Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers.The key objective is to promote brands, build preference and increase sales through various digital marketing techniques. It is embodied by an extensive selection of service, product and brand marketing tactics, which mainly use the Internet as a core promotional medium, in addition to mobile and traditional TV and radio.
Digital marketing concepts and practice are evolving tremendously among several industries, especially by the leading companies among each industry utilizing the mass reach of digital tools and social media platforms, benefiting from the possibility to create individually tailored approach that can achieved at a very productive cost
Digital marketing activities are search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) , content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, and e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, optical disks and games, and any other form of digital media. It also extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback and on-hold mobile ring tones.
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, Digital Marketing is the use of digital channels to promote or market products and services to consumers and businesses.
The term 'digital marketing' was first used in the 1990s. In the 2000s and the 2010s, digital marketing became more sophisticated as an effective way to create a relationship with the consumer that has depth and relevance.  While the term 'digital marketing' may not have been used until the 1990s, digital marketing itself has roots to the mid-1980s when the SoftAd Group, now ChannelNet developed advertising campaigns for several major automobile companies, wherein people would send in reader reply cards found in magazines and receive in return floppy disks that contained multimedia content promoting various cars and offering free test drives.
The rapid evolution of digital media has created new opportunities and avenues for advertising and marketing. Fueled by the proliferation of devices to access digital media, this has led to the exponential growth of digital advertising.
Digital media growth is estimated at 4.5 trillion online ads served annually with digital media spend at 48% growth in 2010. An increasing portion of advertising stems from businesses employing Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) to tailor advertising for Internet users. Though an innovative resource, OBA raises concern with regards to consumer privacy and data protection. Such implications are important considerations for responsible communications. Digital marketing is often referred to as 'online marketing', 'internet marketing' or 'web marketing'. The term 'digital marketing' has grown in popularity over time, particularly in certain countries. In the USA 'online marketing' is still prevalent, in Italy is referred as 'web marketing' but in the UK and worldwide, 'digital marketing' has become the most common term, especially after the year 2013.
Latest Developments and Strategies
As digital marketing is dependent on technology which is ever-evolving and fast-changing, the same features should be expected from digital marketing developments and strategies. This portion is an attempt to qualify or segregate the notable highlights existing and being used as of press time.
1. Segmentation: more focus has been placed on segmentation within digital marketing, in order to target specific markets in both business to business and business to consumer sectors.
2. Influencer Marketing: Important nodes are identified within related communities, known as influencers. This is becoming an important concept in digital targeting. It is possible to reach influencers via paid advertising, such as Facebook Advertising or Google Adwords campaigns, or through sophisticated sCRM (social customer relationship management) software, such as SAP C4C, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage CRM and Salesforce CRM. Many universities now focus, at Masters level, on engagement strategies for influencers.
To summarize, Pull digital marketing is characterized by consumers actively seeking marketing content while Push digital marketing occurs when marketers send messages without that content being actively sought by the recipients.
3. Online Behavioural Advertising: Online Behavioural Advertising refers to the practice of collecting information about a user’s online activity over time, “on a particular device and across different, unrelated websites, in order to deliver advertisements tailored to that user’s interests and preferences
4. Collaborative Environment: A collaborative environment can be set up between the organization, the technology service provider,and the digital agencies to optimize effort, resource sharing, reusability and communications.
An important consideration today while deciding on strategy is that the digital tools have democratized the promotional landscape.
Digital Marketing Channels
Digital Marketing is facilitated by multiple channels, As an advertiser one's core objective is to find channels which result in maximum two way communication and a better overall ROI for the brand. There are multiple online marketing channels available namely;
- Affiliate marketing
- Display Advertising
- Email marketing
- Search Marketing
- Social Media
- Social Networking
Push and pull message technologies can be used in conjunction.
The ICC Code has integrated rules that apply to marketing communications using digital interactive media throughout the guidelines. There is also an entirely updated section dealing with issues specific to digital interactive media techniques and platforms. Code self-regulation on use of digital interactive media includes:
- Clear and transparent mechanisms to enable consumers to choose not to have their data collected for advertising or marketing purposes;
- Clear indication that a social network site is commercial and is under the control or influence of a marketer;
- Limits are set so that marketers communicate directly only when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the consumer has an interest in what is being offered;
- Respect for the rules and standards of acceptable commercial behaviour in social networks and the posting of marketing messages only when the forum or site has clearly indicated its willingness to receive them;
- Special attention and protection for children.