Digital Marketing Is Marketing, Not A Form Of Advertising Or Public Relations

  • Femi Falodun

Chief Operations Officer, ID Africa 


In 2017 and beyond, there really shouldn’t be anything called “Digital Marketing” or anyone called “Digital Marketer” anymore. Why? Well, there’s no way any serious professional would practice the art of marketing today without application or use of digital technology tools, platforms or techniques. If there indeed exists digital marketing, then where the heck is its nondigital form? Who are the non-digital marketers and what do they do? Marketing IS Marketing, and semantics aside, most critical parts of the practise have to be ‘digital’ for the process to be effective in today’s world. Public Relations and Advertising are elements of Marketing Communications, which is just ONE part (Promotion) of the Marketing Mix. In fact, the practise of PR / Advertising, as recognized in traditional marketing profession, is perfectly mirrored in what these socalled ‘digital marketers’ do from day to day! And this so-called Digital Marketing is indeed ‘Marketing’ as we know it, and not just some offshoot of Public Relations or Advertising. 


The terms are broken down in the table below, based on the 7P’s of Marketing described by Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK, to compare what Marketing is, Vs what ‘digital marketing’ is. It seems practically everything considered as a marketing activity has its direct equivalent in the digital space. Beyond that, activities previously assumed to be ‘digital’ are fast becoming the new normal, as most brands are now fully embracing their digital transformation journeys.


At the end of the day, PR pros and advertising executives (2 different types of Marketers) adopt the use of digital technology for their work in the same ways as digital marketing professionals do: through use of media (blogs, websites, social, apps, etc) for communication & storytelling, research & measurement, analysis, planning, user engagement, payment, direct selling and so on. This ultimately leads one to the conclusion that the word “digital” as used in marketing (digital marketing), PR (digital PR) and advertising (digital advertising) is really unnecessary, as these activities are rarely ever done anymore today without the application of digital media and digital technology in some way, shape or form. So, what then is the point of drawing a line and calling marketing ‘digital’, if it can’t be any other form anyways?


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