The online world moves fast. Digital marketing as a whole has been around in one form or another for almost 20 years, since the dawn of the commercial internet; it’s not new. But technology and culture continue to change so rapidly that “Internet Marketing” means something new about every 18 months. If you’re not deeply involved in our industry you probably feel like it’s all brand new, all the time. As we’ve written previously, marketers know they must reinvent themselves in order to adapt to the ever-changing marketing landscape.

As former professional Internet marketers, we’ve spend a lot of time educating clients. Radio marketers, for example, don’t face the same challenge. Radio marketing has been around for generations. We all understand what it does and how it works, even if we don’t fully understand the technology behind it.

Even as we venture into 2015, there are still many companies who view digital marketing as something new and risky. Rather than working on integrated cross-channel marketing campaigns, opportunities are left on the table because they still view digital marketing as an alternative to traditional marketing, not as a complement. Or, they think of the Internet as a threat to their business because they don’t fully “get it,” which leaves their competitors to leapfrog them and own the vast online space uncontested.

Digital marketing has inherent advantages over traditional media marketing. Here are the major ones to consider if you are taking the first step into the world of digital marketing, or trying to work more digital strategies into your overall marketing effort.

Digital Marketing Is Cost-Effective

Digital marketing can be more cost-effective than traditional tactics for several reasons. First, it’s not as resource-intensive as other forms of media. We don’t have to print a magazine and ship it, or rent a blimp, or wrap a streetcar in custom vinyl artwork. I’m not saying that other types of advertising don’t have a place – they most certainly do. But on a cost per impression basis, it’s hard to match the cost effectiveness of good digital marketing that is timely, on-brand and targeted properly. Which brings me to the second point…

Digital Marketing Offers Very Accurate Targeting

Using today’s popular digital advertising platforms, the degree to which ads can be targeted is staggering. We don’t have to advertise to an entire city or region at once the way TV and radio require. We can target ads to a specific group with digital advertising, based on physical location (even a 1km radius!), the device a person is using (iPhones only, or laptops), certain times of day, days of the week, age, gender, interests, job titles, and more. Much more.

All this targeting capability means that we only have to pay to reach the right people at the right time, and we can be selective about who we target in much more powerful ways than traditional media channels can possibly allow.

Digital Marketing Comes With Data

As we touched on in a previous post, digital marketing allows us to collect a wealth of data on who we are reaching and how these people are reacting to our messages. There are many forms of traditional advertising that also allow data to be collected, such as coupon redemption, or using different phone numbers in different ads to track which print ads are working and where. But digital advertising comes with a flood of data that is infinitely more detailed.

The challenge with digital marketing data is how to catalogue this data properly, and how to use it to your advantage. It has never been easier for companies to understand the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, but most brands and agencies are only starting to adopt the tools and processes necessary for driving real Data Marketing Intelligence (link to DMI post) from their digital campaigns.

Traditional marketing isn’t about to disappear anytime soon because, well, it’s traditional. That being said, marketing budgets have been steadily migrating to the digital side, and Qoints is on the forefront of that revolution. Over the next several weeks, we will be delving deeper into setting your digital campaigns up to perform optimally. Be sure to review the blog posts linked in this article, and the others available in the Blog section of the Qoints website for more advice.