Why All Marketing Is Digital Marketing

In homage to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential run, we are all digital marketers now. We are also all marketers in a digital era, which makes me want to use the word digital less. What, are you crazy, Paul? Your company’s website has that phrase all over it.

Maybe I am, but hear me out.

Just as my colleague Bill Balderaz likes to say “Every patient is a digital patient,” I am proclaiming today that all marketing is digital marketing. And it’s OK that Fathom’s website talks about digital marketing, because that is how people who need marketing help (i.e., our customers) talk about it: In fact, it’s a pretty popular term that has seen a steady rise in its relative popularity since 2009.

digital marketing

For another argument in favor of digital (or just plain marketing) universality, consider why people optimize websites these days (namely, 336 B2B & B2C marketers):

1. Increase lead generation (60%).
2. Increase traffic volume (50%).
3. Increase visitor engagement (42%).
4. Increase sales transactions (35%).

Ironically, all 4 of these top items on the recent list produced by Ascend2 would not look out of place on a list produced by a marketer in the pre-Internet era, say 1913. The point being that if a marketer in the Wanamaker period said she wanted to increase lead generation, traffic volume, visitor engagement and sales transactions, you would nod up and down and think, “I get that.” You don’t have to be in the digital world to have the above marketing goals. Just substitute the word “store” or “business” for the implied website traffic and visitor engagement above.

Even without a website
Wait, you don’t have a website, so only plain old-fashioned marketing applies to you? OK, if you’re one of the select few businesses that are doing great without a dedicated website, you still have online profiles you probably need to claim (Google+, Yelp, Yahoo Local Listings …). These digital profiles often contain erroneous and potentially misleading information. If you don’t update them, then you run the risk of alienating or losing potential customers who think you’re closed on Saturdays despite the fact you’ve kept regular Saturday hours for decades.

And that’s just one reason why the business without a website still needs to be digitally literate. Here’s another: Your customers are on the Internet. All the time.

All marketing is digital marketing
Again, all marketing is digital marketing. Paradoxically, it is also beyond digital. And to mess with your head even further, you can’t escape the digital realm even if you don’t have a company website. So, embrace the current incarnation of marketing in all its richness. Your business (and customers) will thank you.

Paul Richlovsky

About Paul Richlovsky

Paul brings a writing and teaching background to his decade-long marketing career. He advises clients on content strategy and editorial direction. He is an enthusiastic marketing automation practitioner and active member of the Cleveland Marketo User Group. He has written/edited multiple marketing guides, including those aimed at healthcare, higher education, financial services, B2C brands and manufacturing audiences. With a BA in English from the College of Wooster, he is also the author of a collection of poetry, "Under the Lunar Neon."He is particularly interested in usability, digital governance, ballroom dancing, bachata, racquet sports, and romping with his niece and nephews.

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