Brush up on the basics of digital marketing

Professional reviewing a digital marketing campaign.

Digital marketing allows brands to gain insights about their customers and connect with them in precise and personal ways. And it’s a more efficient and affordable way to reach your target audiences than with traditional marketing efforts. Whether it’s using channels like social media or email, optimizing content for search engine optimization (SEO), or building a full content marketing strategy, digital marketing should be a part of every marketer’s strategy.

Before diving into digital marketing, let’s address a common misconception. Terms like online and internet marketing often get used interchangeably with digital marketing. While related, there are subtle differences. Along with outlining the differences between these terms, this post will cover:

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is using digital devices and channels — like computers, smartphones, and other digital media — for marketing activities like promoting products or brands. It includes online channels like email, social media, and SEO, but also others like electronic billboards, TV, and radio.

Importantly, digital marketing is not the same as online or internet marketing. Instead, these terms are a subset of digital marketing. Let’s explore these terms further.

Digital marketing

As the umbrella term, digital marketing uses any digital channel, including television, radio, and digital billboards, as well as any marketing methods that rely on a phone, tablet, or computer and the internet. Marketing that requires the internet also falls into the more specific category of online or internet marketing.

Online or internet marketing

A subset of digital marketing, online or internet marketing includes email, social media, SEO, and pay-per-click (PPC). These terms are interchangeable.

The history of digital marketing

Not too long ago, channels like radio, TV, and electronic billboards sprung up as the original forms of digital marketing. They acted as one-way conversation with a captive audience, similar to print advertising. And while these original techniques are still used today, they are now considered offline digital marketing techniques that lack some of the features and benefits of modern digital marketing tools.

Modern digital marketing came into its own in the late 1990s with the rise of the internet. As people started to engage with brands and each other online, marketing expanded into a vast landscape of digital content. Marketers no longer drove the discussion. Instead, consumers became empowered to be publishers, critics, style makers, and trendsetters. Audiences’ attention spans shortened as they gained the ability to click away from any content at any moment.

To compete for customers’ attention, brands have since evolved their marketing strategies to include digital experiences that are tailored to customers’ specific behaviors and needs — all on their favorite channels. And this includes the online digital marketing channels that most people are familiar with, including:

The benefits of digital marketing

While there are benefits to all forms of digital marketing, online digital marketing delivers the greatest impact. For example, let’s compare personalization through offline digital marketing and online digital marketing channels. With offline digital marketing, a business may choose to advertise on a radio station that targets certain demographics. They can run television ads during programs that attract certain audiences or create digital billboard messaging that’s more dynamic than analog billboard messaging. But none of these channels offer the same level of personalization as online digital marketing techniques.

Let’s look at some of the benefits modern digital marketing offers that traditional marketing does not.

Benefits of modern digital marketing.

Plan your next move and learn more about digital marketing

Digital marketing is an essential part of any marketing strategy. It allows your brand to personalize your message to a specific audience and then measure how well that message performed. Any changes can be made quickly for relatively low costs, allowing you to build relationships with your customers by delivering just the right experiences. And if you want to expand your customer base, you can reach customers across the world almost instantly.

We’ve just scratched the surface. Explore these resources to learn more about digital marketing:

Adobe can help

Any great marketing strategy needs to be delivered by a great marketing tool. Adobe Marketo Engage uses powerful B2B and B2C marketing automation to boost every aspect of your customer engagement — across any channel. It also allows you to bring your marketing and sales teams together on one platform to efficiently attract, segment, and nurture leads from just discovering your brand to becoming your biggest fans.

To get started, watch the product overview video or take an interactive product tour.