May 19, 2008 Phil

What is Digital Marketing?

It’s sort of funny, but not so much. Turn to the person sitting next to you and ask them to give you a short definition of digital marketing. If you’re all alone, write down 2 sentences that you feel defines the term. My experience is that most people don’t know. What’s even more frightening is that most marketers don’t know. Everyone has their own opinion, but few can express it in a concise fashion. They struggle with Internet Marketing, Digital Marketing, Interactive and Online Advertising often using the terms interchangeably. Does anyone know the true meaning of Digital Marketing?

The definition on wikipedia.org states – “Digital Marketing is the practice of promoting products and services using digital distribution channels to reach consumers in a timely, relevant, personal and cost-effective manner.” But hold on, that could change as all good Wikis do. Google it and it’s pretty evident we like to give out a lot of awards for Digital Marketing – maybe the judges know the meaning! A quick scan of the jurors for the 2006 Canadian Digital Marketing Awards (Came up 2nd on my Google search) and it would appear from their titles that they’re not Digital Marketers. Maybe “Yahoo Answers” has some insight. When I type in “What is Digital Marketing?” Yahoo returns 120 answers, obviously a few other people are confused. The top answer is from the “Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog” written by Alan Wolk. Wolk finishes his blog with the line – “So I’ll throw the question out to all of you: What is digital advertising?”. I would have thought that Marketing Profs would know the answer.

It appears that, like everything online, the true meaning of Digital Marketing is not clearly defined and like the online medium, it’s still in a phase of metamorphosis. For now, at this moment, I’m confident in stating that Digital Marketing is any type of marketing that involves or contains an element of technology in the delivery of the message. Technology could be a digital billboard in Time Square or a website. If it’s selling and it contains bytes of data it’s Digital Marketing! Ask me again tomorrow and I’ll likely have a different perspective.

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