What is ‘digital marketing’?

It’s no secret that the digital environment has become such a prominent aspect of our world. Whether older generations diss it or not, adapting to the new marketing arena is important in order to keep up. #Millennial

What exactly is ‘digital marketing’, though? How do we use it? How many times can I say the word ‘digital’? 🤔

If I’m going to define ‘digital marketing’, let’s head back to the foundation of marketing.

Generally speaking, marketing is the link made between a product or service and a brand’s targeted customers (Lee, 2013). It’s not really about selling per se (although this is part of it); it’s more about a) identifying the right target audience, b) recognising their needs, and c) working out how that product or service can accommodate to those needs (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019; Lee, 2013).

Think about it this way: if you’re trying to sell office printers, your target audience is more likely to be office workers rather than tradesmen. Why? This is because office workers are more inclined to need to print off documents for meetings, presentations and the like, whereas tradesmen do not work within such spaces and don’t need to print off documents (as much as office workers) due to their hands-on profession. Right? Right. 💡

So, it’s safe to say that marketing is all about identifying consumer needs (Lee, 2013).

Digital marketing is very much the same. It’s about pinpointing the needs of your target audience, and developing marketing solutions based on these needs using the digital environment (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). 🎯

The Five Ds of Digital Marketing

This new environment is about the combination of the Five Ds: digital devices, digital platforms, digital media, digital data, and digital technology (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). Let’s break these down to get a better understanding of how these are relevant.

Source 1: https://unsplash.com/photos/OwvRB-M3GwE

What are digital devices? They are the devices which your audience use to interact with you (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). This includes smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers, gaming devices, televisions, virtual assistants (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019) – you name it. Without them, how do they know you have an online presence?

Now that your audience have the devices, how do they actually connect with you? Through digital platforms. These are the platforms that your audience use to interact with you, through the use of their devices (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019).

Digital media is the big one. Think social networking sites and search engines. These are the communication channels that your audience use to interact and engage with you (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). How cool is it when you’re commenting something witty on Shorty’s Instagram post and they bounce back with something even better? 😜 #TalkAboutEngagement

What on earth is digital data? Well, it’s a collection of information that’s relevant to your business and your target audience (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). Sort of like audience profiling and Instagram insights to audience interaction and engagement.

Finally, digital technology. This is what is used to create the opportunity for interaction and engagement (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). The obvious ones are websites and social networking sites, but in-store kiosks are a pretty big hit (Maccas, I’m looking at you 🍟).

Types of Media

When thinking of digital marketing, it’s no surprise that you’ll be online, right? Well, there are three types of media that you need to consider: owned media, paid media, and earned media (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019; Cuthill, 2013).

Owned media includes the promotional assets of a business (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019; Cuthill, 2013) which includes a website, social media presence, apps developed, etc. Everything you do on these platforms is yours. Paid media is where a business financially contributes for promotional placements (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick; Cuthill 2013) such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Earned media can typically be recognised as the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019) and brand-related consumer engagement (Cuthill, 2013). Think of online reviews, shout-outs, tagged posts – all that jazz.

Source 2: https://unsplash.com/photos/Ex8y5KfgBNI

Still a bit confused? Check out Coalition Technologies’ two-minute video breaking down the types of media even further.

There are numerous concepts relevant to digital marketing, but I do believe that the Five Ds and the different types of media should remain at the forefront when developing strategies within this environment.

Tomorrow, I’ll be writing a blog post focusing on eBay so keep your eye out for that one! 🛍

VP. ✨

PS. I said ‘digital’ 19 times. 🆘


Chaffey, D. & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2019). Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. United Kingdom: Pearson.

Lee, D. (2013). What is Marketing? Public Services Quarterly, 9(2), 169-171.

Cuthill, I. (2013). Paid, Owned, Earned: Maximizing Marketing Returns in a Socially Connected World. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 22(2), 193-194.

Coalition Technologies. (2014, December 16). Paid vs. Owned vs. Earned Media [YouTube video]. Los Angeles. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxI6kdurnOU&t=12s.

16 thoughts on “What is ‘digital marketing’?

  1. journalbyel

    Hi Vanessa! Its great opinion about types of media. I would like to agree with u about digital media. Nowadays, technology is always improving and nobody is not using social media, right? But how do you think about the traditional one? That things still have any changes to survives in the media channel? Please feel free to visit my blog and drop your opinion as well! thank you! Cheers 🙂


    1. vanessapulvera Post author

      Hey El!

      Thanks for your comment 😊

      I would also agree with you in that the technological environment is always changing, especially social media. I think that’s why I’m so attracted to digital marketing, as the consistent changes make it very interesting. While I do think that it’s important for businesses to somewhat adapt to the digital arena, social media is not the only form of marketing and advertising available. It’s important to have an online presence but that doesn’t necessarily mean social media – I say this because traditional media is declining, but I personally don’t think it will ever fade away. Yes, we now have online streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Stan), but households will still have at least one television. Yes, newspapers and magazines have transitioned into digital media now too, but there are people out there (millennials included) that do like to have the physical touch of reading. So, to answer your question, I think digital marketing will continue to rise and traditional marketing remains in decline, but it will never really fade away!


  2. sarahedav

    Hey Vanessa! I love your page and setup. The way you have included a hyperlink to a video that explains in further detail helped my understanding a lot! Your emojis, hashtags and images made me so intrigued and interested to keep reading. I loved your first blog and cannot wait to get notified for your next post! :))


    1. vanessapulvera Post author

      Hi Sarah!

      Aw thank you for your kind words! Digital marketing is actually my jam so I’m really into it 😂 glad you enjoyed all the engaging elements I included – definitely what I want out of this blog 😊

      Looking forward to reading yours! Will follow 🤓


  3. Henry Thomas

    Thank you for your easier description that helps a lot. I am also your great admire & from my point of view, you are doing best. This is article is very impressive and and i am waiting for new article



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