Why we need to ditch the phrase ‘Digital Marketing’

Digital marketing was a phrase coined in the early 00’s to refer to all online marketing activity. Until recently, there was a rivalry between ‘traditional marketing’ and ‘digital marketing’ specialists and agencies. So much so that companies started to carve out separate budgets for the two disciplines.

Then, in 2015, larger organisations such as L’Oreal realised that there is still a place for traditional methods of advertising. In addition, some marketers saw that the lines between the two were blurring more and more as each day passed. But, it seems that the industry as a whole is taking a bit too long to catch up with this way of thinking.

[bctt tweet=”“I always smile when agencies claim they are doing digital. Honestly, maybe that was good in 2010, but in 2017 they should claim they just do marketing. We need to stop talking about digital – it’s all part of marketing.”” username=”typefacegroup”]

Digital marketing or traditional marketing…or both

Take PR, for example. PR is both an online and offline discipline. Print newspapers and magazines have (mostly) kept up with the times and have a digital version to satisfy those who prefer to consume media that way. Then, there are the blogging communities and social media platforms which fall under the PR umbrella. So, isn’t time we ditched the phrase ‘digital marketing’ and realised that focusing on any one marketing activity is just madness?

Another example of the blurred lines are billboards and other outdoor advertising. Digital billboards are increasingly common and interactive. But, there is still a strong element of offline design that is required to make these bold ads stand out. So, where would they sit? It may be time that we all just come together as one big and happy marketing community.

Marketing with media neutrality

For companies to really succeed at promoting themselves, they need to take a media neutrality approach. Keep an eye out for our media neutrality blog for more in-depth discussion of this. But, put simply, it means you need to look at the campaign you are going to launch, where and who your target market is, and use the right channels to get any form of ROI. This may mean that you are more digital heavy in some of your campaigns than others. Or, for others, you could need to focus all of your efforts on print advertising. But, the fact remains that you need to consider all marketing avenues rather than discounting them due to this superficial rivalry.

Still not convinced?

Think about it this way. Here in the UK, we are digitally advanced and most of us have access to the internet no matter where we are. However, not all countries use the internet as much as we do, as illustrated below (source). This is a huge consideration for global brands. There are countries around the world where TV and print bring in a better ROI than social media, for example.

Also, consider the age and interest of your audience. Think about the reasons that they tend to consume a certain type of media and whether you can – and will – satisfy that need. While your own market research will determine exactly where to find your audience, as you can see below, each generation consumes media differently.

Image source.

Don’t forget to look at the industry you are in. While we in an age where IGTV is now a marketing channel, it doesn’t mean that it is appropriate for every business.

Marketing with an open mind

While the growth of digital marketing did mean having people that were trained and specialists in online marketing activities, it initially lead to a divide across the industry. Now, digital marketing activities are just another avenue and they need to be considered alongside all f the available channels. The key to marketing success is taking a holistic approach when planning, looking at all the options, and only discounting those that are not going to bring in the results for you.

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