Those of you familiar with my personal history know that I have a strong background in, and affinity for, digital marketing. Now that my bias is fully disclosed, I’m going to tell you what most traditional ad agencies will not…that the digital medium is far and away the most powerful, cost effective and measurable form of media available today. Advertising and MarComm budgets can no longer focus solely on traditional communications mediums; rather budgets must be spread across a broader spectrum inclusive of digital mediums.
Digital content is diverse. Like print advertising and direct mail, the content of the Internet is largely based on the written word. As with printed media, much of Internet related media relies on graphic images to support marketing messages. However, unlike print and direct mail, the Web enables moving graphics and sound to be conveyed to the prospect or customer. In that respect, it is more like radio or television and like the telephone, the Web can enable one-to-one, interactive communication with e-mail, instant messaging and voice. Yet, unlike any direct response medium, the Web can present the customer with a virtually unlimited amount of marketing information in multimedia format.
Print advertising is delivered through magazines and newspapers. Direct mail is delivered via the U.S. Postal Service or another delivery service. Radio and television are delivered via airwaves through passive listener or view devices. Telemarketing is delivered over telephone lines. Only the Internet is delivered directly via a computer. This is perhaps the most intriguing part of Digital Marketing and one of the primary differentiating factors that sets this medium apart from any other. Unlike any other medium, the computer delivers Internet based content in nonlinear information format. All other mediums are linear, meaning they have a beginning, middle, and end.
Digital Marketing is direct marketing at its most developed potential. It is the logical extension of a measurability mentality that is already inbred in business-to-business marketers. They recognize the importance of the brand, and they understand the need for awareness, but they also know that marketing must go well beyond brand image and awareness advertising. They need marketing that produces results.
As a marketing medium, the digital media has become the easiest, most cost-effective route to global marketing. The stunning cost implications of Digital Marketing in part, fuel the Internet’s unprecedented growth. The Internet is not only cost-effective; it is downright cheap in comparison to other media. It is often estimated that Digital Marketing is 60 to 65 percent cheaper than traditional direct mail marketing.
Used effectively, digital media can deliver personalized content to each and every customer, or even automatically to another computer desktop via push technologies. As a result, a marketer can initiate a one-to-one relationship via e-mail and the Web with a prospect, customer or business partner. The marketer can also learn from that relationship via database marketing and grow the relationship over time.
A marketer can build and host a Website and reach a worldwide audience at a cost that is far less than the cost of one national television commercial. E-communication has a whole different cost structure from traditional print, direct mail, telemarketing or television media. There are no media placement costs associated with launching a corporate Website or employing e-mail as a marketing medium. You may have to rent e-mail addresses, but you do not have to engage printers or mail houses, or pay postage when you disseminate e-mail. There are no hotel, travel or on-site materials costs for Webinars and other virtual events. There are no printing and mailing costs for e-fulfillment. Even order fulfillment is cheaper with the Internet, especially if electronic catalogs are used to replace traditional paper catalogs.
Research indicates that Digital Marketing represents a threefold cost-savings over traditional direct marketing. Moreover, Digital Marketing can bring up to 10 times the return of a traditional direct marketing campaign. The areas in which you will achieve the largest amount of savings are likely to be: fulfillment, delivery, the medium used and the analysis of campaign metrics.
Digital media turns traditional media cost structures upside down. With Digital Marketing, there is nothing to print and mail, there are no advertising materials to reproduce, no telemarketing calls to handle. Websites can reach one, a hundred, a thousand, or millions of prospects or customers for about the same cost. With the proper in-house tools, e-mail can be widely distributed without unit cost implications, unlike direct mail, and at least so far, the Internet is a tax-free commerce zone.
The question is not whether Digital Marketing works, or is Digital Marketing here to stay, but rather how can a business leverage an integrated Digital Marketing strategy that will service their needs both now and into the future. So next time your ad agency is getting ready to pitch, make sure that they include a sizeable allocation for digital media.