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Digital Marketing, Its Forms, Pros and Cons


Digital marketing refers to a marketing strategy that involves the promotion of products or services online. Numerous online venues are available for online advertising including the social media, email marketing, short messages (SMS), and videos as illustrated in the following image.

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Different online advertising platforms
Image 1: Different online advertising platforms

The invention of the Internet has enabled people from different countries to interact as if they were in direct contact. Online marketing has become a popular strategy for reaching global customers. Most multinational companies have embraced online marketing to boost their sales (Chaffey & Smith, 2013). Xiaomi, which is a multinational company based in China, has managed to use digital marketing to outsmart its competitors. The company has established a group of loyal customers who help in the marketing of its electronic products at no cost.


Online marketing is a cheaper promotional approach than other forms of advertising such as print media, live promotions, TVs, and radio. Digital marketing saves the involved companies the cost of opening stores and subsidiaries. Additionally, only a few employees are involved in such a method of advertising. The low number of staff members and the absence of stores ensure that a firm incurs low costs of operations thus leading to higher profits.


The major disadvantage of online marketing is that it does not allow face-to-face contact with customers. Direct contact with customers would go a long way in enhancing customer loyalty since the actual feeling of customers could be deduced from such contacts.

Forms of digital marketing

Most companies have penetrated the global market to increase their profitability against the backdrop of the stiffening competition in different industries. The global market has facilitated the evolvement of digital marketing due to the low investment required to operate an online marketing strategy. Online marketing does not require the establishment of stores, and thus it lowers the overall cost of operational expenses. The following forms of online marketing are available.

Online platform Effectiveness (%)
Websites/SEO 81
Email 71
Social media 41

Table 1: the effectiveness of different online marketing strategies in 2014

Social media marketing

The invention of the social media has boosted connectivity thus allowing firms to advertise their products and services in a simple and effective manner. Some of the social mediums of marketing include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn among others (Ryan, 2014).Marketing through the social media is highly effective since it allows firms to meet and interact with numerous customers located in different parts of the world. Besides, social media marketing allows customers to give their feedback through reviews. Reviews from customers are beneficial as they help a firm gain insight into the customers’ satisfaction. The reviews also form the basis for innovation to fill the gaps in customer satisfaction. Communication through the social media allows a firm to contact individual customers hence establishing loyalty. Social media marketing allows firms to interact personally with the target customers through the public and private venues availed by the media.

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Digital marketing has proved to be a good advertising option over other forms of marketing as illustrated by the following statistical data (Ryan, 2014).

  1. 17% share news and experiences with others about the brand
  2. 77% of people interact with brands on Facebook by looking at posts and updates
  3. 13% post updates about brands they have connected with
  4. 56% said they would recommend a brand after becoming a fan on Facebook
  5. 34% of digital marketers have generated leads from Twitter
  6. 43% of all consumers who are Internet-connected use social media

Different factors affect the success of a firm’s digital marketing strategy. These factors include the target customers, location, and the consumers’ internet connectivity

The Internet marketing strategy may boost a firm’s sales if the target customers are the youth, who are well versed in the new technology, and thus they rely on the Internet heavily to accomplish their business dealings. The young generation is highly connected to the Internet, and thus a product or service targeting the group may be marketed effectively through social media platforms.

Search Engine Optimisation/Websites

The Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) allows firms to strengthen their product search on the Internet. It places a firm’s product ahead on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPS) (Ryan, 2014). The better the placement of a firm’s product in the SERPS, the more the customers will learn about the existence of the product or service hence leading to increased sales. Visit to learn more about SEO.

SEO includes:

  1. Link building /outreach blogging
  2. Keyword research and usage, on-page and off (within HTML)
  3. Content delivery
  4. Site structure
  5. Analytics

Email Marketing

Email marketing is also an effective advertising strategy, and it involves contacting customers through their personal email addresses. Communication through emails is highly personalised since the target customers are selected based on their previous dealings with the company (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). The method works best when the emails are connected to a database to personalise the communication. The customers’ addresses may be obtained from encouraging users to submit their emails after making purchases with the company. The addresses may also be obtained from customers reviews attained via comment cards issued to clients at the help desk.

SMS marketing

Another form of digital marketing is SMS marketing. In this form of advertising, firms use a short message to notify customers of the existence of a product or a service. This form of marketing is an important component of digital marketing since the majority of people around the globe own a cell phone. Under this form of marketing, customers are encouraged to drop their personal phone numbers whenever they transact with the firm. Comment cards could also be a sure way of obtaining the customers’ personal phone numbers.

Video marketing/video infographics

Video marketing/video infographics is another form of digital marketing that is gradually gaining popularity in the contemporary business environment. People tend to comprehend more about a product upon watching a video than simply reading the reviews. Successful firms in digital marketing place their ads alongside the popular movies to ensure that such ads are seen by customers around the globe (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012).

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The Internet as a form of advertising
Image 2: The Internet as a form of advertising


Digital marketing refers to a form of online marketing that involves marketing a firm’s products or services through the social media and other Internet-based platforms. Most businesses have embraced digital marketing due to the cost-effectiveness associated with this form of marketing. The global market has shaped the marketing strategy since most businesses today have gone global to maximise their profits. Internet marketing helps firms to cut down the operational costs through the elimination of stores that would be necessary if a firm opted for other conventional marketing venues. Internet marketing allows firms to reach international customers hence increasing their profitability against the backdrop of the stiffening competition amongst companies. Some of the venues for Internet marketing include the social media, email marketing, videos, and SMSs.


Chaffey, D., & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2012). Digital marketing. New York, NY: Pearson.

Chaffey, D., & Smith, P. (2013). eMarketing excellence: Planning and optimising your digital marketing (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Ryan, D. (2014). Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. London, UK: Kogan Page.

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