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What is Digital Marketing?

I started a new job recently as lecturer in Digital Media / Marketing at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, and one of the questions I'm aiming to solve is, What is Digital Marketing ?

What is Digital Marketing search queryBy that I mean - how do we bring digital into the discipline of Marketing, without alienating traditional Marketing theory and strategy? Is digital the shiny new kid on the block, or essentially the same thing, just a million times faster and - finally - MEASURABLE?

When you type What is Digital Marketing into google, you get a variety of results - on the left a screengrab from a clean-ish Internet Explorer, logged out. Not that it helps much - I don't agree with, for example, the Wikipedia definition of DM that positions it as the promotion of brands using digital advertising.

Instead, I propose to equate digital marketing with inbound marketing - i.e. all the good, free stuff that really puts the customer first. A definition and philosophy that deeply understands the sexiness and appeal of pull marketing (attracting customers to come to you) as opposed to push marketing AKA shouty advertising. Unfortunately, the latter is still very much going on even though it's expensive and consumers don't trust it i.e. it doesn't even work that well, and getting less effective every year (see e.g. Nielsen 2012, Forrester 2013)!

Below is my attempt (slide 1 of 16!) at answering the question, What is Digital Marketing. It's actually only a starting point just now, but over the next few months I'll be developing more theory and especially practice, together with some colleagues @RGU. I'll be sharing more in due course - it's going to be an exciting journey! Coming to a lecture theatre near you (if you're a RGU student, that is...) real soon 🙂

Digital Marketing Definition


PS: OK. This post is also doing a bit of Digital Marketing itself. I'm attempting to benefit from long-tail, conversational search behaviour and trends (i.e. people who may be typing in or using voice to ask Google the actual question, What is Digital Marketing). Call it a test if you like 🙂


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