Digital marketing: definition and relevance for today’s business

digital marketing
Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is becoming a priority for businesses around the world because more people are using the internet. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) aims to explain the concept of digital marketing  and its relevance to business. We will look at the following issues:

  • Digital marketing
  • Differences between digital and physical marketing
  • Content and customer experience
  • Digital marketing and consumer platforms
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) technique

This course was developed by students on the Business Information Technology programme.

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is the process of integrating platforms and customers’ experience through a digital channel. Digital marketing offers the prospect of increasing and improving the interactions and relationships with current and prospective customers through, for instance, social networking sites, instant messaging systems and mobile applications (apps).

The following video and infographic offer an introduction to digital marketing and include an interview with Dr Aleksej Heinze.


Digital Marketing

Digital versus physical marketing

Marketing involves understanding of prospects’ needs and the development of products and services which would be attractive to buyers. It also includes activities such as promotion and the selling of products and services, market research and advertising.

Over the years the physical form of marketing was predominately used to reach out to customers. However, the evolution and popularity of information technology has increased the importance of digital marketing activities. Digital marketing uses marketing methods that are primarily dependent on the use of the technologies such as social networks whilst physical marketing depends on the ability of customers to touch or interact with the products and services in order to experience these products in reality. For instance, physical marketing could include individual consultations, physical display board or signs.

While there is evidence of more and more digital marketing activities there are still people who have never used the internet and only are accessed by traditional or physical marketing. Internet penetration rates in a country and among specific demographic groups provides a good indicator to help companies identify whether digital marketing is an appropriate technique.

The main advantages of digital marketing over physical marketing are…

  • It helps businesses to develop a wider customer base as it does not rely on physical presence or interaction
  • It encourages customers to interact directly with businesses
  • It is not limited by conventional opening times – customers can interact at a time and place convenient for them

Both forms of marketing are very important in the marketplace and each business has to evaluate their current and future customer base before embarking on digital marketing actions.

Content and customer experience

Content, customer experience and platforms are core elements of digital marketing. Content is what is consumed, it is usually information about a product or service, it could be product information, price, service charges or the sale of digital products like books, movies or software.  Customer experience is how the content is presented for consumers of product and services. These experiences include community and customer input, recommendations and a user friendly interface. The platform is how and where packaged content is delivered including the business processes put in place to deliver the content, the technology used for the collection of customer data and the network used to deliver content for  better customer experience.

Digital marketing and consumer

Digital marketing encourages the use of new channels of communication that close the loop between consumer and brand. User comments and ratings build a transparent trust relationship between the consumer and business. The value of consumer comments is the way in which they offer proof of the quality and strength of a brand that extends beyond solely being a good image.

Digital marketing and consumer platforms

There are generally many kinds of platforms available to digital marketing. There are some basic platforms that most marketers can use, for instance, Google AdWords. Google AdWords is a tool offered to help businesses  market their products or services on the Google search engine and associated sites. By identifying relevant keywords Google is able to show how often users search for that keyword. This tool helps organisations identify useful keywords that could be integrated into content on websites and social media profiles which as a result can increase an organisation’s ranking on search engine results page.

Evaluating digital marketing platforms is important as it is time consuming and resource intensive for most companies to invest in all the possible platforms. The availability of different types of platforms provides options for user friendly formats across devices and channels in order to help a business capture the best opportunities. There are an abundance of ad-delivery technology solutions. The most popular tool. by far, is the use of social media. Facebook, LinkedIn and email lists are popular digital tactics for engagement with consumers.

Digital marketing – Search Engine Optimisation techniques

It is very important that businesses optimize their online properties effectively in order to reach the top of all the major search engine result page. Optimisation helps to rank content higher than that of competitors.

Additional Resources

This material was prepared by Tolulope Yemisi Ogunleye, Flavia Lutonda and Morolayo Oyeku

Want to sing up for a course? Join the MSc Digital Marketing at Salford Business School or if you like internatioanl digital marketing experience see if this joint masters course in Digital and Social Media Marketing could be for you.

You can sign up on the free Digital and Social Media Marketing MOOC course that helps you to understand Search and Social Media Marketing or on the evening course in Search and Social Media Marketing via Salford Professional Development.

Follow #passion4digital on twitter to keep in-touch with others interested in digital marking and learn more about developments of the Digital and Social Media Marketing courses at Salford Business School.

What are your views on digital marketing?

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  • Good writeup – need to improve on the image though!!! Was hard to read the image but overall the content and the way it was delivered is excellent.