What Is Digital Marketing? | USM Interactive | Burlington, VT

Wait, but what is digital marketing?

September 17, 2015 by Emma Shank

When friends, family and business owners ask me that question they often have an uncomfortable and confused look on their face as if I am about to speak a foreign language.

“So you do digital marketing…you mean you build websites?”

“Not quite, but I work with awesome people who do! I’m the person that makes sure your site gets found online.”

“Oh, okay.”

The conversation usually comes to an abrupt end at this point as few are willing to venture forth and ask more questions for fear of not being tech-y enough.


Today we want to answer the after thought of “wait, but what is digital marketing?”

Digital marketing is still just marketing, but technology today allows it to be interactive and significantly more measurable than traditional marketing.

Traditional marketing consists of:

  • Print Advertising
  • Direct Mail
  • TV Advertisements
  • Email Marketing

Digital marketing consists of:

  • Paid Search Advertising
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Engagement and Advertising
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing

The largest difference between the two forms of marketing is interaction. Traditional marketing is historically a one-way street where businesses put something in front of customers and hope the potential customer calls or purchases the product or service.

Digital marketing is a two-way street where the business can create opportunities for engagement with the potential customer where ever they are.

Whether its an ad displayed on another website or a post on social media, these are windows of dialogue with a customer that directly create data.

John Wanamaker, the “pioneer in marketing” famously said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

This has held true over the years in traditional marketing, however, technology and digital marketing strategies have eliminated this notorious dilemma when it comes to spending marketing dollars.

If you’re looking to increase phone calls, online purchases and contact forms, or foot traffic it has never been easier to track your customer’s path and experience.

As a business continually gathers more information throughout a digital marketing campaign they can then adapt the existing campaign to improve its performance. This also means that best practices and technology change at an incredibly fast pace. Strategies can become outdated after a simple change in Google or Facebook’s algorithms.

So, what is digital marketing?

It is a strategic, measurable and interactive form of marketing that happens online. The overarching goal of both digital and traditional marketing is to reach and convert leads into customers.

Still confused about digital marketing? Send us your questions below!