Isn’t “Digital Marketing” Just “Marketing”?
The power of digital marketing is a very real and discernible thing. You don’t have to look far to see evidence of successes that businesses have had as a result of their digital presence. So why do we still call it ‘digital marketing’? Isn’t it just ‘marketing’ now?
Digital marketing is merely a phrase we use to describe marketing that happens through digital channels. Years ago when it was a particularly new concept, the two terms may have been useful to help differentiate between something that we know is important (marketing) and something that is becoming more influential and may well be important soon (digital marketing). But now, with social media and the digital world very much a part of life, wouldn’t it make sense to amalgamate the two?
As if it wasn’t enough that digital marketing holds so much weight (it’s a digital world, after all), it can be argued that some traditional forms of marketing are becoming less and less important now. For anybody who is strictly digital, these include anything from printed material for distribution such as magazines and newsletters, direct mail, broadcast including radio and television and telemarketing. These still hold substantial importance, particularly for local businesses, however certainly some companies have gained from reinvesting their budget from traditional into digital.
Hang on, hasn’t this happened already?
In 2013, research and analysis company Forrester decided to predict that ‘Digital Marketing’ was going to become ‘Marketing’ in that year - as all marketers output was set to become “inherently digital”. Either they were wrong or somebody failed to actually tell the digital marketers.
Everybody took this news with a degree of intrigue and there were countless articles written about it (including this one by Marketing Week), alongside plenty of heated discussions on LinkedIn by people wearing suits. Their arguments were pretty much the same as ours - marketing is marketing and digital is discipline within it. Many appeared to be bothered by terminology, but we reckon that was really not the issue. What was and still is important was recognising what to prioritise to promote evolution.
What should we call it then?
Let’s get one thing straight - it really doesn’t matter. But that isn’t enough for Marketers; everything has to be branded, including the work itself. With that in mind, far from the digitalisation of output causing it to become ‘just marketing’, we now have far more work titles. Social Media Marketing Manager, Content Marketing Manager, Digital Marketing Contributor, Online Marketing Strategist, PPC Marketing Expert. Your title will depend on your specialist discipline. And yes - it is all just marketing - which is like saying that Einstein was just a Scientist.
'Marketing' is very much the industry and, like every other industry, it takes a huge variety of skills and disciplines to be successful. That goes for digital as well - there are as many digital marketing platforms and areas of expertise that the way to succeed is to have a team with a wide variety of skills.