Marketing and Digital Marketing: How They Help Grow Your Brand

Marketing plays a crucial role in promoting business growth in the digital realm through several key strategies and techniques. Digital marketing isn’t quite the same as marketing, as marketing involves other aspects that we don’t think about when we plan digital marketing campaigns. However, marketing and digital marketing work synergistically to provide many advantages over using digital marketing without the background provided by marketing concepts. In today’s post, we’ll discuss how you can incorporate more aspects of marketing into your digital marketing to help you grow your brand.

marketing and digital marketing

What is marketing?

According to the AMA (the marketing one), marketing is:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

This may not mesh with your perception of marketing, and you’ll certainly find other “experts” with very different notions of what marketing is. This definition, adopted in 2017 in consultation with marketing practitioners and academics, represents a consensus of thousands of working professionals and the history of marketing. Note that the core concept of marketing, the marketing mix (sometimes called the 4 Ps), figures prominently in the definition. Also, note the prominence of value for all stakeholders in this definition to reflect the idea that companies are (or should be) good corporate citizens rather than robber barons who rape the countryside.

marketing mix
Copyright: Stuart photo / 123RF Stock Photo

If you took a marketing class in school, this definition likely sounds familiar as it reflects the history of marketing (which is less than 100 years). Although various iterations over time varied, the core concept of marketing hasn’t changed all that much. Neither has the marketing mix, despite efforts to express the mix with more than these 4 core elements.

A big difference between marketing and digital marketing is the emphasis on environmental scanning and analysis in developing plans. While analytics is a big part of digital marketing because of the data-rich environment in which it exists, little emphasis is placed on scanning the environment to detect patterns and adapt strategies ahead of observable changes. Even monitoring competitors’ actions, which is much easier in a digital world, doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. Only the concept of developing market personas is better in the digital world than before everyone was online since personas are much richer and more valuable than the relatively anemic concept of target markets developed in marketing.

What is digital marketing?

You might think that digital marketing is simply marketing done on digital platforms such as search engines, social media, and email. But you’d be wrong. First, digital marketing doesn’t consider most aspects of marketing. While online marketing might easily include the same four elements included in the marketing mix, digital marketing is primarily viewed only for its promotional impact. That’s a shame since online communication between users offers valuable insights if only savvy marketers were able to use them. For instance, unmet needs offer the best, most valuable insights to aid new product development. The Chrysler minivan, which was the most successful new model in decades, was based on this type of insight (albeit after expensive market research).

Every day users post images of the workarounds they developed to solve a problem when a commercial product wasn’t available or complained about something they wanted but couldn’t find commercially. This is rich information companies could use to develop new products with less risk than anything coming out of their R&D or engineering departments.

Speaking of UGC (user-generated content), this is a rich source of information about your competition. If you monitor what your competitors do that gains valuable outcomes such as engagement on social media, you gain insights you can use to develop your own campaign strategies. By monitoring prices on their e-commerce sites as well as other ways they do business, such as payment and delivery options, you can adjust your own marketing efforts to compete on a better footing. Unfortunately, too few companies take advantage of the wealth of competitive information available online. The same goes for monitoring other aspects of the external environment so you have strategies adapted to take advantage of changes rather than struggling to catch up later. Below are the five elements of the external environment.

external environmental factors
Image courtesy of Open Libraries

Combining marketing and digital marketing

Of course, most of your customers and prospects are now more easily reached online than through traditional media. And, the vast differences between digital and traditional media require specialists in new media. This need for specialization led many companies to hire younger workers under the misguided notion that young people inherently know digital marketing as they’re digital natives. Or, companies turned over digital marketing to technology folks with no understanding of marketing. By the same token, using marketers to manage your campaigns is a huge mistake as they know nothing about SEO (search engine optimization), algorithms, and other technical aspects of digital marketing (of course, neither do the young workers you hire to manage your online campaigns). Both are mistakes, as the true value comes when you combine marketing and digital marketing seamlessly.

A new breed of marketers is emerging based on the fact that companies need marketing and digital marketing to work together. AMA is offering online certificates to retrain marketers in digital marketing concepts and more schools offer certificates or even degrees that require students to take classes in marketing to gain knowledge in core marketing principles as well as training in how to adapt those principles in a digital environment including technical knowledge and experience in running digital marketing campaigns that includes:

  1. SEO
  2. website design
  3. user-experience
  4. mobile marketing
  5. email marketing
  6. content marketing
  7. digital advertising
  8. digital analytics
  9. lead generation and conversion optimization

Adapting your marketing and digital marketing to work together

Market research

The digital environment is the best gift ever if you want to learn what your target market looks like, how they think, how they make decisions, what they want, and more. It’s like being invited to sit around the dinner table of thousands of folks who are interested in your products. All you have to do is listen. I have a colleague who worked for Microsoft when they first introduced the Surface tablet. He spent days immediately following the product launch listening to everything folks said about the computer on social media. Within days, he developed a list of things for the engineers to fix before introducing the next version. Thus, they were ahead of any competitor trying to match the device because they were ready to introduce the next version while the competition was still getting ready to launch version one.  That’s why the Surface is where it is today.

the power of SEOTargeted advertising

Digital marketing allows for highly targeted advertising based on demographics, interests, behavior, and even location. Digital marketing tools and analytics platforms offer deep insights into customer behavior and preferences that aid in targeting the right audience for advertising. This information allows businesses to tailor their offerings and marketing messages to meet the needs and desires of their target audience. Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads enable businesses to reach specific segments of the market, leading to more efficient and effective marketing efforts. Of course, that means you need to combine marketing and digital marketing by continually scanning the culture to understand who to target with your advertising.

It also means you can use marketing concepts such as A/B testing to determine which target markets perform best in terms of clicks and track ads throughout the conversion process to see which ads convert the most. Digital marketing provides a wealth of data that brands can analyze to make informed decisions, making this type of advertising more effective. By tracking metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, and engagement statistics, businesses can optimize their marketing strategies for better results. Brands can then use insights gleaned through targeted advertising to inform offline advertising and marketing efforts.

Engagement with customers

Word-of-mouth advertising has always been among the most effective tools in the marketer’s toolbox, with 92% of consumers preferring this to brand advertising. Through social media, email marketing, and content marketing, businesses can engage directly with their customers, just like in the proverbial country store, to generate user-to-user content that motivates buyers. This engagement helps build a loyal customer base, foster community, and enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

Content marketing

In a world before digital, brands had trouble connecting with consumers to answer their questions and help them make buying decisions. By creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, businesses can now answer these questions through blogs and videos so customers feel more confident they made the right decision when buying a brand. Chatbots live on a brand’s website to answer questions or deal with concerns both pre-and post-purchase to reduce dissatisfaction and returns.

Content marketing is also a significant factor in SEO, helping attract and retain a clearly defined audience. It is not only cost-effective but also helps establish authority and trust in the market.

E-commerce Integration: For businesses selling products or services online, digital marketing is integral to driving e-commerce sales. Through SEO, PPC, email marketing, and social media campaigns, businesses can direct traffic to their online stores and increase sales.

Scalability and Flexibility: Digital marketing campaigns can be scaled up or down with relative ease, allowing businesses to adjust their marketing spend based on performance and budget. This flexibility is crucial for growth, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Global reach

The digital landscape transcends geographic boundaries, enabling businesses to reach a global audience. This opens up new markets and opportunities for growth that were previously inaccessible without expensive export arrangements or other ways businesses traditionally engaged in global commerce in a pre-digital world. Using international SEO, brands can use tools of traditional marketing to adapt their message to different cultures.

international marketing
Image courtesy of Blue Steps

Competitive advantage

By adopting the latest digital marketing strategies and technologies, businesses can gain a competitive edge in their industry. This includes leveraging AI and machine learning for personalized marketing, using chatbots for customer service, and exploring emerging platforms for advertising.


Marketing and digital marketing are an essential component of business growth strategies in the modern marketplace. They not only enhance visibility and customer engagement but also provide valuable insights, allow for targeted advertising, and facilitate direct sales through e-commerce channels. Used in combination, marketing and digital marketing offer flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness to make them a powerful tool for businesses looking to grow and succeed in the digital age.

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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.