What Digital Marketing is All About? Definition, Benefits & Channels

Imagine reaching your customers while they’re scrolling through their favorite social media feeds.

Or reading an engaging blog.

Or searching for answers on Google.

This is the power of digital marketing. In today’s digitally-driven world, understanding and leveraging digital marketing is crucial for business success. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive guide to digital marketing, its importance, and how you can use it to elevate your business.

Also, a fun fact, did you know that businesses using digital marketing in their marketing strategies have 2.8x better revenue growth expectancy?

Table of content

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with their current and potential customers.

When digital marketing started?

The term digital marketing was coined in the 1990s, which was also formally known as online marketing.

Since the advent of the internet, digital marketing has evolved rapidly. In the 1990s and early 2000s, email was one of the primary digital marketing tools.

However, with the rise of social media platforms, advanced analytics, and search engines, digital marketing has become more sophisticated, allowing for highly targeted and measurable digital marketing campaigns.

How digital marketing is different from traditional marketing?

Major differences between digital marketing and traditional marketing:

  • Cost efficiency: Digital marketing often requires less budget compared to traditional marketing, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.
  • Measureability: Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing campaigns can be easily tracked and analyzed.
  • Audience reach: Digital marketing can reach a global audience, whereas traditional marketing is often limited to local or regional audiences.
  • Interaction: Digital marketing allows for real-time customer interaction and engagement, which is rarely possible with traditional marketing.

Cost efficiency

Digital marketing is typically more budget-friendly than traditional marketing.

For example, running a social media ad campaign can be significantly cheaper than producing a TV commercial. This cost-effectiveness allows businesses of all sizes, from startups to large corporations, to engage in digital marketing.

Digital marketing platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads also offer flexible budgeting options, enabling businesses to start small and scale up as they see results.


One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is its measurability.

Tools like Google Analytics 4, social media insights, and email marketing software provide detailed metrics on campaign performance. Businesses can track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) in real-time.

This data-driven approach allows for continuous optimization and improvement, ensuring that marketing efforts are effective and efficient.

Audience reach

Digital marketing has the potential to reach a global audience instantly.

Whether through a viral social media post or a well-targeted email campaign, businesses can connect with customers worldwide.

In contrast, traditional marketing methods, such as local TV commercials or print ads in regional newspapers, are typically confined to specific geographic areas.

Digital marketing also allows for highly targeted campaigns, ensuring that marketing messages reach the right audience based on demographics, interests, and online behaviors.


Digital marketing facilitates real-time interaction with customers. 

Platforms like social media, live chat, and email enable businesses to engage with their audience directly and instantly.

This immediate interaction helps in building relationships, resolving customer queries, and gathering feedback, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Traditional marketing, on the other hand, offers limited opportunities for immediate engagement. For instance, a billboard or print ad can’t provide instant responses to customer inquiries.

Examples of digital marketing and traditional marketing

Digital marketing:

  1. Social media ads: advertisements on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, tailored to specific audience segments.
  2. Email newsletter: Regular updates sent to a subscriber list, promoting products, sharing news, or offering special deals.
  3. Search engine optimization (SEO): Strategies to improve a website’s visibility in search engine results, driving organic traffic.
  4. PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Campaigns: Ads on search engines or social media where businesses pay each time their ad is clicked.
  5. Content marketing: Creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage an audience, such as blogs, videos, and infographics.

Traditional marketing:

  1. TV commercials: Advertisements broadcast on television channels, reaching a broad audience.
  2. Radio ads: Promotional messages aired on radio stations.
  3. Print ads: Advertisements in newspapers, magazines, brochures, and flyers.
  4. Billboards: Large outdoor advertising structures placed in high-traffic areas.
  5. Direct mail: Physical marketing materials sent directly to consumers’ mailboxes, such as postcards, catalogs, and letters.

By understanding these key differences and examples, businesses can better strategize their marketing efforts, choosing the methods that best align with their goals, budget, and target audience.

B2B vs B2C digital marketing

Key differences between business-to-business (B2B) digital marketing and business-to-consumer (B2C) digital marketing:

  • Decision-making process: B2B clients have longer decision-making processes and sales funnels. Relationship-building and trust in B2B digital marketing are key.
  • Logic vs emotion: B2B decisions are based on logic and evidence, while B2C decisions are often emotionally driven.
  • Stakeholders: B2B marketing materials need to be shareable and downloadable as decisions usually involve multiple stake holders B2C marketing focuses on one-on-one connections.

Decision-making process

In the business-to-business (B2B) sector, the decision-making process is typically more complex and elongated compared to business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions.

B2B purchases often involve significant investments and are driven by long-term needs and goals.

 This means the sales funnel is extended, requiring thorough research, multiple interactions, and numerous touchpoints before a decision is made.

Relationship-building and trust are paramount; B2B marketers must establish credibility and demonstrate value over time.

For example, a software company selling enterprise solutions may engage potential clients through detailed product demos, case studies, whitepapers, and consultations over several months before closing a deal.

Logic vs emotion

B2B decisions are predominantly based on logic, evidence, and ROI. Business buyers prioritize efficiency, productivity, and financial return, scrutinizing every purchase to ensure it meets their strategic objectives.

Therefore, B2B marketing content often emphasizes data, product features, benefits, and expert opinions.

On the other hand, B2C marketing often appeals to emotions and personal desires.

Consumers are influenced by how a product makes them feel, the lifestyle it promotes, and immediate gratification.

For instance, a fashion brand might leverage aspirational imagery and emotional storytelling to entice consumers to make a purchase, focusing on how their clothes can enhance the consumer’s self-image and confidence.


In B2B transactions, purchasing decisions typically involve multiple stakeholders, such as managers, directors, and procurement teams.

Each stakeholder may have different priorities and concerns, necessitating marketing materials that are comprehensive, shareable, and easily accessible.

B2B marketers often create detailed product guides, comparison charts, and downloadable content that stakeholders can review and share within their organization.

Conversely, B2C marketing usually targets individual consumers or small buying groups. The focus is on creating a direct, personal connection with the consumer.

B2C marketing efforts are designed to engage consumers quickly and effectively, often through visually appealing content, social media interactions, and personalized email offers.

Inbound vs outbound marketing

What is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?

  • Inbound marketing: Attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. Examples include blogs, SEO, and social media.
  • Outbound marketing: Pushes products or services through advertisements, sales calls, and direct mail. It is often seen as more intrusive.

Is digital marketing inbound or outbound marketing?

Digital marketing can be both. It includes inbound strategies like content marketing and SEO, and outbound strategies like display ads and email blasts.

How digital marketing works for different business sizes, types, and industries?

Digital marketing is a multifaceted approach that leverages various online platforms and strategies to connect with target audience, drive engagement, and achieve business objectives.

How digital marketing works for SMEs?

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) typically have limited marketing budgets, so they focus on cost-effective strategies that offer high returns on investment. 

Here are some common digital marketing tactics for SMEs:

  • Social media marketing: SMEs use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to build brand awareness and engage with their audience. For example, a local bakery might post daily updates and photos of freshly baked goods to attract customers.
  • Content marketing: Creating valuable content such as blog posts, infographics, and videos helps SMEs attract and retain customers. Small tech startups might maintain a blog with tips on using their software, providing value to potential customers, and improving their SEO.

How digital marketing works for corporates?

Large corporates have more resources and can implement comprehensive digital marketing strategies that integrate multiple channels and technologies concurrently:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC): Corporates often invest heavily in PPC campaigns on Google Ads and social media platforms to drive immediate traffic. For example, an international clothing brand might run extensive PPC campaigns during the holiday season to boost sales.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Corporates implement SEO strategies to dominate search engine results. This includes technical SEO, content creation, and link-building efforts. A multinational company might optimize its entire website structure and produce regular, high-quality content to maintain top search rankings.
  • Marketing automation: Using tools like HubSpot or Marketo, corporates can automate repetitive marketing tasks, segment audiences, and deliver personalized content at scale. This helps maintain customer engagement and streamline lead nurturing processes.

How digital marketing works for B2B?

B2B companies focus on building relationships and providing valuable information to other businesses:

  • LinkedIn marketing: LinkedIn is a crucial platform for B2B marketing. Companies use it for networking, sharing industry insights, and running targeted ad campaigns. A B2B software provider might share case studies and host webinars on LinkedIn to attract decision-makers.
  • Whitepapers and eBooks: Creating in-depth, downloadable content helps establish authority and generate leads. For instance, an enterprise software company might offer a whitepaper on improving operational efficiency through their solutions.
  • Webinars: Webinars provide an interactive way to educate potential clients and showcase expertise. A B2B consulting firm might host monthly webinars covering industry trends and best practices.

How digital marketing works for B2C?

B2C companies target individual consumers with strategies designed to create immediate engagement and conversions:

  • Social media campaigns: Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are popular B2C marketing. Brands run campaigns that include contests, influencer partnerships, and user-generated content. A fashion retailer might collaborate with influencers to showcase new collections.
  • Influencer marketing: Partnering with influencers allows B2C brands to reach their target audience more authentically. A beauty brand might work with popular beauty bloggers to review and promote their products.
  • Email marketing: Personalized email campaigns keep consumers informed about new products, sales, and promotions. An online store might send weekly newsletters featuring special discounts and product recommendations.

How digital marketing works for local service businesses?

Local businesses focus on reaching nearby customers through tailored digital marketing strategies:

  • Localized ads: Running ads targeting specific geographic areas helps attract local customers. A home repair service might use geo-targeted Google Ads to reach homeowners in their service area.
  • Local SEO: Optimizing for local search results helps businesses appear in local searchers. A dental clinic might optimize its website for keywords like “best dentist near me”.
  • Google My Business: Claiming and optimizing a Google My Business profile ensures the business appears in local map searches and reviews. A local restaurant might use this platform to post updates, respond to reviews, and share photos of their dishes.

How digital marketing works for software companies?

Software companies need to demonstrate their expertise and the value of their products. In order to do that, these are some common digital marketing approaches for software companies:

  • Content marketing: Producing educational content like tutorials, how-to guides, and case studies helps software companies attract and educate potential users. A SaaS company might maintain a blog with articles on how their software can solve specific business problems.
  • SEO: Effective SEO strategies ensure software companies rank well for relevant search terms. This involves optimizing product pages, creating targeted landing pages, and building backlinks.
  • Webinars: Hosting webinars on industry topics and software features helps build authority and generate leads. A cybersecurity film might run webinars on the latest threats and how their software can protect against them.

Benefits of digital marketing for businesses

Digital marketing offers a multitude of advantages that can significantly maximize a business’s reach, efficiency, and overall success.

  1. Broad geographic reach
  2. Cost efficiency
  3. Quantifiable results
  4. Easier personalization
  5. More connection with customers
  6. Easy and convenient conversions

By leveraging these benefits, businesses can effectively enhance their marketing efforts, reach a broader audience, engage customers more personally, and achieve better overall results.

Digital marketing not only levels the playing field for businesses of all sizes but also provides tools and strategies that drive growth and success in today’s competitive market.

Here’s a detailed look at some of the key benefits of digital marketing for businesses:

Broad geographic reach

Digital marketing allows businesses to reach a global audience with minimal effort.

Unlike traditional marketing, which might involve significant logistics and costs to reach international markets, digital marketing breaks down geographical barriers effortlessly.

For example, an online ad campaign can be launched from a single location but seen by users worldwide, expanding the market reach exponentially.

An e-commerce store in New York can easily attract customers from London, Tokyo, and Malaysia through targeted digital marketing ads.

Cost efficiency

Digital marketing strategies are often more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods.

Traditional marketing channels like TV commercials, print ads, and billboards can be prohibitively expensive, especially for small businesses.

Digital marketing, on the other hand, offers affordable alternatives such as social media advertising, email marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

Businesses can save up to 40% of their marketing expenses by shifting to digital marketing. 

This cost efficiency allows companies to achieve better results with a lower budget, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.

Quantifiable results

One other significant benefit of digital marketing is the ability to measure and analyze campaign performance in real time.

Tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and other digital analytics platforms provide comprehensive data on various metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, click-through rates, and user behavior.

This data helps businesses understand what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to fine-tune their strategies for optimal results.

For instance, an online retailer can track which ads drive the most sales and adjust their ad spend accordingly.

Easier personalization

Digital marketing platforms offer unparalleled opportunities for personalization.

Businesses can tailor their messages and offers based on user behavior, demographics, and preferences.

For example, an e-commerce site can use browsing history and past purchases to recommend products to users, making the shopping experience more relevant and personalized.

Email marketing tools allow businesses to send personalized messages to their subscribers, addressing them by name and offering content that matches their interests.

This level of personalization helps in building stronger relationships with customers and increasing engagement and loyalty.

More connection with customers

Digital marketing fosters better customer relationships through various engagement channels.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter enable businesses to interact with customers directly, respond to their queries, and engage in conversations.

Personalized emails can keep customers informed about new products, special offers, and company news, creating a sense of connection and loyalty. Interactive content, such as polls, quizzes, and videos, encourages customer participation and enhances engagement.

These interactions not only help in building a community around the brand but also provide valuable insights into customer needs and preferences.

Easy and convenient conversions

Digital marketing platforms provide a seamless path from marketing to purchase, making conversions easy and convenient.

Unlike traditional marketing, where there might be multiple steps between seeing an ad and making a purchase, digital marketing streamlines the process.

For example, a user can see an ad on social media, click on it, and be directed to a product page where they can make an immediate purchase.

Features like one-click purchasing, online forms, and mobile-friendly designs further simplify the conversion process.

This convenience can significantly improve conversion rates and drive sales.

Types of digital marketing channels

Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of strategies and tactics, each designed to reach and engage with audiences through various online channels. 

  • Website marketing
  • Par-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Influencer marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Mobile marketing

By understanding and utilizing these diverse types of digital marketing, businesses can create comprehensive and effective marketing strategies that cater to their unique goals and target audiences.

Website marketing

Website marketing involves creating and optimizing a website to attract and engage visitors.

A well-designed website serves as the digital hub for a business, providing information about products and services, facilitating e-commerce transactions, and hosting content like blogs, videos, and customer testimonials.

Key aspects of website marketing include user experience (UX) design, responsive design for mobile users, and optimization for search engines (SEO).

For example, an online retailer might focus on creating a seamless shopping experience with easy navigation, fast loading times, and secure checkout processes to convert visitors into customers.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

PPC advertising involves running ads on platforms like Google Ads, Bing Ads, and social media channels where advertisers pay each time their ad is clicked.

This model allows businesses to target specific keywords and demographics, ensuring their ads reach the right audience.

PPC campaigns can drive immediate traffic to a website and are highly measurable, allowing for precise tracking of ad performance.

For instance, a travel agency might use PPC ads to promote holiday packages, targeting users searching for vacation deals.

Content marketing

Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.

This strategy includes blog posts, articles, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, videos, and podcasts.

The goal is to provide useful information that addresses the needs and interests of potential customers, ultimately driving profitable customer actions.

For example, a health and wellness brand might maintain a blog with tips on healthy living, exercise routines, and nutritious recipes to engage and educate its audience.

Email marketing

Email marketing involves sending targeted emails to nurture leads and convert them into customers.

This strategy includes newsletters, promotional campaigns, and personalized messages.

Email marketing is highly effective for maintaining customer relationships and encouraging repeat business.

Automated email sequences can guide potential customers through the sales funnel, from awareness to purchase.

For instance, an online clothing store might send personalized recommendations and exclusive discounts to subscribers based on their past purchases and browsing behavior.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing uses platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to promote products, engage with audiences, and build brand awareness.

This strategy includes organic posts, paid ads, and influencer collaborations. Social media allows businesses to interact directly with customers, respond to their queries, and gather feedback.

For example, a cosmetics brand might run Instagram contests and collaborate with beauty influencers to showcase their products and reach a wider audience.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing involves partnering with other businesses or influencers to promote products and share revenue.

Affiliates earn a commission for driving traffic or sales to the business’s website through their marketing efforts.

This performance-based strategy extends the reach of a brand and leverages the credibility of affiliates.

For instance, an online electronics store might partner with tech bloggers who review and recommend their products to their followers.

Video marketing

Video marketing uses videos to engage and inform audiences.

This strategy includes product demonstrations, tutorials, customer testimonials, and live streams.

Video content is highly engaging and can be shared across multiple platforms, including YouTube, social media, and a business’s website.

For example, a software company might create tutorial videos showing how to use their product, helping potential customers understand its features and benefits.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO involves optimizing website content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

This strategy includes on-page optimization (keyword usage, meta tags, and content quality), off-page optimization (backlinks and social signals), and technical SEO (site speed, mobile-friendliness, and crawlability).

Effective SEO increases organic traffic and improves the visibility of a website.

For example, a local restaurant might optimize its website for keywords like “best Italian restaurant in [city]” to attract more diners searching for dining options online.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing involves collaborating with influencers who have large, engaged followings on social media or other online platforms.

Influencers promote the business’s products or services to their audience, leveraging their credibility and reach.

This strategy is effective for building brand awareness and driving sales.

For instance, a fitness brand might partner with popular fitness influencers to showcase their apparel and supplements, reaching health-conscious consumers.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation uses software tools to automate repetitive marketing tasks such as email campaigns, social media posting, and lead nurturing.

This strategy allows businesses to deliver personalized content at scale and improve efficiency.

Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, and Mailchimp help segment audiences, track customer interactions, and measure campaign performance.

For example, an e-commerce site might use automation to send personalized follow-up emails to customers who abandoned their shopping carts.

Mobile marketing

Mobile marketing reaches customers through mobile devices via SMS, apps, and mobile-friendly websites.

This strategy includes mobile advertising, push notifications, and in-app messaging.

Given the growing use of smartphones, mobile marketing ensures that businesses connect with customers on the go.

For example, a coffee shop might use a mobile app to send push notifications about daily specials and loyalty rewards, encouraging customers to visit the store.

How to do digital marketing

1. Define your goals

Begin by identifying what you want to achieve with your digital marketing efforts.

Common goals include:

  • Brand awareness: Increasing the visibility of your brand.
  • Lead generation: Attracting potential customers who are interested in your products or services.
  • Sales: Converting leads into paying customers.

Having clear goals helps in creating focused and effective marketing strategies.

2. Identify your target audience

Understand who your customers are, their needs, preferences, and online behavior.

This involves creating buyer personas, which are detailed profiles representing segments of your target audience.

For example, if you’re a fitness brand, your personas might include young professionals looking for quick workout solutions and seniors interested in low-impact exercises.

3. Set a budget for each digital channel

Allocate resources based on where your audience spends their time and which channels are most effective for reaching them.

For instance, if your target audience is primarily on Instagram and Facebook, you might allocate a larger portion of your budget to social media marketing.

4. Select your digital marketing channels

Choose the channels that best fit your goals and audience.

Key digital marketing channels include:

  • Social media: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  • Email marketing: Sending targeted email campaigns.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Improving your website’s visibility on search engines.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: Running ads on platforms like Google Ads.
  • Content marketing: Creating valuable content to attract and engage your audience.

5. Optimize your digital marketing assets for mobile

Ensure your website and all digital content are mobile-friendly.

With over 50% of global web traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s crucial to provide a seamless mobile experience

6. Refine your marketing efforts

Continuously analyze and tweak your strategies based on performance data.

Use analytics tools to track metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, and social media engagement.

For example, if you notice that your email campaigns have a low open rate, you might test different subject lines or sending times to improve performance.

What is a digital marketing agency?

A digital marketing agency specializes in creating and executing online marketing strategies to help businesses achieve their goals.

Using Pillars Media as an example, Pillars Media is a digital marketing agency that offers services such as:

  • Web Design: Creating user-friendly, visually appealing websites.
  • Google ads management: Running and optimizing PPC campaigns.
  • SEO: Improving website visibility and rankings on search engines.
  • Digital marketing consultation: Providing expert advice and strategy development.

How can a digital marketing agency help?

Digital marketing agencies like Pillars Media can help with:

  • Develop and implement strategies: Craft effective digital marketing strategies tailored to your business goals.
  • Provide expertise: Bring in-depth knowledge and skills in various digital marketing disciplines.
  • Save time: Manage your marketing efforts, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
  • Deliver measurable results: Use data analysis to track performance and continuously improve your marketing campaigns.

By leveraging the expertise and resources of a digital marketing agency, businesses can enhance their online presence, reach their target audience more effectively, and achieve better overall results.


Digital marketing is a dynamic and essential tool for businesses to reach their audience and achieve their goals.

By understanding its facets and leveraging its power, businesses can enjoy increased visibility, better engagement, and higher conversions.

Ready to maximize your sales and improve your digital marketing game?

Contact us to get started today!