To help explain the scope and approaches used for digital marketing working with the IDM in 2005 I developed a more (too?) detailed definition than the simple one at the start of this post to better scope it and show how digital marketing needs to be closely aligned to broader marketing objectives and activities and involves much more than SEO and inbound marketing. So this is the original definition from 2005 - how should it change now?

Today, perhaps the bigger question is whether digital marketing is a necessary term concept since some commentators have stated that we're now in a post-digital era with 'almost all' marketing now being digital now digital media and technology have become so pervasive. My view on this, explained in the post above is that we do very much need digital marketing, since many businesses still undergoing digital transformation and recruiting the digital marketing jobs and roles needed to compete. The trend in search volume also suggests there are more people searching for digital marketing than ever before, albeit with a drop before Christmas.
Email marketing is now a very popular offshoot of direct mail marketing (See also Email Marketing). However, it’s worth bearing in mind that 37 states now have laws regarding “spam,” or unwanted junk email. Therefore, companies that wish to maintain a positive reputation use an “opt-in” policy for marketing email, targeting only interested customers.
Unlike online content, direct mail cannot be ignored. A catalog sits in someone’s inbox, earning attention whether the person buys a product because of the content or throws the mailer in the trash. “It’s worth it to put the time and energy in because you get to sell one-on-one to the prospect with very few distractions,” Simpson says. “That’s why I love direct mail.”
Scott Heimes serves as Chief Marketing Officer at SendGrid, where he is responsible for the company's brand strategy, driving demand for its solutions and leading global marketing operations. Scott oversees corporate marketing, demand generation, corporate communications, partnerships and alliances, international expansion and SendGrid’s community development team.

The effort you put into building your email list is one of the best investments you can make online. Having access to the inboxes of targeted prospects means you can continue to build and nurture relationships over time, and become a trusted source of valuable industry knowledge. Then, when it’s time for your prospects to buy, you’ll be the first one who comes to mind.

The huge advantage of email over social media is that prospects and customers are more likely to see an email than social media. Just posting something doesn't mean that everyone you want to see your message will see it. Your post might not even show up in your targets' social media streams. However, an email will sit in the inbox until it's read (or deleted). 

Does the difference in these terms and their definitions matter? No, of course not, it's semantics! But it is interesting to see how the scope of Internet marketing vs Digital marketing has changed over time. In my books, when discussing alternative definitions, I explain that, no it doesn't really matter, but the scope and responsibility is important to make the most of managing the opportunities. So the scope of digital marketing activities should be agreed within a business and/or between a company and its agencies. The biggest difference is whether digital marketing is simply seen as about communications (online marketing) or whether it is broader, looking at underpinning marketing technology and options for new online business and revenue models.


Nathan, it’s a great write up,no doubt about that.But I would be more willing to learn or see your progresssion from none to an established brand. For example, you said you had worked with affiliates. But it’s not easy for a new brand to work with top affiliates. So what you did to build relationships with them? Lastly, time frame and monetary costs can be discussed as well 🙂
He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations. 

Internet service providers (GMail, Yahoo, etc.) and anti-spam organizations create the spam traps to prevent spam from reaching people’s inboxes. The important thing for everyone to remember is if you use a purchased list, you are technically spamming the people on that list. Spam is unsolicited email and those people did not request your information.

Alternatively, ad space may be offered for sale in a bidding market using an ad exchange and real-time bidding. This involves many parties interacting automatically in real time. In response to a request from the user's browser, the publisher content server sends the web page content to the user's browser over the Internet. The page does not yet contain ads, but contains links which cause the user's browser to connect to the publisher ad server to request that the spaces left for ads be filled in with ads. Information identifying the user, such as cookies and the page being viewed, is transmitted to the publisher ad server.


Digital marketing methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing,[6] e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games are becoming more common in our advancing technology. In fact, digital marketing now extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones.[7] In essence, this extension to non-Internet channels helps to differentiate digital marketing from online marketing, another catch-all term for the marketing methods mentioned above, which strictly occur online.

Thank you for the above piece the makes it easy for new entrants like to me understand Direct Marketing better. I am the owner of a Custom made Bespoke Suiting Company that makes suits, trousers, jackets, skirts, blouses and shirts for men and women. I have tried digital media advertising but haven’t had any luck. I am a start-up business and running on very tight budget so would like to start with a small but affluent neighbourhood with small population. I am thinking of targeting Westlake Village which is on the Western Edge of LA County and has a population of around 9000 with nearly 3000 households. What should be my approach and how may households should I target keeping in mind budgetary constraints.


Knowing about your best customers is a key factor in targeted direct marketing. Knowing the customers' basic demographics, such as males 18 to 34 or females with children, is a start. However, a more complete understanding of your customer's profile like their shopping and purchasing behavior in other categories; their attitudes toward trends, products, marketing and media; or their lifestyle habits can help you become even more effective in both your lead selection and the messages you'll use in communicating with the leads.
An electronic mailing list or email list is a special use of email that allows for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users. It is similar to a traditional mailing list – a list of names and addresses – as might be kept by an organization for sending publications to its members or customers, but typically refers to four things:
Promotional emails are one of the most economical ways for any business to connect with customers. Research shows a message is five times more likely to be seen through email than on social media like Facebook or Twitter. That’s why musicians use email marketing software to share their performance schedule with their fans, non-profits use it to get donations and photographers use it to promote their portrait services. It just works.
Marketing emails need to be personalized to the reader and filled with interesting graphics. Few people want to read emails that are addressed "Dear Sir/Madam" -- as opposed to their first or last name -- and even fewer people want to read an email that simply gives them a wall of text. Visuals help your recipients quickly understand what the point of the email is.

The first part of the definition illustrates the range of access platforms and communications tools that form the online channels which e-marketers use to build and develop relationships with customers. The access platforms or hardware include PCs, mobile phones and interactive digital TV (IPTV) and these deliver content and enable interaction through different online communication tools such as organisation web sites, portals, search engines, blogs , e-mail, instant messaging and text messaging. Some also include traditional voice telephone as part of digital marketing.
The huge advantage of email over social media is that prospects and customers are more likely to see an email than social media. Just posting something doesn't mean that everyone you want to see your message will see it. Your post might not even show up in your targets' social media streams. However, an email will sit in the inbox until it's read (or deleted). 

The first known large-scale non-commercial spam message was sent on 18 January 1994 by an Andrews University system administrator, by cross-posting a religious message to all USENET newsgroups.[12] In January 1994 Mark Eberra started the first email marketing company for opt in email list under the domain Insideconnect.com. He also started the Direct Email Marketing Association to help stop unwanted email and prevent spam. [13] [14]
Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a charity: water project, her money takes a long journey. Most charities don't tell you about that journey at all -- charity: water uses automated emails to show donors how their money is making an impact over time. With the project timeline and accompanying table, you don't even really need to read the email -- you know immediately where you are in the whole process so you can move onto other things in your inbox.
However, there is some juice when you buy emails list. If you buy 100,000emails and 85,000 happens to bounce it means you have a conversion rate of 15%. This is quite significant and why should I not buy if 15,000 are going to be good? How long does it take to have 15,000 people subscribe to ones list? If one is able to maintain and convert this 15,000 to become part of a sign up list, then can we not see that buying email lists could be a gold mine?
The first is just common sense. Do you really think that hundreds of random people will be interested in what you are promoting? Probably not. Most will instantly delete the email, unsubscribe, or mark your email as spam. Plus, if you buy the list from a company that gathered the names in less-than-ethical ways, you risk being labeled a spammer. And if that happens, having a small database is the least of your worries.
As advertisers collect data across multiple external websites about a user's online activity, they can create a detailed profile of the user's interests to deliver even more targeted advertising. This aggregation of data is called behavioral targeting.[26] Advertisers can also target their audience by using contextual to deliver display ads related to the content of the web page where the ads appear.[19]:118 Retargeting, behavioral targeting, and contextual advertising all are designed to increase an advertiser's return on investment, or ROI, over untargeted ads.[27]
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