What exactly is Digital Marketing?

What exactly is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is lucrative, growing fast, and is hugely rewarding. It is an extremely essential component for businesses today. But what is it that makes it so important?

To answer that question- Let’s start with understanding, “What exactly is Digital Marketing?”.

In this article, we will understand –

  • What gives Digital Marketing the ability to make such an impact?
  • How is it different from traditional marketing?
  • How various brands are using it?

But on the journey to understand Digital Marketing, it is crucial to understand Marketing itself.

What is Marketing?

Marketing in itself can mean very different things to different people.

Many think of it as advertising, others think of it as sales and some even have a negative impression of marketing as some form of manipulation.

As such an interesting question to ask would – What does Marketing mean for you? (share in the comments later)

Technically speaking, The

Sounds complicated, isn’t it?

Let me help you out. Simply speaking, it is an act of enabling a mutually beneficial exchange between two parties. A seller and a buyer.

A seller normally offers a product, but it could also be a service, an idea, or an experience.

Similarly, a buyer provides money in exchange, but it could also be other scarce resources such as their attention.

Marketing is an action or business of making this exchange between the buyer and seller- Easier, simpler and beneficial for both parties.

This can be done in various ways through activities like promoting, advertising, selling, doing market research, etc etc.

So the seller sells and the buyer buys. The marketing enables it. Simple enough.

This begs the question- Why does Marketing seem so complicated and confusing with tactics, strategies, channels and what not?

How does marketing come into play?

Well, there is more to this buyer an seller story. There are three problem statements that are observed.

  1. First of all our buyer aka   the consumer often doesn’t know what they really want. 
  2. The consumer has a level of uncertainty as to what degree a product will meet their needs.
  3. There are usually many sellers offering competing products that appeal to the same customer.

Marketing is what helps us solve these problems.

For example, an average supermarket offers over 80 different types of soaps. It will take hours for a consumer to learn about the potential benefits, ingredients, skin-type compatibility of each product.

And that’s just one item on an average consumer’s diverse shopping list.

Good marketing will help certain products stand out from the rest. It influences the consumer’s ability to-

  1. Recognize the Need for the product
  2. Place the product in a way that suits their need
  3. Differentiate a product from its competition

Overcoming these challenges is the core of marketing. I have seen people set-up huge marketing campaigns in play without really recognizing that this is what they are supposed to achieve at its core.

Over the years as every business tried to outmanoeuvre the other, systemic processes were developed supported by various tools and techniques, and thus marketing became the complex subject it is today.

From door-to-door sales, word of mouth campaigns to radio, TV, news papers and banners have been the traditional domains of marketing.

But then we enter the Internet era.

What is Digital Marketing? Why use Digital Marketing?

As we entered the Internet era, and with businesses always looking to outfox each other they explored new avenues over the internet, we got what we call Digital Marketing.

It is because,

Digital marketing unlocks the super-ability to reach millions of internet users just by using a digital device such as a laptop or a smartphone.

What is Digital Marketing? – All the marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet, is Digital Marketing.

Electronic devices and the internet is now an integral part of everyday life. Look at the people around you this very moment and you will realize this fact.

Digital Marketing leverages this vast audience. It has multiplied the possible ways that brands can use to reach their customers.

Search engines, websites, social media, email, mobile apps are some of the prominent digital channels that businesses leverage to advertise and connect with their customers.

But ease of access isn’t the only reason that make Digital Marketing powerful.

The second superpower is the ability to target, track & draw insights based on actual data.

Data Drives Marketing!

Let’s take an example of this Tesla Advertisement on a Billboard.

For the sake of discussion, let us assume this Billboard stands on a high-traffic road in New York.

On a good day, say you would get about say around 120,000 travellers. The approximate cost of setting this up would be around $7200 per day.

The number of people paying attention to this advertisement as they travel would approximately be around 15-25%?

Some reports claim it be can be as high as 37%. So lets assume it to be 37%.

That would be 44,400 people viewing the billboard per day. With the cost per view of $0.18 (Rs 13.5).

The question is –

How will you as an advertiser know the number of people who pre-booked, purchased, or bought the car because of this exact advertisement?

At best you will have to work with guesswork or some research reports.

We have a popular saying that goes-

 “Without data, all you have is an opinion.” 

This is often a limitation of traditional marketing channels such as Newspaper Ads, Banner Ads, Fliers, Posters, etc. All you get are some estimates and opinions.

As a business you would like to have insights to measure the performance of your marketing campaigns in a direct way. This is the super-power that Digital Marketing unlocks.

With this Tesla Billboard example. You would ideally like to measure metrics like :

  • Number of views
  • Engagement & time spent on the ad.
  • Inquiries, leads, and visits generated.
  • Actual purchases because of the said Campaign.

If possible you would also like to make the campaign more efficient by targeting customers who are:

  • Looking to buy a car.
  • Interested or have engaged with the brand.
  • Live in a certain geography.
  • Of a certain age, etc

Digital Marketing hands you the superpower to target, track, measure, and optimize your marketing efforts.

With the ability to use data, it is very easy to take decisions and identify ways to create effective and efficiently scalable marketing campaigns.

 The best part is that- Anyone from anywhere with some budget, no matter how big or small, can Do IT

Data at Play

Here is an overview of the Website data provided by Google Analytics for one of my accounts.


Google Analytics. Data in Digital Marketing.
You get a report of total users & new users who visited the website over a given period of time. The time they spent on your website and the interaction.


You can also track where your users come from, what they do, and use this data to improve.

This level of data is what makes your website a very powerful marketing tool.

Here is another example of a simple targeting set up used for the promotion of a Marathon Running Event using Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads. Data in Digital Marketing.
Using the data shared by Facebook wisely makes for very effective campaigns,


Here’s a look at how Facebook helped us Track & Analyze the results from a Campaign-

Facebook Ads. Data in Digital Marketing.
There a lot you can do!

This is a small glimpse of what you have at your disposal to analyze and make informed marketing decisions.

You can even use these insights to boost your offline marketing methods.

Organic vs Inorganic Digital Marketing

There are several components that can be utilized for digital marketing. The best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each digital marketing campaign supports their overarching goals.

There are two major approaches:

Organic Marketing

Customers come to your digital channels naturally over time, rather than artificially by paid links, advertisements. You spend time & effort instead of money.

Inorganic Marketing

It is the opposite of organic marketing. The brands pay for the advertising on digital platforms to reach out to the customers and achieve their goals.

Most strategies use a mix of both methods.

Digital Marketing Practices

Depending on the platforms and channels used, some popular practices have been categorized as follows-

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in the search result pages of search engines such as Google.  This helps gain continuous organic traffic of interested users to your website.  Search engines drive 93% of all website traffic. 

Content Marketing

It refers to the creation and promotion of high-quality content using assets such as a blog. It is used for the purpose of generating brand awareness, traffic growth, lead generation, and customers.

70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. (HubSpot, 2020)

Social Media Marketing

This is the process of using suitable social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc to promote your brand, content, and offerings. It is a great means to engage and interact with your customers.

 64% of online shoppers say that a video on social media helped them make their decision.  Social media marketing includes both organic marketing and paid social media advertising.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

It is the method of publishing an ad to drive traffic to your website. The publisher is paid for every click the ad generates. It most commonly refers to Google Ads, which appear in the search results. But can also refer to link click ads on social media.

Email Marketing

Using your email to connect with your audience. Email marketing is used to promote content, discounts, events, and to direct people toward the business’s website. If used well, email marketing has a huge potential to drive revenue.

Online PR

Just like traditional PR but on digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites.

Inbound Marketing

It is referred to as marketing methodology wherein you attract, engage, and delight customers along their buying journey. It often uses a mix of 2 to 3 of the above-mentioned tactics to deliver fantastic results.

With the plethora of options available it can feel overwhelming at times. If you are just starting out, start by documenting your digital marketing plan and improve it over time. There is a method to this madness.

Most marketers use a good mix of these components in their campaigns.

How Brands leverage Digital Marketing

Here are a couple of recent examples of how brands, whether big or small are using Digital Marketing to get results.

College Raptor

College Raptor is a US-based startup that helps high-school students find a match with the right colleges. They used a superb content marketing strategy to get from absolutely no organic traffic to 100k visitors per month on their website in just one year.

They created a highly relevant piece of content using nothing but publicly available data to achieve these results.

Source: Marketo, YesOptimist

College Raptor Traffic Growth

Nature Fruit

Nature Fruit is a detox water brand that promotes a healthy lifestyle using freshly dried fruit in its bottled water beverages. Headquartered in Taiwan, this beverage brand wanted to expand into the Malaysian market.

They utilized a mix of Facebook Advertising & Influencer Marketing to expand into the Malaysian market. They saw a 30% increase in new online customers during the campaign.

Source: FacebookForBusiness


There are just hundreds, if not thousands of such stories of brands and businesses leveraging digital marketing to grow. (I might write a specialized article discussing few such cases in depth.)

If you are here reading this, I’m pretty sure you are already started with your digital marketing journey. If not get started today.

 I can always help you get the foundations right with a free one-time consultation. Start your journey today if you haven’t already. 

To Book your Free One-Time Consultation- Click here


Digital Marketing is more than just blasting a few emails or boosting posts on Facebook. It is all about experimenting with different ideas and channels to achieve your business goals. And the possibilities available are endless.

I hope this guide helped you gain a better view. There’s a lot more to this and it’s a lot of fun to learn and experiment around.

Schedule your Free One-Time Consultation to get started.

What would you like to experiment with? Are there any insights you would like to add? Please let me know in the comments below. 


Show 4 Comments


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *