The concept of digital marketing is evolving. What was once considered an offline marketing activity – printing flyers, stuffing envelopes, and knocking on doors – is now being done online. In the past, marketers only had a few tactics at their disposal: print ads, billboards, and radio and TV commercials. Now, with the help of online communities, social media, and search engines, marketers can be more effective and efficient at gaining market share and connecting with customers.
Despite these advantages, many businesses still struggle to understand the difference between online marketing and digital marketing. Also, marketers need to determine if their current marketing tactics are working, and if they are, then they need to find the right approach for increasing their reach and gaining more traction.
Traditional Versus Digital Marketing
The rise of the digital age has changed the way we market and sell products. Once considered an offline activity, marketing via social media, search engines, and email has become a 24/7/365 “part of the business plan,” as Forbes writer Peter Kafka says.
Even more significant is that marketing has become decentralized. Back in the day, marketers would focus on radio commercials, magazine spreads, and billboards to gain brand awareness and sell products. With the help of analytics and digital marketing tools, today’s marketers can see the results of their efforts across multiple channels and platforms – from SEO to social media to offline ads and billboards – to understand what’s working and what isn’t.
This degree of analysis isn’t possible with older marketing methods. Take radio ads as an example. In the 1950s and 1960s, advertisers would buy time on a handful of radio stations in a localized area to promote their products. While this method still exists, the analysis and ability to measure results are much more sophisticated today. In fact, marketing software can help businesses track the ROI for each of their ad campaigns, adjusting bids and budgets accordingly. Plus, automated tools like Google AdWords make it easy for anyone to get started with paid advertising – even if they have no previous experience.
Older Marketing Versus Newer Marketing Tactics
Marketers have always had to change with the times to keep up with evolving trends and technologies. Traditional marketing is no different. The only difference is that today’s marketers have more tools at their disposal, making it much easier to track the effectiveness of their campaigns.
What’s more, as consumers have gotten more comfortable with digital marketing and social media, the approach and the tactics have continued to evolve. Back in the day, billboards were the only type of advertising people saw. Radio ads were considered a waste of time, and direct mail was considered the “gold standard” of marketing.
As with any evolving trend, marketers have adjusted their approach and their tactics as necessary to fit the new model. Consider direct mail. Back in the day, everyone did direct mail. Even if you weren’t specifically marketing to customers, you would mail your monthly magazine to garner interest and curiosity in your business. Today, direct mail is considered ineffective. Instead, marketers focus on digital and social media, where their target audience is much more engaged and capable of reacting to their messaging.
Similarly, consider the evolution of billboards. Back in the day, people would plaster big, brightly colored billboards in their town to draw attention. These days, it’s considered a waste of money. Instead, billboards today serve as a digital billboard, displaying commercials and other targeted content to attract users.
As with any evolving trend, marketers have adapted with the times, and the changes can be quite significant. While older marketing methods may still exist, the approach and the tools to execute them have changed.
Evolution Of Marketing Is Meant To Uneven Eve
The evolution of marketing is meant to be a gradual process, with new methods and platforms emerging over time to replace the old – much like the web replacing traditional magazines and newspapers.
This is important because, as much as we talk about the advantages of digital marketing, the most significant change may be how we use social media. Because social media doesn’t require massive investments in infrastructure like a traditional magazine, it’s much easier for a business to get started with a social media presence. Even better, as with any trend, marketers can always go back and relaunch their efforts with the new tools and methods that emerge. There will always be something newer and better than what came before.
The only question is: are you ready for the change? Are you equipped to make the shift to a digital marketing strategy?