Seemingly, when I become comfortable with a widely used technology term, someone creates another version. That’s frustrating. But having been around technology for roughly 30 years, I’ve grown used to it. I may have even contributed to it as a marketing professional and author.
A quick glance through Practical eCommerce articles yields buzzwords like “hashtags,” “tweetchats,” “key performance indicators,” “A/B testing,” “conversion rates,” “cloud storage,” “platform as a service (PaaS),” “software as a service (SaaS),” “sales funnel,” “lifetime value of a customer,” “post engagement,” “app engagement,” “link clicks,” “personalization,” “customer interactions,” and many more.
I bring this up because I have been writing content for a company that delivers marketing services to support ecommerce merchants. I am not sure what to call many of those services — i.e., “email marketing,” “SEO,” “UI and UX optimization,” “PPC ads,” “social media posting and management,” and coordinating consistent messaging across different channels and devices.
Are those types of services now called “multi-channel marketing,” “integrated marketing,” “digital marketing,” “Internet marketing,” or “online marketing”? I researched using Google and found that of those terms, more people search for “Internet marketing” (300,000 per month) and “online marketing” (165,000 per month). Multi-channel marketing draws a mere 3,000 per month in searches.
Why is that and what is the difference? In this article, I’ll offer my definition of commonly used marketing terms, and suggest which of those activities are most important.
Terms and Buzzwords
- Internet marketing. This may have been the original terminology — hence it is still the most widely used. It includes any type of marketing that was done online — banners, pay-per-click advertising, affiliate marketing, search.
- Search marketing. This is marketing done on search engines through trying to influence rankings with search engine optimization, PPC campaigns, and, now, product listing ads.
- Online marketing. This evolved from “Internet marketing” but sounded better. The name may include other online technologies that were coming in the future — like mobile. Or maybe this name was used to differentiate from offline marketing.
- Digital marketing. This likely arouse to define of all things digital, regardless of the delivery platform — like Internet, mobile, video.
- Social media marketing. This includes any type of marketing activity on social media platforms, such as content, ads, promotions, and sweepstakes. It may include posts and tweets, especially targeted ones that leverage hashtags or other targeting techniques
- Email marketing. This is using email to do targeted marketing — or even not so targeted. This is an early-day, reliable source of leads and revenue.
- Multi-channel marketing. This one predates the other terms — think print, radio, and TV ads. Today, it is an inclusive term that means you use many channels or media platforms, such as social media, search marketing, mobile marketing, in-store displays, print, kiosks, display ads, and broadcast media.
- Omni-channel marketing. This term must be broader than “multi-channel marketing.” But I’m not really sure.
- Integrated marketing. This is the latest buzzword. It’s also important. This term refers to delivering the same message regardless of channel or platform: your website, in a print ad, in your email, and anywhere else you deliver it.
Likely there are other definitions of these terms. But, the last two — multi-channel marketing and integrated marketing — refer to increasingly important concepts.
Integrated Marketing Is Key
The question is, “Are you extending your message to all your potential channels in a consistent manner?” If you are a brand, this is crucial. If you are a store selling many brands, it may not be as important, but it is worth making it a goal.
Diversify your marketing to draw traffic from all potential customer touch points. If you run PPC ads and have a mobile website, target those ads for mobile users. There are fewer mobile advertisers, and mobile buyers are more likely to be online. You may gain a competitive advantage over non-mobile friendly competitors.
Have you noticed product ads following your activities on Facebook? Facebook is becoming the favorite for retargeting ad platforms. You may have even received a print catalog from your favorite online store. Why? Because it is still an effective marketing tactic for existing customers and drives revenue and traffic to their online properties.
Integrated marketing is about unifying your messages into a single, consistent theme. Whatever you call it, use all the marketing channels available to you. It will improve your results.