I find it hard to explain what I do. Not because it’s so obscure, there are actually many people today who do what I do. A web general contractor is probably the best analogy, but in reality what I have devoted the majority of my professional career to is digital marketing. However, when I say that to people I get some blank stares.

Digital marketing is different from what you might normally think of as traditional marketing and to me it differs in one very simple way: interaction. While most marketers think of ads or promos or mailers, they would traditionally think of it in context of impressions or readership. How many eyeballs am I paying to reach?

Therein lies the problem. It’s the potential of that reach. It’s the hope that the one-way channel you are using will produce a response that will result in a sale. Very little opportunity exists in this paradigm for good data. You really have no way of knowing how affective the campaign was. You build it all out, package it off and cross your fingers.

Enter the world of digital marketing. This world lives as a direct result of their being an internet. This world exists to respond quick, react and adjust along the way, test things, try things. Though not entirely free, the potential for amazingly low-cost digital marketing is there. This could include an email campaign, an Adwords ad you run through Google, some Facebook or LinkedIn ad you run to your followers, media buys where you post banner ads leading to a landing page or a social media promos linking to some action, to name a few.

Where many have this wrong is that it’s not an either/or scenario. It’s not that you should move all your traditional marketing to just being digital as there is place and value for both. Where there seems to be some lag is the value put on the digital marketing space. If your budget spend is favoring traditional/off-line marketing efforts, you are not thinking very long-term. You’re also missing out on a much higher ROI value.

Think of a world where you can immediately see the impact of a campaign, adjust it if there is something wrong, tweak it to be more exact, move with it. And that could all happen in the first hour.

Think of a world where you could start to gather data around the people in your email list and send them personalize emails that increase your value to them. And all of that could be done automatically in concert with sending out your normal email.

Think of a world where you can target a specific segment of a specific area and invite only that select group of people to a special offer all the while customizing the ask based on their location / preferences / nomenclature / language / idioms.

Think of a world where you have an idea on Tuesday, launch Wednesday and follow-up on leads Thursday.

This is the world of digital marketing.

So when you ask me what I do, that’s it. Yes, it’s “web stuff”, but in reality it’s about using the web and the tools that are available to make marketing work a lot harder and a lot smarter for business.

Photo credit: giumaiolini

With over a decade of experience, I have managed online marketing for a wide range of industries including biotech, high-tech, financial, higher education, non-profit, manufacturing, hardware providers, and startups. My specialty is helping business make the right turn with their online efforts focusing on lead generation and analytics.

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