The digital marketing landscape, an overview.
Before approaching the core topic of this blog – digital marketing measurement – I would like to give an overview of what the digital marketing landscape looks like and define what digital marketing is in relation to traditional marketing.
First of all though, what is marketing?
“[Marketing is] the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.”
In other words, marketing is essentially about trading value. Marketers provide consumers with something of value so that the consumers trade something they value in return, be it money, time, personal information etc.
Now, is digital marketing something different?
I would say no. The same definition stands true in the digital world. Digital is just a different channel, but it doesn’t alter the core of marketing dynamics, which are still about the same value exchange.
This doesn’t mean marketers should keep doing online what they have been doing offline without reflecting on the specificities of this new channel.
What has the advent of digital changed in the marketing landscape, then?
Many things could be mentioned, but I’d like to point out two main aspects:
More fragmented landscape
The fragmentation of the marketing landscape hasn’t started with digital, but digital has definitely increased it exponentially. People nowadays are likely to be texting on their mobiles while they walk past a billboard; they are likely to be online on their laptop or tablet while they’re watching TV. In other words, modern technology has made us more and more multitasking while simultaneously giving marketers more and more channels to reach us, but we’re easily distracted. Winning our full attention is an altogether tougher challenge.
More power to the consumer
Traditional Mass-media communication is one-to-many; digital communication is more and more based on the many-to-many model of social media.
Traditionally brands would have full control on the flow of information and the messaging of content; nowadays consumers have more control on what information they are receiving and have more means to actively seek out content. What’s more, consumers are media producers too; the power of communication is shared.
With an increase in consumer control and engagement, marketing communication has changed from a model of “interruption” to a model of “participation”; marketing is less about “saying things to people” and more about “doing things for people”.
In a more fragmented and “democratic” communication system, not only is it important for marketers to pitch the right channel for their message, but it’s also more and more important to be able to organize their message through the various channels, as the growing success of transmedia storytelling demonstrates.
If on the one hand digital technology has made the marketing landscape more complicated, on the other it has empowered marketers with new tools and means to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns more accurately.
Lord Leverhulme is known to have said: “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the problem is I don’t know which half”; perhaps he would have appreciated the digital marketing measurement tools available today, but this is a story for another post.