This post gives a brief introduction to digital marketing, how it differs from traditional marketing and why digital marketers need to have a technical understanding web technologies.
The digital marketing landscape has made it much easier for marketers to measure and evaluate the efficiency of marketing strategies and campaigns. At the same time, digital marketing is a lot more complex than traditional marketing, and digital marketers not only need to have an understanding of marketing fundamentals but also of web technologies and how to read web code.
Digital and traditional marketing, what’s the difference.
On a fundamental level, digital marketing (DM) and traditional marketing (TM) has the same objective of creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large (Ama.org, 2017). The main difference, however, is that DM has given marketers an unprecedented access to market data, powerful tools to measure the effects of executed marketing activities and instruments to identify and reach distinct audiences and customers with personalised, targeted messages. With digital marketing being a technology-based methodology built on the technologies that drive the web; digital marketers need to have an in-depth understanding of these technologies to be able to plan, evaluate, implement and perform efficient DM-strategies.
With apps becoming an important part of many organisations marketing strategies, DM-marketers also need to have a deep understanding of app development methodologies and their individual strengths and weaknesses. As an example; it is vital that DM marketers not only have the competence to evaluate whether a planned app strategy should be based on a web-, hybrid or native strategy: but also which development methodology that is optimal in respect to performance vs. budget. This includes the expertise to assess whether a native app strategy should be developed as a true native app, if it can be developed with native scripting using native frameworks such as NativeScript (2017), or if a hybrid app strategy might better suit the underlying goals and objectives of the project and the organisation.
DM-marketers also need to have an in-depth understanding of the technologies that drives the web and need to work hard to keep their knowledge relevant and up-to-date. A good example is WebKit’s new ‘Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature’ (WebKit, 2017) which to a large extent will prevent cross-domain tracking by blocking third-party cookies affecting the possibility to track customers and web visitors as they travel the web. A DM-marketer lacking an understanding of cookies or not keeping his or her knowledge up to date would neither understand how this initiative by WebKit affect a current analytics- and marketing strategy, and even less how to adapt to it.
The DM-landscape is complex, and DM-marketers need to learn many different skills in addition to traditional marketing theory including Kotler’s p’s (Kotler and Armstrong, 2016), Porter’s five forces (Porter, 1998) and Hofstede’s theory of cultural dimensions (Geert-hofstede, 2017). With the web and its technologies evolving at a breath-taking speed, DM-marketers also need to work hard to keep their skills relevant and up-to-date. In digital marketing, as within any area of business, it is, of course, possible to get along with just knowing the basics. To stand strong in highly competitive markets, there is, however, no other shortcut than to roll up the sleeves.
- Ama.org. (2017). Definition of Marketing. [online] Available at: https://www.ama.org/AboutAMA/Pages/Definition-of-Marketing.aspx [Accessed 18 Jun. 2017].
- Ec.europa.eu. (2017). Cookies – European commission. [online] Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/ipg/basics/legal/cookies/index_en.htm [Accessed 19 Jun. 2017].
- Geert-hofstede. (2017). Dimensions – Geert Hofstede. [online] Available at: https://geert-hofstede.com/national-culture.html [Accessed 19 Jun. 2017].
- Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. (2016). Principles of marketing. Harlow: Pearson Education.
- NativeScript. (2017). NativeScript. [online] Available at: https://www.nativescript.org/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2017].
- PageSpeed Insights. (2017). PageSpeed Insights. [online] Available at: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2017].
- Porter, M. (1998). Competitive strategy. New York: Free Press.
- React Native. (2017). React Native | A framework for building native apps using React. [online] Available at: https://facebook.github.io/react-native/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2017].
- ThemeForest. (2017). Website Templates & Themes from ThemeForest. [online] Available at: https://themeforest.net/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2017].
- W3C Validator. (2017). The W3C Markup Validation Service. [online] Available at: https://validator.w3.org/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2017].
- WebKit. (2017). Intelligent Tracking Prevention. [online] Available at: https://webkit.org/blog/7675/intelligent-tracking-prevention/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2017].