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The Evolution of Marketing Part 1: How Digital Marketing Compares to Historical Marketing

Have you ever watched Mad Men and wished you could have worked at a 1960s advertising agency (except without all the misogyny, questionable morals, second-hand smoke, and rampant alcoholism…)?

mad men smoking GIF

Here at DigitalMarketer, we know the feeling

But as cool as advertising was in those days,
we can’t really be that nostalgic.
Because when you compare those historical marketing efforts with the digital
marketing opportunities today, you realize…

living in the golden age of marketing.

Don’t get me wrong. You’re liable to find any one of us curled up with one of the classic marketing books like Ogilvy on Advertising, Scientific Advertising, or Breakthrough Advertising.

After all, many of those direct marketing
geniuses discovered advertising strategies that still work like a charm online

But when we look at digital marketing next to historical
marketing, there’s just no comparison. The evolution of marketing has let us to
the era of online marketing, and I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we live
in the age of Google and Facebook.

In Part 1 of a series on the evolution of marketing, we’ve compiled the 5 biggest changes we’ve seen in how digital marketing compares to historical marketing (and stay tuned for Part 2 later this week…)

Digital Marketing is More

The ability to track your advertising results
has to be one of the biggest advantages of online marketing.

Today, you can log into the Ads Manager to see
your cost, clicks, leads, sales, and ROI for any ad set you want, over any date
range you want:

Showing how you can now track your ads, because of how marketing has evolved.

Depending on the platform, you can even break
out your results by different audiences and locations to really narrow down
where your sales are coming from and make changes to improve performance.

Historically, tracking results was often much
more difficult.

After all, how do you track the results of a
radio campaign? A TV campaign? A print ad campaign? (Keep in mind there were no
branded searches at the time to use
as a measuring stick for brand awareness.)

There are certainly ways to measure these
campaigns, of course, but it’s rarely as accurate or as instantaneous as the
reporting abilities inside most digital marketing platforms.

The ability to track your marketing results is
something that many of us take for granted. But when you compare the evolution
of marketing reporting from 20, 30, or 40 years ago to now, you start to
realize just how good we’ve got it.

This isn’t just a reporting issue, though.
It’s also an optimization issue.

One huge benefit of being able to track your
marketing results is that you can make extremely well-informed decisions on
what to do with your campaigns… and you can do it quickly!

If a campaign is working well, you can scale it up. If it’s not working, you can test new targeting, new copy, a new offer… or just pause the campaign and try something else.

This visibility means you can begin to
optimize your ads almost immediately after launching them—helping to avoid
wasted spend and maximize your results.

Digital Marketing is More Highly

Another advantage of the evolution of marketing to the digital realm is the amount of data you’re able to leverage when it comes to targeting your ads.

Using social networks like Facebook and
LinkedIn, you can create a highly defined audience for your marketing
campaigns. Want to show your ads to men aged 40–60 who are interested in pro
wrestling? You can do that!

Daniel Bryan Yes GIF by WWE

Or do you need to target female Millennials
who work for a nonprofit? No problem!

With historical marketing ads, on the other
hand, targeting was much broader and less specific.

Oh, sure, you could sort of target your ads. You could place a print ad in a certain
magazine, knowing that their readers tended to have certain characteristics. Or
you could buy a commercial during a TV show that appealed to your general

But compared to the digital marketing platforms of today, you didn’t have nearly the same level of fine-tuned control when it came to targeting your ads.

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

With Digital Marketing, You Can
Start Small and Scale Big

Compared to historical marketing ads, digital
marketing has a lower barrier to entry and
is more scalable.

This is because, historically, most ads had to
be purchased in advance. You had to pay a certain amount of money to run your
commercial, or to include your ad in a magazine or newspaper.

In other words, you had to commit to a sizable
investment right off the bat. Before you knew what the results would look like.

You couldn’t test the waters with $10 a day, and
you also couldn’t scale up a winning campaign with a few mouse-clicks.

But today you CAN do those things. You can
spend as little as $1 a day, on many platforms, and you can scale up to spend
millions and millions per month. You can limit your ads to a 5-mile radius
around your store, or you can target an international audience.

That kind of freedom makes digital marketing
highly accessible to small businesses with tiny budgets, while also giving it
the reach to still move the needle for huge corporations.

Digital Marketing Gives You the
Freedom to Use More Creative Ad Types

Historical ads were limited to whatever media
they appeared in. For example: a radio ad had to be audio-only. A print ad was
limited to text and images. A TV ad was just video.

But with the evolution of digital
marketing ads, you’re often free to choose any of those formats. And in many
cases you can combine them—like Nomatic does with this video ad on Facebook:

A Nomatic ad for a backpack that shows the evolution of marketing

Though this is a video ad, it still contains
plenty of text to supplement the messages in the video. It even uses text in
the video itself in case the users’ phone or computer is muted.

Plus, marketers today have all sorts of
options that historical marketers didn’t have. We can build email lists and Messenger lists. We can embed videos, images,
or even games on our website.

Think how much more difficult marketing would
be if you didn’t even have a website
to drive people to!

In short, marketers today have more freedom,
flexibility, and control than ever before over how we present our brand image
to the world. And that’s a good thing for business.

Digital Marketing Has More

OK, at this point you might be thinking that
this post sounds like a love letter to digital marketing. And it’s true:
digital marketing has a lot of advantages over historical marketing.

But what about the disadvantages? Is there anything about the evolution of marketing
that has left us marketers in a bad spot?

Yes. There’s one undeniable disadvantage that
marketers today have to face:

that’s the sheer amount of competition online.

The Internet is packed full of companies vying
for your consumers’ business, which means that attention spans today are in
short supply. So despite all the benefits of the digital marketing evolution that
we’ve just explained, you still have to bring your A game if you want to stand
out from the noise and get people to notice you.

It’s a big challenge, but we’re up for it.

Are you?

If so, we’re here to help you do it. (By the
way… if you’re a DM newbie, check out our Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing).

Oh, and don’t forget to check back into the DigitalMarketer Blog later this week for Part 2 of this series!

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

The post The Evolution of Marketing Part 1: How Digital Marketing Compares to Historical Marketing appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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