Marketing In The Digital Era

Why is the title Marketing in the Digital Era? Why not just Digital Marketing?

If we talk about Digital Marketing, we tend to focus on the wonders of social media as marketing tools and conclude that marketing has changed as result. But the basic function of marketing has not changed – it is still the job of marketing to design and deliver offerings that add value to targeted customers. What has changed in the Digital Era  is the nature and reach of the marketing function, making it the lead organizational process for many organizations. The Digital Era allows marketing to cut across all of the functions of the organization and include interactive communication with all elements of the extended value chain on a global basis. Whew!

What really excites marketers in the Digital Era is the ability to address micro-segments and individual customers, and then to interactively communicate and track those customers. With a digitally ready organization, the entire organization can focus on satisfying that customer and micro-segment. Before this, traditional marketing was a one-way push/pull designed for an average customer in a broad segment. But this is still too narrow a focus.

Where to start with marketing in the Digital Era? Companies should first study their customer decision journeys. In most markets the customers are moving from a linear decision model to an on-going, circular search for new information and interactive feedback via social media. Customers are not just buyers – they are now critics, influencers, and even designers of features and functions.

Once the journey has been defined, and perhaps influenced, then the firm can decide where in the journey to focus and what they want to accomplish. These are the “touch-points,” which can be matched with various digital channels, such as Pinterest for ideas, bloggers on Twitter to narrow choices, then friends on Facebook for specific recommendations, and reviews on Amazon for further consideration.

Choosing the right touch-point and the right digital channel depends on a host of factors, such as the stage of the product life cycle, but here the concern is where to have the most impact. So the third step is to define the company’s digital marketing model, such as digital branding or product innovation. Then the digital marketer must determine what capabilities exist and what must be developed to successfully deploy the marketing model to influence the customer at different points on the decision journey.

So Marketing in The Digital Era is much more complicated that having a Facebook page and a Twitter account. We have to start with the changes in the customer decision process, then evaluate where and what we want to influence in the decision cycle, and then focus on our strengths, for example as branders or innovators. It is a lot more work, but the payoff can be enormous for those marketers willing to be smart and continuously learn in the Digital Era.

Comments or questions? Let’s hear from you!


Prof Goeltz



What is the Digital Era?: Social Science Book Chapter | IGI Global.

Digitizing the consumer decision journey, Edwin van Bommel, David Edelman, and Kelly Ungerman. McKinsey & Company, June 2014

The Eight Touchpoints of a Customer’s Consideration Phase/ Alex Gonzalez, February 25, 2014. MarketingProfs plus conversations and an online course with the founder of Denovati Dr. Courtney Shelton Hunt

Developing a global digital strategy. October 2014. Johnson & Johnson’s vice president of digital strategy, Gail Horwood. McKinsey & Company

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5 Responses

  1. Robert Trindle October 28, 2014 / 12:14 pm

    I really like the differentiation between calling it just digital marketing but referring to it as “Marketing in the Digital Era.” Marketers see it differently, by using the digital era as a tool not so much as trying to fit into the era itself. I feel like this appeals to students interested in the marketing field because it shows them they could use everyday social media tools to make them money and build a career. Very well written! Keep it up!

    • Profgoeltz November 5, 2014 / 7:29 am

      Thanks Robert. These tools can be used for internal marketing, marketing with suppliers and partners, and external marketing to all of the firm’s stakeholders, including customers.

  2. Mackenzie Cannataro October 28, 2014 / 1:15 pm

    I liked this post because I think digital marketing is becoming very important. So many people are centered around social media and are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram several times a day. Marketing on social media sites and on the internet will reach out to a lot of people. Most of these people are probably the younger generation since they are the ones more likely to use social media. I especially like that this post mentions ideas on Pinterest and reviews on Amazon. If someone is looking for a recipe to try, they are now more likely to look on Pinterest instead of a cookbook or if they are looking for craft ideas, they are more likely to search the internet before coming up with their own ideas. Likewise, if they are going to buy something, its a good idea to read reviews before buying that item. This can tie in with what was said about the customers being critics and influencers. The interest has made things a lot easier for potentional customers to be influenced into buying something or not and also gives the sellers a chance to see what needs to be changed and what the customers like about their items.

  3. Mark Michaluk November 4, 2014 / 7:48 pm

    Marketing is becoming more and more non-conventional. We can see a diverse change in marketing from a traditional standpoint to a new era of media marketing. We can simply look around us and see this evolution. In a traditional marketing sense for retailers, companies would send coupons and news of new products through the mail in the form of a catalog or a coupon booklet. Now, with just hits of a few buttons on a smart-phone, you can subscribe to that retailers rewards program, coupon text alert system, and even get sent the newest information on the hottest products in seconds.
    Data is being collected without us even knowing it. Take a look at the marketing right before your eyes on social media such as Facebook. Don’t you find it odd that products you may have searched say in Google or just in your browser seem to be bombarding you on the side of your Facebook timeline? Notice how similar products that may interest you have been popping up more frequently? Well, right there my friend is a new age of digital media marketing. Marketing is forever evolving and growing with technology. With the news of the release of the IPhone 6 and 6 plus, Macy’s was the first on the board to sign a deal with the new iPay payment system. To enhance their marketing strategy they can tap into your phones location service in the store, locate what aisle you are in, and show you sales or new products nearby. Conventional or traditional marketing? I think not. Welcome to the new era of marketing!

  4. Profgoeltz November 5, 2014 / 7:27 am

    Thanks to the students in Professor Amato’s class. Think about how the Digital Era has changed other fields, such as HR and accounting. And then look at the next blog on leadership in the Digital Era

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