Has the word ‘digital’ become overdramatized and sensationalized by marketers? Yes, and that’s a bold statement to make coming from a CEO and founder of a digital marketing agency.
The sole purpose of marketing is to garner attention for a business selling a product or service. Several subsets of marketing (like content, social media, and digital) have emerged, changing the way organizations market their businesses. That said, they all have the same primary function: to garner attention.
Technology changes the way that marketers market, and even changes the look of a business’s marketing department. This technology shifts so rapidly that we see more of our time dedicated to 'digital' resources, so we've naturally adopted 'digital' marketing as our own.
CMO’s and directors everywhere now have employees with titles like ‘social media manager,’ ‘content strategist,’ and ‘community manager.’ It’s very rare you’ll find a department with a ‘print manager,’ or even a media buyer dedicated only to purchases in magazines and newspapers.
Employers have made the shift within their organizations to reflect the wants and needs of their consumers. While traditional marketing (e.g. direct mail, print, and newspaper) has its place, most customers want access to information when they want it and how they want it.
In essence, what we used to think of as 'traditional marketing' has now become 'old school marketing.' And what we've coined 'digital marketing' has become the new 'traditional marketing.'
Ultimately it all comes down to experience marketing. It leaves the channel behind and focuses solely on the user and their unique experience.
Cohesive omnichannel experience
As more people adopt new technology, marketers need to implement an omnichannel strategy to orchestrate seamless interactions from device to device, from experience to experience. This ensures a cohesive marketing plan that follows users between the ‘real’ and the digital worlds.
Omnichannel marketing has started to blur the lines between print and digital marketing mediums. Print campaigns are still part of the overall omnichannel strategy, but they leverage QR codes, hashtags, websites, and social media icons to drive people back to an online experience.
The holy grail of all marketers is to drive profitable growth and expand customer relationships. Digital marketing, by proxy, is the key to that success.
With access to more tools and platforms than ever before, marketers aid in attribution and engagement across all digital mediums. It's the context and basis for all marketing; we’re simply marketers living in a digital world.
Digital has become so tightly intertwined with everything we do that our online and offline worlds often interact and combine.
Dining out with friends has never been the same since the introduction of Instagram. Dating has become a matter of swiping right or swiping left. And if you thought you’d leave work behind at the end of the day, think again. You'll be retargeted by advertisements for items you searched during the day, or simply profiled based on your geographic location, job title, and more.
Marketers understand that to connect with experiences happening online or off, they need to be where customers are most. There’s nothing ‘digital’ about it. It’s simply finding the right people at the right time. The medium might be digital, but they share the common goal of connecting with the customers’ experiences.
Why 'Digital' Is the new 'Traditional'
Not too long ago, we lacked digital higher education. But that’s changing.
Programs like those found at the University of Connecticut School of Business are offering certificates in programs for Digital Advertising and Analytics. Employers are demanding students with a greater understanding of how digital drives results for businesses, not just likes for their lunchtime hamburger.
Do universities need to put this emphasis on digital marketing? Sure, it’s still new to them. For the rest of us marketing day in and day out, cut the fluff. ‘Digital’ is the new 'traditional.' Let's stop trying to pigeonhole ‘marketing’ from ‘digital marketing.’ Every effort amongst marketers has a digital impact. It’s redundant and quite unnecessary to stress ‘digital’ when quite frankly, we’re already there.