There’s no denying it, the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers at work, and more – and companies that have not yet recognised this in their marketing strategies need to adapt fast.
Why is digital marketing so important? Because it is not only a rapidly growing force in the current marketing playing field, it is set to be the future of marketing, and it seems likely that digital media will soon replace more traditional forms altogether.
While older generations will no doubt lament the demise of paper-based newspapers, books, communication methods and traditional TV and radio broadcasts, those who have grown up with the internet and mobile phones as a God-given right are already embracing the brave new world of digital consumption.
The facts are that digital methods of communication and marketing are faster, more versatile, practical and streamlined, so it is perhaps unsurprising that once the technology became available we began quickly moving into the digital age. The good news is that digital offers just as much potential to marketers as it does to consumers.
Before we look at the benefits of digital marketing, let’s take a quick snapshot of some of the key forms of it at present:
- Websites and SEO content
- Internet banner ads
- Online video content
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Mobile marketing (SMS, MMS, etc.)
This is far from an exhaustive list, and new forms of digital marketing, such as augmented reality, are arriving all the time.
So, why digital marketing?
First of all, digital marketing is infinitely more affordable than traditional offline marketing methods. An email or social media campaign, for example, can transmit a marketing message to consumers for the merest fraction of the cost of a TV ad or print campaign, and potentially reach a wider audience.
But one of the main benefits of conducting your marketing digitally is the ease with which results can be tracked and monitored. Rather than conducting expensive customer research, you can quickly view customer response rates and measure the success of your marketing campaign in real-time, enabling you to plan more effectively for the next one.
Perhaps the strongest case for incorporating a digital element into your marketing is that digital media forms are quickly overtaking traditional forms of information consumption. According to the Office for National Statistics, over 82% of UK adults went online in the first three months of this year: that's over 40 million individuals.
The bottom line is, the digital age is here, and those businesses that fail to adapt to the new marketing climate are at great risk of going extinct sooner rather than later.