Target audience

For this reason, I recommend using at least one form of online marketing to benefit from the data you can gather, and also to measure the results your efforts are yielding. Install your Google Analytics, if you run a PPC campaign add conversion tracking and see exactly where it is that your money is going and how you can spend it wisely.

Does the Difference Really Matter?
The truth is, it doesn’t, the definition is a mere technicality. What matters is that you understand the implications of each one and choose wisely when building your overall marketing plan.

Which leads me to my next point: strategize. Regardless of the way you choose to do marketing, you need to have a plan of action. What kind of results do you want to get? How do you plan on achieving this? Do you just want exposure? Or do you want to get to know your audience and track the money you have invested?

Answering these questions will help you realize if you need to focus on online marketing, digital or both at the same time.

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