Digital marketing, online marketing, internet marketing, interactive, social media, content marketing, growth hacking…. it’s enough to make your head swim! And in my experience with most who use those terms, they’re really just tactical specialists who have a skill in an online media channel.
The bottom line is that Online Marketing is Marketing, online.
Digital Marketing isn’t just doing stuff online. It isn’t just being able to set up Search campaigns or run email.
Those are skills.
You might have those skills, and provide them in Advertising or Promotion, but for the love of God you aren’t doing Marketing, digital or not, unless you’re actually just doing Marketing.
What is a fundamental question answered by Marketing? …. Should we be doing anything online and is the budget for and ROI from that better or worse than everything else we could be doing in Product development, PR, BD, Sales optimization, etc. That’s Marketing. So if you’re doing Digital Marketing, you’re able to evaluate your focus on digital vs. everything else.
There are great many of my peers in venture capital who have considered the idea that “Digital” was one of the most detrimental distinctions of Marketing.
Consider that for a moment.
Marketing is the most important thing a business does. No market, no competitive advantage, no roadmap for the business… the business will fail. Period. Everything else a business does can be disregarded. Marketing itself is a business: develop a market advantage, provide it, create value – you can do that with yourself and your hands or brain.
Everything else a business does is a cost of doing business. A business builds, sells, services, accounts, and supports BECAUSE there is business. Marketing is the investment in there being a business.
And what did the distinction of Digital/online/internet/interactive do to Marketing about 20 years ago?
It cannibalized it.
Suddenly marketing was just what was done to promote a site. Marketing was something everyone could do, it’s just emailing people, right? Marketing became what was done AFTER a business was ready to sell something.
And what’s the implication of that? Particularly in startups and startup investment?
Most businesses shouldn’t even exist but they do because someone wants them to. Most startups shouldn’t even be attempted yet they are be because someone taught “build the product first so you test your assuptions and then sell it to customers.” Investors are pissing away money on startups that will never deliver an ROI because they have no understanding of the market and though they might have a degree of success, competitors will kill them off whole some Digital Marketing person doing just SEO sells them a dream that they can turn them around…and then investors perpetuate the problem saying, “marketing didn’t work, it wasn’t worth it, we weren’t ready for it.”
For the love of our economy, jobs, and all that is holy, learn Marketing or don’t call yourself a Digital Marketer. Say you do Facebook Advertising, that doesn’t mean you’re doing Marketing.