Regardless of where you are in the United States right now, if you are an entrepreneur, you must have heard of digital marketing by now. Back in 2006, it was hailed to be the next big thing in the realm of Marketing; however, now, it’s more or less a necessity for B2C* and even for some B2B* businesses to survive. In fact, a lot of brands nowadays allocate a higher share of their marketing budget towards digital marketing as compared to traditional marketing strategies- the good old expensive big banners, billboards, posters, flyers and television ads!
As of 2016, it is estimated that there are a staggering 290 million internet users in the United States, that’s nearly 90% of the whole population. So it’s a safe bet to say that every 9 out of your 10 customers are going online for different purposes. PwC estimated in a 2016 survey that 54 percent of all customers go online to buy products on a weekly basis. So even if you have a poster in the busiest street in the city or a shop in a commercial hotspot, you are still not going to reach nearly as much people as you could have done with an ad online, for a fraction of the cost!
The graph demonstrates the variation of the number of internet users in the US over the years. Source: Statista.com
The sheer number of consumers with an online footprint is the reason why most brands are pursuing digital marketing nowadays. So, let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about, let’s find out what digital marketing actually is.
What is Digital Marketing
Well, essentially digital marketing is an umbrella term which unifies all sorts of online marketing strategies such as Social Media Marketing, Pay per Click Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (Although it can be considered as an entirely different field), Search Engine Marketing, Content Marketing, etc. Digital marketing is used by both B2B (Primarily for lead generation) and B2C brands (Primarily for customer acquisition and customer retention). Digital marketing is one of the most prominent forms of marketing at the moment. As of 2017, the market value for digital marketing stands at $37.48 billion which is expected to surpass $75 billion by 2022.
Digital marketing is a constantly growing field and it increases with the increase of digital media devices and forms. Back in the early 2000s, when it was still a growing field, only the leading brands invested in digital marketing, but nowadays even the local mom and pop store has a digital marketing budget.
Why Should You Opt for Digital Marketing over Traditional Marketing
This is one of the most common questions that entrepreneurs ask while deciding to pursue online marketing and well, there are plenty of reasons for this:
• High Reach:
The 21st century US internet penetration has been so deep and diverse that there are internet users in almost all the demographics. Consequentially, businesses in almost all sectors will be able to find a high online user presence within their demographics.
• Staggeringly High Returns on Very Low Investments:
Another reason 21st century entrepreneurs opt for digital marketing is that of the high amount of people it can reach with very low investment. There are certain forms of digital marketing which practically cost nothing and offer very high returns. Most B2C businesses run customer acquisition and customer retention campaigns simultaneously via digital marketing because it costs so low and yields so high.
• Audience Targeting Features:
You can put up a billboard on a busy street and pay millions over years, but can you control who sees the billboard? Do you have any control over who views the newspaper ads that you just published? No. That’s where digital marketing comes in, with many forms of online marketing, you can control who sees your ad and who doesn’t and you can do that over plenty of demographics: age, gender, interests, preferences, language, etc.
• It’s much more Interactive:
This is another great bit about online marketing, your audience can interact with your ads, they can even place orders for products or request for services instantly if they see your ads. B2B businesses often employ online marketing strategies for lead generation because it works like a charm since they can not only reach out to their target audience base, but their target audience base can use their ads to reach them with a few clicks.
Traditional marketing forms are linear- meaning that it’s a one directional form of communication but with digital marketing, its two directional, consumers can communicate with you via your ads. This can help in both customer acquisition and customer retention.
• Market Analytics:
No traditional marketing reports are concrete; traditional marketing often acts upon prediction. For example: The foot traffic at Wall Street is mostly businessmen, but traditional marketing firms can’t say for certain, the percentage of businessmen who uses Wall Street, the ratio of male to female businessmen, etc. That’s where the digital parameter thrives, everything’s about data in the digital scene, so you will have all kinds of market analytics to base your advertisements on.