Digital marketing

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Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising,and any other digital medium. [1] Digital marketing channels are systems based on the internet that can create, accelerate, and transmit product value from producer to the terminal consumer by digital networks. [2] [3]

Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. Marketing is the business process of creating relationships with and satisfying customers. With its focus on the customer, marketing is one of the primary components of business management.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

Display advertising is advertising on websites or apps or social media through banners or other ad formats made of text, images, flash, video, and audio. The main purpose of display advertising is to deliver general advertisements and brand messages to site visitors.

Contents

Digital marketing's development since the 1990s and 2000s has changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing. [4] As digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, [5] and as people use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, [6] [7] digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent and efficient.

Digital marketing methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing, [8] e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, Display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games are becoming more common in our advancing technology. In fact, digital marketing now extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones. [9] In essence, this extension to non-Internet channels helps to differentiate digital marketing from online marketing, another catch-all term for the marketing methods mentioned above, which strictly occur online.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. SEM may incorporate search engine optimization (SEO), which adjusts or rewrites website content and site architecture to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages to enhance pay per click (PPC) listings.

Content marketing Form of marketing focused on creating content for a targeted audience online

Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. It is often used by businesses in order to:

History

The development of digital marketing is inseparable from technology development. One of the key points in the start of was in 1971, where Ray Tomlinson sent the very first email and his technology set the platform to allow people to send and receive files through different machines. [10] However, the more recognisable period as being the start of Digital Marketing is 1990 as this was where the Archie search engine was created as an index for FTP sites. In the 1980s, the storage capacity of computer was already big enough to store huge volumes of customer information. Companies started choosing online techniques, such as database marketing, rather than limited list broker. [11] This kind of databases allowed companies to track customers' information more effectively, thus transforming the relationship between buyer and seller. However, the manual process was not so efficient.

Ray Tomlinson American computer programmer

Raymond Samuel Tomlinson was a pioneering American computer programmer who implemented the first email program on the ARPANET system, the precursor to the Internet, in 1971; he is internationally known and credited as the inventor of email. It was the first system able to send mail between users on different hosts connected to ARPANET. Previously, mail could be sent only to others who used the same computer. To achieve this, he used the @ sign to separate the user name from the name of their machine, a scheme which has been used in email addresses ever since. The Internet Hall of Fame in its account of his work commented "Tomlinson's email program brought about a complete revolution, fundamentally changing the way people communicate".

Database marketing is a form of direct marketing using databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes. The method of communication can be any addressable medium, as in direct marketing.

A list broker acts as an agent for those who wish to conduct direct marketing campaigns via direct mail, email, or telemarketing.

In the 1990s, the term Digital Marketing was first coined,. [12] With the debut of server/client architecture and the popularity of personal computers, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications became a significant part of marketing technology.[ citation needed ] Fierce competition forced vendors to include more service into their software, for example, marketing, sales and service applications. Marketers were also able to own huge online customer data by eCRM software after the Internet was born. Companies could update the data of customer needs and obtain the priorities of their experience. This led to the first clickable banner ad being going live in 1994, which was the "You Will" campaign by AT&T and over the first four months of it going live, 44% of all people who saw it clicked on the ad. [13]

The eCRM or electronic customer relationship management encompasses all the CRM functions with the use of the net environment i.e., intranet, extranet and internet. Electronic CRM concerns all forms of managing relationships with customers making use of information technology (IT). eCRM is enterprises using IT to integrate internal organization resources and external "marketing" strategies to understand and fulfill their customers needs. Comparing with traditional CRM, the integrated information for eCRM intraorganizational collaboration can be more efficient to communicate with customers.

AT&T American multinational conglomerate holding company

AT&T Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered at Whitacre Tower in Downtown Dallas, Texas. It is the world's largest telecommunications company, the largest provider of mobile telephone services, and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the United States through AT&T Communications. Since June 14, 2018, it is also the parent company of mass media conglomerate WarnerMedia, making it the world's largest media and entertainment company in terms of revenue. As of 2018, AT&T is ranked #9 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

In the 2000s, with more and more Internet users and the birth of iPhone, customers started searching products and making decisions about their needs online first, instead of consulting a salesperson, which created a new problem for the marketing department of a company. In addition, a survey in 2000 in the United Kingdom found that most retailers had not registered their own domain address. [14] These problems made marketers find the digital ways for market development.

iPhone line of smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc.

The iPhone is a line of smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. All generations of the iPhone use Apple's iOS mobile operating system software. The first-generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007, and multiple new hardware iterations with new iOS releases have been released since.

In 2007, the concept of marketing automation was raised to solve the problem above. Marketing automation helped companies segment customers, launch multichannel marketing campaigns and provide personalized information for customers. However, the speed of its adaptability to consumer devices was not fast enough.

Digital marketing became more sophisticated in the 2000s and the 2010s, when [15] [16] the proliferation of devices' capable of accessing digital media led to sudden growth. [17] Statistics produced in 2012 and 2013 showed that digital marketing was still growing. [18] [19] With the development of social media in the 2000s, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, consumers became highly dependent on digital electronics in daily lives. Therefore, they expected a seamless user experience across different channels for searching product's information. The change of customer behavior improved the diversification of marketing technology. [20]

Digital marketing is also referred to as 'online marketing', 'internet marketing' or 'web marketing'. The term digital marketing has grown in popularity over time. In the USA online marketing is still a popular term. In Italy, digital marketing is referred to as web marketing. Worldwide digital marketing has become the most common term, especially after the year 2013. [21]

Digital media growth was estimated at 4.5 trillion online ads served annually with digital media spend at 48% growth in 2010. [22] An increasing portion of advertising stems from businesses employing Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) to tailor advertising for internet users, but OBA raises concern of consumer privacy and data protection. [17]

New non-linear marketing approach

In order to engage customers, retailers must shift from a linear marketing approach of one-way communication to a value exchange model of mutual dialogue and benefit-sharing between provider and consumer. [23] Exchanges are more non-linear, free flowing, and both one-to-many or one-on-one. [7] The spread of information and awareness can occur across numerous channels, such as the blogosphere, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and a variety of other platforms. Online communities and social networks allow individuals to easily create content and publicly publish their opinions, experiences, and thoughts and feelings about many topics and products, hyper-accelerating the diffusion of information. [24]

The Nielsen Global Connected Commerce Survey conducted interviews in 26 countries to observe how consumers are using the Internet to make shopping decisions in stores and online. Online shoppers are increasingly looking to purchase internationally, with over 50% in the study who purchased online in the last six months stating they bought from an overseas retailer. [25]

Using an omni-channel strategy is becoming increasingly important for enterprises who must adapt to the changing expectations of consumers who want ever-more sophisticated offerings throughout the purchasing journey. Retailers are increasingly focusing on their online presence, including online shops that operate alongside existing store-based outlets. The "endless aisle" within the retail space can lead consumers to purchase products online that fit their needs while retailers do not have to carry the inventory within the physical location of the store. Solely Internet-based retailers are also entering the market; some are establishing corresponding store-based outlets to provide personal services, professional help, and tangible experiences with their products. [26]

An omni-channel approach not only benefits consumers but also benefits business bottom line: Research suggests that customers spend more than double when purchasing through an omni-channel retailer as opposed to a single-channel retailer, and are often more loyal. This could be due to the ease of purchase and the wider availability of products. [26]

Customers are often researching online and then buying in stores and also browsing in stores and then searching for other options online. Online customer research into products is particularly popular for higher-priced items as well as consumable goods like groceries and makeup. Consumers are increasingly using the Internet to look up product information, compare prices, and search for deals and promotions. [23]

Use in the digital era

There are a number of ways brands can use digital marketing to benefit their marketing efforts. The use of digital marketing in the digital era not only allows for brands to market their products and services, but also allows for online customer support through 24/7 services to make customers feel supported and valued. The use of social media interaction allows brands to receive both positive and negative feedback from their customers as well as determining what media platforms work well for them. As such, digital marketing has become an increased advantage for brands and businesses. It is now common for consumers to post feedback online through social media sources, blogs and websites on their experience with a product or brand. [27] It has become increasingly popular for businesses to use and encourage these conversations through their social media channels to have direct contact with the customers and manage the feedback they receive appropriately.

Word of mouth communications and peer-to-peer dialogue often have a greater effect on customers, since they are not sent directly from the company and are therefore not planned. Customers are more likely to trust other customers’ experiences. [24] Examples can be that social media users share food products and meal experiences highlighting certain brands and franchises. This was noted in a study on Instagram, where researchers observed that adolescent Instagram users' posted images of food-related experiences within their social networks, providing free advertising for the products. [28]

It is increasingly advantageous for companies to use social media platforms to connect with their customers and create these dialogues and discussions. The potential reach of social media is indicated by the fact that in 2015, each month the Facebook app had more than 126 million average unique users and YouTube had over 97 million average unique users. [29]

Brand awareness

Ease of access

A key objective is engaging digital marketing customers and allowing them to interact with the brand through servicing and delivery of digital media. Information is easy to access at a fast rate through the use of digital communications. Users with access to the Internet can use many digital mediums, such as Facebook, YouTube, Forums, and Email etc. Through Digital communications it creates a multi-communication channel where information can be quickly shared around the world by anyone without any regard to who they are. [30] Social segregation plays no part through social mediums due to lack of face to face communication and information being wide spread instead to a selective audience. This interactive nature allows consumers create conversation in which the targeted audience is able to ask questions about the brand and get familiar with it which traditional forms of Marketing may not offer. [31]

Competitive advantage

By using Internet platforms, businesses can create competitive advantage through various means. To reach the maximum potential of digital marketing, firms use social media as its main tool to create a channel of information. Through this a business can create a system in which they are able to pinpoint behavioral patterns of clients and feedback on their needs. [32] This means of content has shown to have a larger impingement on those who have a long-standing relationship with the firm and with consumers who are relatively active social media users. Relative to this, creating a social media page will further increase relation quality between new consumers and existing consumers as well as consistent brand reinforcement therefore improving brand awareness resulting in a possible rise for consumers up the Brand Awareness Pyramid. [33] Although there may be inconstancy with product images; [34] maintaining a successful social media presence requires a business to be consistent in interactions through creating a two way feed of information; firms consider their content based on the feedback received through this channel, this is a result of the environment being dynamic due to the global nature of the internet. [31] Effective use of digital marketing can result in relatively lowered costs in relation to traditional means of marketing; Lowered external service costs, advertising costs, promotion costs, processing costs, interface design costs and control costs. [34]

Effectiveness

Brand awareness has been proven to work with more effectiveness in countries that are high in uncertainty avoidance, also these countries that have uncertainty avoidance; social media marketing works effectively. Yet brands must be careful not to be excessive on the use of this type of marketing, as well as solely relying on it as it may have implications that could negatively harness their image. Brands that represent themselves in an anthropomorphizing manner are more likely to succeed in situations where a brand is marketing to this demographic. "Since social media use can enhance the knowledge of the brand and thus decrease the uncertainty, it is possible that people with high uncertainty avoidance, such as the French, will particularly appreciate the high social media interaction with an anthropomorphized brand." Moreover, digital platform provides an ease to the brand and its customers to interact directly and exchange their motives virtually. [35]

Latest developments and strategies

One of the major changes that occurred in traditional marketing was the "emergence of digital marketing" (Patrutiu Baltes, Loredana, 2015), this led to the reinvention of marketing strategies in order to adapt to this major change in traditional marketing (Patrutiu Baltes, Loredana, 2015) .

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.[ when? ]

  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.

  1. Online behavioural advertising is 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 [36] [37]
  2. 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. [38] Additionally, organizations are inviting their customers to help them better understand how to service them. This source of data is called User Generated Content. Much of this is acquired via company websites where the organization invites people to share ideas that are then evaluated by other users of the site. The most popular ideas are evaluated and implemented in some form. Using this method of acquiring data and developing new products can foster the organizations relationship with their customer as well as spawn ideas that would otherwise be overlooked. UGC is low-cost advertising as it is directly from the consumers and can save advertising costs for the organisation.
  3. Data-driven advertising: Users generate a lot of data in every step they take on the path of customer journey and Brands can now use that data to activate their known audience with data-driven programmatic media buying. Without exposing customers' privacy, users' Data can be collected from digital channels (e.g.: when customer visits a website, reads an e-mail, or launches and interact with brand's mobile app), brands can also collect data from real world customer interactions, such as brick and mortar stores visits and from CRM and Sales engines datasets. Also known as People-based marketing or addressable media, Data-driven advertising is empowering brands to find their loyal customers in their audience and deliver in real time a much more personal communication, highly relevant to each customers' moment and actions. [39]

An important consideration today while deciding on a strategy is that the digital tools have democratized the promotional landscape.

5. Remarketing: Remarketing plays a major role in digital marketing. This tactic allows marketers to publish targeted ads in front of an interest category or a defined audience, generally called searchers in web speak, they have either searched for particular products or services or visited a website for some purpose.

6. Game advertising: Game ads are advertisements that exist within computer or video games. One of the most common examples of in-game advertising is billboards appearing in sports games. In-game ads also might appear as brand-name products like guns, cars, or clothing that exist as gaming status symbols.

The new digital era has enabled brands to selectively target their customers that may potentially be interested in their brand or based on previous browsing interests. Businesses can now use social media to select the age range, location, gender and interests of whom they would like their targeted post to be seen by. Furthermore, based on a customer's recent search history they can be ‘followed’ on the internet so they see advertisements from similar brands, products and services, [40] This allows businesses to target the specific customers that they know and feel will most benefit from their product or service, something that had limited capabilities up until the digital era.

Ineffective forms of digital marketing

Digital marketing activity is still growing across the world according to the headline global marketing index. A study published in September 2018, found that global outlays on digital marketing tactics are approaching $100 billion. [41] Digital media continues to rapidly grow; while the marketing budgets are expanding, traditional media is declining (World Economics, 2015). [42] Digital media helps brands reach consumers to engage with their product or service in a personalised way. Five areas, which are outlined as current industry practices that are often ineffective are prioritizing clicks, balancing search and display, understanding mobiles, targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic, and cross-platform measurement (Whiteside, 2016). [43] Why these practices are ineffective and some ways around making these aspects effective are discussed surrounding the following points.

Prioritizing clicks

Prioritizing clicks refers to display click ads, although advantageous by being ‘simple, fast and inexpensive’ rates for display ads in 2016 is only 0.10 percent in the United States. This means one in a thousand click ads are relevant therefore having little effect. This displays that marketing companies should not just use click ads to evaluate the effectiveness of display advertisements (Whiteside, 2016). [43]

Balancing search and display

Balancing search and display for digital display ads are important; marketers tend to look at the last search and attribute all of the effectiveness to this. This then disregards other marketing efforts, which establish brand value within the consumers mind. ComScore determined through drawing on data online, produced by over one hundred multichannel retailers that digital display marketing poses strengths when compared with or positioned alongside, paid search (Whiteside, 2016). [43] This is why it is advised that when someone clicks on a display ad the company opens a landing page, not its home page. A landing page typically has something to draw the customer in to search beyond this page. Things such as free offers that the consumer can obtain through giving the company contact information so that they can use retargeting communication strategies (Square2Marketing, 2012). [44] Commonly marketers see increased sales among people exposed to a search ad. But the fact of how many people you can reach with a display campaign compared to a search campaign should be considered. Multichannel retailers have an increased reach if the display is considered in synergy with search campaigns. Overall both search and display aspects are valued as display campaigns build awareness for the brand so that more people are likely to click on these digital ads when running a search campaign (Whiteside, 2016). [43]

Understanding Mobiles: Understanding mobile devices is a significant aspect of digital marketing because smartphones and tablets are now responsible for 64% of the time US consumers are online (Whiteside, 2016). [43] Apps provide a big opportunity as well as challenge for the marketers because firstly the app needs to be downloaded and secondly the person needs to actually use it. This may be difficult as ‘half the time spent on smartphone apps occurs on the individuals single most used app, and almost 85% of their time on the top four rated apps’ (Whiteside, 2016). [43] Mobile advertising can assist in achieving a variety of commercial objectives and it is effective due to taking over the entire screen, and voice or status is likely to be considered highly; although the message must not be seen or thought of as intrusive (Whiteside, 2016). [43] Disadvantages of digital media used on mobile devices also include limited creative capabilities, and reach. Although there are many positive aspects including the users entitlement to select product information, digital media creating a flexible message platform and there is potential for direct selling (Belch & Belch, 2012). [45]

Cross-platform measurement: The number of marketing channels continues to expand, as measurement practices are growing in complexity. A cross-platform view must be used to unify audience measurement and media planning. Market researchers need to understand how the Omni-channel affects consumer's behaviour, although when advertisements are on a consumer's device this does not get measured. Significant aspects to cross-platform measurement involves de-duplication and understanding that you have reached an incremental level with another platform, rather than delivering more impressions against people that have previously been reached (Whiteside, 2016). [43] An example is ‘ESPN and comScore partnered on Project Blueprint discovering the sports broadcaster achieved a 21% increase in unduplicated daily reach thanks to digital advertising’ (Whiteside, 2016). [43] Television and radio industries are the electronic media, which competes with digital and other technological advertising. Yet television advertising is not directly competing with online digital advertising due to being able to cross platform with digital technology. Radio also gains power through cross platforms, in online streaming content. Television and radio continue to persuade and affect the audience, across multiple platforms (Fill, Hughes, & De Franceso, 2013). [46]

Targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic: Targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic all are aspects used by marketers to help advocate digital advertising. Cookies are a form of digital advertising, which are tracking tools within desktop devices; causing difficulty, with shortcomings including deletion by web browsers, the inability to sort between multiple users of a device, inaccurate estimates for unique visitors, overstating reach, understanding frequency, problems with ad servers, which cannot distinguish between when cookies have been deleted and when consumers have not previously been exposed to an ad. Due to the inaccuracies influenced by cookies, demographics in the target market are low and vary (Whiteside, 2016). [43] Another element, which is affected within digital marketing, is ‘viewabilty’ or whether the ad was actually seen by the consumer. Many ads are not seen by a consumer and may never reach the right demographic segment. Brand safety is another issue of whether or not the ad was produced in the context of being unethical or having offensive content. Recognizing fraud when an ad is exposed is another challenge marketers face. This relates to invalid traffic as premium sites are more effective at detecting fraudulent traffic, although non-premium sites are more so the problem (Whiteside, 2016). [43]

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 digital marketing channels available namely; [47]

  1. Video advertising - This type of advertising in terms of digital/online means are advertisements that play on online videos e.g. YouTube videos. This type of marketing has seen an increase in popularity over time. [51] Online Video Advertising usually consists of three types: Pre-Roll advertisements which play before the video is watched, Mid-Roll advertisements which play during the video, or Post-Roll advertisements which play after the video is watched. [52] Post-roll advertisements were shown to have better brand recognition in relation to the other types, where-as "ad-context congruity/incongruity plays an important role in reinforcing ad memorability". [51] Due to selective attention from viewers, there is the likelihood that the message may not be received. [53] The main advantage of video advertising is that it disrupts the viewing experience of the video and therefore there is a difficulty in attempting to avoid them. How a consumer interacts with online video advertising can come down to three stages: Pre attention, attention, and behavioural decision. [54] These online advertisements give the brand/business options and choices. These consist of length, position, adjacent video content which all directly affect the effectiveness of the produced advertisement time, [51] therefore manipulating these variables will yield different results. Length of the advertisement has shown to affect memorability where-as longer duration resulted in increased brand recognition. [51] This type of advertising, due to its nature of interruption of the viewer, it is likely that the consumer may feel as if their experience is being interrupted or invaded, creating negative perception of the brand. [51] These advertisements are also available to be shared by the viewers, adding to the attractiveness of this platform. Sharing these videos can be equated to the online version of word by mouth marketing, extending number of people reached. [55] Sharing videos creates six different outcomes: these being "pleasure, affection, inclusion, escape, relaxation, and control". [51] As well, videos that have entertainment value are more likely to be shared, yet pleasure is the strongest motivator to pass videos on. Creating a ‘viral’ trend from mass amount of a brands advertisement can maximize the outcome of an online video advert whether it be positive or a negative outcome.

It is important for a firm to reach out to consumers and create a two-way communication model, as digital marketing allows consumers to give back feed back to the firm on a community based site or straight directly to the firm via email. [26] Firms should seek this long term communication relationship by using multiple forms of channels and using promotional strategies related to their target consumer as well as word-of mouth marketing. [26]

Self-regulation

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:

Advantages and limitations

The whole idea of digital marketing can be a very important aspect in the overall communication between the consumer and the organisation. This is due to digital marketing being able to reach vast numbers of potential consumers at one time. [57]

Another advantage of digital marketing is that consumers are exposed to the brand and the product that is being advertised directly. To clarify the advertisement is easy to access as well it can be accessed any time any place. [57]

However, with digital marketing there are some setbacks to this type of strategy. One major setback that is identified, is that Digital marketing is highly dependent on the internet. This can be considered as a setback because the internet may not be accessible in certain areas or consumers may have poor internet connection. [57]

As well as digital marketing being highly dependent on the Internet is that it is subject to a lot of clutter, so it marketers may find it hard to make their advertisements stand out, as well as get consumers to start conversations about an organisations brand image or products.

As digital marketing continues to grow and develop, brands take great advantage of using technology and the Internet as a successful way to communicate with its clients and allows them to increase the reach of who they can interact with and how they go about doing so,. [4] There are however disadvantages that are not commonly looked into due to how much a business relies on it. It is important for marketers to take into consideration both advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing when considering their marketing strategy and business goals.

An advantage of digital marketing is that the reach is so large that there are no limitations on the geographical reach it can have. This allows companies to become international and expand their customer reach to other countries other than the country it is based or originates from.

As mentioned earlier, technology and the internet allows for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week service for customers as well as enabling them to shop online at any hour of that day or night, not just when the shops are over and across the whole world. This is a huge advantage for retailers to use it and direct customers from the store to its online store. It has also opened up an opportunity for companies to only be online based rather than having an outlet or store due to the popularity and capabilities of digital marketing.

Another advantage is that digital marketing is easy to be measured allowing businesses to know the reach that their marketing is making, whether the digital marketing is working or not and the amount of activity and conversation that is involved.

With brands using the Internet space to reach their target customers; digital marketing has become a beneficial career option as well. At present, companies are more into hiring individuals familiar in implementing digital marketing strategies and this has led the stream to become a preferred choice amongst individuals inspiring institutes to come up and offer professional courses in Digital Marketing.

A disadvantage of digital advertising is the large amount of competing goods and services that are also using the same digital marketing strategies. For example, when someone searches for a specific product from a specific company online, if a similar company uses targeted advertising online then they can appear on the customer's home page, allowing the customer to look at alternative options for a cheaper price or better quality of the same product or a quicker way of finding what they want online.

Some companies can be portrayed by customers negatively as some consumers lack trust online due to the amount of advertising that appears on websites and social media that can be considered frauds. This can affect their image and reputation and make them out to look like a dishonest brand.

Another disadvantage is that even an individual or small group of people can harm image of an established brand. For instance Dopplegnager is a term that is used to disapprove an image about a certain brand that is spread by anti-brand activists, bloggers, and opinion leaders. The word Doppelganger is a combination of two German words Doppel (double) and Ganger (walker), thus it means double walker or as in English it is said alter ego. Generally brand creates images for itself to emotionally appeal to their customers. However some would disagree with this image and make alterations to this image and present in funny or cynical way, hence distorting the brand image, hence creating a Doppelganger image, blog or content (Rindfleisch, 2016).

Two other practical limitations can be seen in the case of digital marketing. One,digital marketing is useful for specific categories of products,meaning only consumer goods can be propagated through digital channels.Industrial goods and pharmaceutical products can not be marketed through digital channels. Secondly, digital marketing disseminates only the information to the prospects most of whom do not have the purchasing authority/power. And hence the reflection of digital marketing into real sales volume is skeptical.[ citation needed ]

Measuring The Effectiveness of Digital Marketing Campaigns

Although the ultimate criteria to evaluate any business initiative should be its return on investment or any other financial metrics in general, the evaluation criteria and metrics for the digital marketing campaigns can be discussed in more details.

The criteria and metrics can be classified according to its type and time span. Regarding the type, we can either evaluate these campaigns "Quantitatively" or "Qualitatively". Quantitative metrics may include "Sales Volume" and "Revenue Increase/Decrease". While qualitative metrics may include the enhanced "Brand awareness, image and health" as well as the "relationship with the customers".

Shifting the focus to the time span, we may need to measure some "Interim Metrics", which give us some insight during the journey itself, as well as we need to measure some "Final Metrics" at the end of the journey to inform use if the overall initiative was successful or not. As an example, most of social media metrics and indicators such as likes, shares and engagement comments may be classified as interim metrics while the final increase/decrease in sales volume is clearly from the final category.

The correlation between these categories should exist. Otherwise, a disappointing results may happen at the end in – spite of the illusion of success perceived early during the project.

Strategy

Planning

Digital marketing planning is a term used in marketing management. It describes the first stage of forming a digital marketing strategy for the wider digital marketing system. The difference between digital and traditional marketing planning is that it uses digitally based communication tools and technology such as Social, Web, Mobile, Scannable Surface. [58] [59] Nevertheless, both are aligned with the vision, the mission of the company and the overarching business strategy. [60]

Stages of planning

Using Dr Dave Chaffey's approach, the digital marketing planning (DMP) has three main stages: Opportunity, Strategy and Action. He suggests that any business looking to implement a successful digital marketing strategy must structure their plan by looking at opportunity, strategy and action. This generic strategic approach often has phases of situation review, goal setting, strategy formulation, resource allocation and monitoring. [60]

1) Opportunity

To create an effective DMP, a business first needs to review the marketplace and set 'SMART' (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound) objectives. [61] They can set SMART objectives by reviewing the current benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) of the company and competitors. It is pertinent that the analytics used for the KPIs be customised to the type, objectives, mission and vision of the company. [62] [63]

Companies can scan for marketing and sales opportunities by reviewing their own outreach as well as influencer outreach. This means they have competitive advantage because they are able to analyse their co-marketers influence and brand associations. [64]

To cease opportunity, the firm should summarize their current customers' personas and purchase journey from this they are able to deduce their digital marketing capability. This means they need to form a clear picture of where they are currently and how many resources they can allocate for their digital marketing strategy i.e. labour, time etc. By summarizing the purchase journey, they can also recognise gaps and growth for future marketing opportunities that will either meet objectives or propose new objectives and increase profit.

2) Strategy

To create a planned digital strategy, the company must review their digital proposition (what you are offering to consumers) and communicate it using digital customer targeting techniques. So, they must define online value proposition (OVP), this means the company must express clearly what they are offering customers online e.g. brand positioning.

The company should also (re)select target market segments and personas and define digital targeting approaches.

After doing this effectively, it is important to review the marketing mix for online options. The marketing mix comprises the 4Ps – Product, Price, Promotion and Place. [65] [66] Some academics have added three additional elements to the traditional 4Ps of marketing Process, Place and Physical appearance making it 7Ps of marketing. [67]

3) Action

The third and final stage requires the firm to set a budget and management systems; these must be measurable touchpoints, such as audience reached across all digital platforms. Furthermore, marketers must ensure the budget and management systems are integrating the paid, owned and earned media of the company. [68] The Action and final stage of planning also requires the company to set in place measurable content creation e.g. oral, visual or written online media. [69]

After confirming the digital marketing plan, a scheduled format of digital communications (e.g. Gantt Chart) should be encoded throughout the internal operations of the company. This ensures that all platforms used fall in line and complement each other for the succeeding stages of digital marketing strategy.

Understanding the Market

One way marketers can reach out to consumers, and understand their thought process is through what is called an empathy map. An empathy map is a four step process. The first step is through asking questions that the consumer would be thinking in their demographic. The second step is to describe the feelings that the consumer may be having. The third step is to think about what the consumer would say in their situation. The final step is to imagine what the consumer will try to do based on the other three steps. This map is so marketing teams can put themselves in their target demographics shoes. [70] Web Analytics are also a very important way to understand consumers. They show the habits that people have online for each website. [71] One particular form of these analytics is predictive analytics which helps marketers figure out what route consumers are on. This uses the information gathered from other analytics, and then creates different predictions of what people will do so that companies can strategize on what to do next, according to the peoples trends. [72]

Sharing economy

The "sharing economy" refers to an economic pattern that aims to obtain a resource that is not fully utilized. [73] Nowadays, the sharing economy has had an unimagined effect on many traditional elements including labor, industry, and distribution system. [73] This effect is not negligible that some industries are obviously under threat. [73] [74] The sharing economy is influencing the traditional marketing channels by changing the nature of some specific concept including ownership, assets, and recruitment. [74]

Digital marketing channels and traditional marketing channels are similar in function that the value of the product or service is passed from the original producer to the end user by a kind of supply chain. [75] For instance, a typical digital marketing channel is email. Organization can update the activity or promotion information to the user by subscribing the newsletter mail that happened in consuming. In addition to this typical approach, the built-in control, efficiency and low cost of digital marketing channels is an essential features in the application of sharing economy. [75]

See also

Related Research Articles

Advertising Form of communication for marketing, typically paid for

Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Sponsors of advertising are typically businesses wishing to promote their products or services. Advertising is differentiated from public relations in that an advertiser pays for and has control over the message. It differs from personal selling in that the message is non-personal, i.e., not directed to a particular individual. Advertising is communicated through various mass media, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising or direct mail; and new media such as search results, blogs, social media, websites or text messages. The actual presentation of the message in a medium is referred to as an advertisement, or "ad" or advert for short.

Personalized marketing, also known as one-to-one marketing or individual marketing, is a marketing strategy by which companies leverage data analysis and digital technology to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or prospective customers. Advancements in data collection methods, analytics, digital electronics, and digital economics, have enabled marketers to deploy more effective real-time and prolonged customer experience personalization tactics.

Direct marketing type of marketing sending messages directly to consumers

Direct marketing is a form of communicating an offer, where organizations communicate directly to a pre-selected customer and supply a method for a direct response. Among practitioners, it is also known as direct response marketing. By contrast, advertising is of a mass-message nature.

Marketing communications uses different marketing channels and tools in combination: Marketing communication channels focus on any way a business communicates a message to its desired market, or the market in general. A marketing communication tool can be anything from: advertising, personal selling, direct marketing, sponsorship, communication, and promotion to public relations.

Online advertising, also called online marketing or Internet advertising or web advertising, is a form of marketing and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. Many consumers find online advertising disruptive and have increasingly turned to ad blocking for a variety of reasons.

In marketing, promotion refers to any type of marketing communication used to inform or persuade target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or issue. The aim of promotion is to increase awareness, create interest, generate sales or create brand loyalty. It is one of the basic elements of the market mix, which includes the four Ps, i.e., product, price, place, and promotion.

Advertising campaign series of advertisement messages

An advertising campaign is a series of advertisement messages that share a single idea and theme which make up an integrated marketing communication (IMC). An IMC is a platform in which a group of people can group their ideas, beliefs, and concepts into one large media base. Advertising campaigns utilize diverse media channels over a particular time frame and target identified audiences.

A target audience is the intended audience or readership of a publication, advertisement, or other message. In marketing and advertising, it is a particular group of consumers within the predetermined target market, identified as the targets or recipients for a particular advertisement or message. Businesses that have a wide target market will focus on a specific target audience for certain messages to send, such as The Body Shops Mother's Day advertisements, which were aimed at the children and spouses of women, rather than the whole market which would have included the women themselves.

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placements from influencers, people and organizations who possess an expert level of knowledge and/or social influence in their respective fields.

Youth Marketing is a term used in the marketing and advertising industry to describe activities to communicate with young people, typically in the age range of 13 to 35. More specifically, there is the teen marketing, targeting people age 13 to 17, college marketing, targeting college-age consumers, typically ages 18 to 24, young adult marketing, targeting youngsters use professionals, typically ages 25 to 34.

Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves social media, online media that supports social interaction, and user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services.

Media planning is generally outsourced to entail sourcing and selecting optimal media platforms for a client's brand or product to use. The job of media planning is to determine the best combination of media to achieve the objectives.

Targeted advertising type of advertising

Targeted advertising is a form of online advertising that is directed towards audiences with certain traits, based on the product or person the advertiser is promoting. These traits can either be demographic which are focused on race, economic status, sex, age, the level of education, income level and employment or they can be psychographic focused which are based on the consumer's values, personality, attitudes, opinions, lifestyles and interests. They can also be behavioral variables, such as browser history, purchase history, and other recent activity. Targeted advertising is focused on certain traits and the consumers who are likely to have a strong preference will receive the message instead of those who have no interest and whose preferences do not match a product's attribute. This eliminates wastage.

Social network advertising, also social media targeting, is a group of terms that are used to describe forms of online advertising that focus on social networking services. One of the major benefits of this type of advertising is that advertisers can take advantage of the users' demographic information and target their ads appropriately.

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Although the terms e-marketing and digital marketing are still dominant in academia, social media marketing is becoming more popular for both practitioners and researchers. Most social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools, which enable companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns. Companies address a range of stakeholders through social media marketing, including current and potential customers, current and potential employees, journalists, bloggers, and the general public. On a strategic level, social media marketing includes the management of a marketing campaign, governance, setting the scope and the establishment of a firm's desired social media "culture" and "tone."

Virtual engagement is a metric to determine the level of affinity between a company and its customers. In today's internet economy, few things matter as much to marketers as the intensity of the feelings a customer has towards the brand or the product of a given corporation. Marketing professionals are engaging prospects and moving them along the customer engagement cycle to become customers and finally advocates.

Social advertising is advertising that relies on social information or networks in generating, targeting, and delivering marketing communications. Many current examples of social advertising use a particular Interpretation service to collect social information, establish and maintain relationships with consumers, and for delivering communications. For example, the advertising platforms provided by Google, Twitter, and Facebook involve targeting and presenting ads based on relationships articulated on those same services. Social advertising can be part of a broader social media marketing strategy designed to connect with consumers.

In-product communications (IPC) are messages, content, and related media delivered directly to a user's internet-connected device or software application, with the purpose of informing, gathering feedback from, engaging with, or marketing to that specific user or segment of users at often-higher engagement rates than other digital marketing and online marketing channels.

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Further reading