Digital Marketing: The Past, Present & Future

In recent years, digital marketing has changed dramatically. Back in the old days, one annual planning meeting to create a go-to-market strategy, marketing plan and budget used to be sufficient. Today, marketers adjust course frequently and modify plans according to real-time customer insights, new media, emerging channels and technology.

However, in its short history, digital marketing has proven itself to be a driving force in the marketing and advertising industries. You might be asking yourself, “So, when did digital marketing first begin?” And that’s a good question. Let’s take a look back and see how it all started.

The Past Trends of Marketing

Marketing strategies have a history that dates back to as early as the mid-1400’s with printed advertising utilizing moveable type. Though strategic marketing practices used to be “relatively” slow, there are several trends that are still prevalent in today’s society.

Trends of the Pre-Digital Age included basic printed ads (like flyers, newspapers, posters, phonebooks, etc.), billboards, radio advertisements, early television advertisements.

During the Digital Age, new technologies such as rudimentary mobile phones, first generation computers, and user-friendly printers were emerging. There is a direct correlation in the type of technology available and the forum in which marketing is best communicated. The top marketing trends in the Digital Age were Print Advertising, Television Advertisements and Spam Emails.

While business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce had been popular since the 1970s, business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce didn’t become popular until 1991, when the National Science Foundation (credited for creating the first “Internet”) lifted its restrictions for commercial use of its Internet. Online shopping grew over the next few years and in 1995, the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon, was introduced.

The Dotcom Bubble occurred roughly from 1995-2002. This era is centered around Early Search Engine Optimization Improvements, AdWords and PageRank and early Blogging. As the internet continued to grow through the latter half of the 90’s, investors jumped on board and rode the wave of success. However, a handful of new companies survived and thrived, leaving us with life-changing entities such as Amazon, eBay and Google.

Trends of Marketing Present

Digital marketing is the industry term for promoting business objectives online. As the influence of the internet continued to rise in the early 2000’s, the concept of online marketing grew right along with it. Some of the most common marketing tactics utilized today are:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Retargeting Campaigns
  • Text Message Advertisements
  • Targeted Emails
  • Internet Video Advertisements

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

This is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results. These are also known as “organic” search results. Typically, the higher a business ranks on search results and the more frequently it appears in searches, the more traffic that site will receive. In fact, most marketers report that organic traffic is typically their highest traffic source with the strongest close rates and engagement. Here at Respect.Studio, we implement a number of elements that are proven strategies to help our clients achieve higher rankings. For every client, we do a site structure analysis to ensure that search robots can crawl it effectively.

Search engines are at the forefront of internet integration into everyday life. Not only have they become the driving force in internet innovations, but also in digital marketing. We research what keywords and keyword phrases, relevant to each page, are searched most in the major search engines. Based on these factors, we develop an SEO strategy to achieve the desired ranking goals. We write all the elements from URLS to H1 tags to ensure search engines understand what the page is about and can rank it appropriately, and we develop content that will round out the strength of your SEO.

SOCIAL MEDIA

The role of Social Media in Digital Marketing continues to become more and more prominent each year. Due to their constant updates, social media platforms continue to grow in popularity, showing no sign of slowing down. Social media is no longer limited to younger generations, but has now become popular across all age demographics and is an essential marketing tool. Through this popularity, standout trends continue to emerge each year.

Business Insider reports that 97 percent of online adults aged 16-64 say they have visited or used a social network within the last month. Furthermore, Facebook alone boasts 1.8 million users logged in daily. The more recognizable benefits of social media marketing such as advertising and brand awareness are an integral part of the marketing mix. However, a business’ social presence provides additional benefits in SEO and website optimization.

CONTENT MARKETING

What makes up content? Blogs, White Papers, Articles, Case Studies, Memes and Social Content.  These are the elements that will not only engage your readers but also gain you visibility in the search engines.

First, more brands launch targeted and relevant e-newsletters, which becomes the key method to grow their audiences. Second, more brands take a hard look at the e-newsletters they have and move them from “email as marketing collateral” to “truly amazing and relevant customer experiences.”

WEB DESIGN

There is no doubt that the website is the key component in a digital marketing strategy.  You can’t have an online presence without a website and without a functional web design, users won’t convert into customers.

In the last year or two, it has become noticeable that many designers are trying to move away from simple and closed compositions. More and more open-styled, seemingly chaotic, “broken” and cut compositions are being created. The previously worshiped grid lost its importance and its rules were deliberately and consciously bent. Content started to be shifted, seemingly moved, its parts sometimes overlapped and intermingled.

AUTOMATION TRENDS

The wave of automation is sweeping off the digital marketing industry. Automation is impacting every marketing touchpoint. A marketer can manage multiple accounts, track a prospect, monitor his behavior, make a sales pitch in real time or run a drip campaign. This way, he can grow his business using automation solutions.

A report shows a staggering 61% of marketers in the US rely on blast emails for lead generation. Less than 5% use automation solution. Automation connects email marketing to behavioral marketing, we’ve just discussed.

The biggest benefit of SM account management automation is single platform. Once you log into Buffer or Hootsuite, you can access your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. From a single custom dashboard, you can view how each network is performing. Such dashboards fetch social analytics from different networks and suggest future strategies.

What Does the Future Hold for Digital Marketing?

In this era of technological and virtual evolution, digital marketing is a vast concept and is catching some limelight at the moment as more and more, producers are using the digitized medium of marketing to connect to their customers. It can be characterized by high customer engagement. The more you engage, the more you gain popularity with your target audience and make an impact.

We can conclude that as technology becomes increasingly available to the general public, people are more receptive to marketing tactics when the material is formatted directly for them. In an age where nearly everything is customized for the user, marketing should be no different. This trend is already prevalent in inbound marketing efforts where a targeted audience is established and then a strategy is formulated specifically for that group of individuals. Additionally, it’s safe to say that many of the rudimentary marketing practices could fizzle out. Items such as AM/FM radio advertisements, cable TV advertisements, and telemarketing will continue to decrease in effectiveness as digital alternatives continue to become commonplace.

By understanding what the past, present, and (potential) future marketing strategies may be you can rest easy knowing that your marketing team is fully informed of what methods are available for you to use.

Digital Marketing is Here to Stay

While the internet has changed everything, it is worth remembering that embracing digital trends does not mean discarding traditional marketing methods. Keep up with the trends while integrating the old for solid marketing success.

The future of Digital Marketing is bright, and it will continue to move forward with every advancing step of technology. And Respect.Studio plans to be there every step of the way.

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