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The three main types of digital marketing efforts.

Three Main Types of Digital Marketing
May, 2024

There are three main types of digital marketing efforts: organic, paid, and owned. Each of them is used for different effects when attempting to attract an audience to your message.

Often it is best to use a purposeful combination of the three in order to maximize the effect that your message can have on your audience.

At the end of the day, every business needs to communicate. For example it has to communicate what is the problem that it solves, why it solves it better than the alternatives and it needs to communicate how people can do business with business.

Before we begin, let’s talk about what really marketing is. For the purpose of this post, we are discussing digital marketing only in the light of digital advertising, but clearly marketing and advertising are not the same thing.

Marketing is the combination of art and science that seeks to fulfill the needs, wants and preferences of a group of people with as much intensity as possible. Advertising on the other hand is one of the components of promotion inside of what we call the mix of marketing.

Marketing has four primary components, defined as the four P’s of marketing by Phillip Kotler. These components are: Product, Price, Promotion and Place.

In other words, when we are talking about digital marketing, in reality we should be talking about defining the prices of products and services, the design of those products, the promotion (including advertising) and the place where we are going to make those products available.

However, for the sake of simplicity people call these methods digital marketing and therefore we will not be making such distinction in this article either, in reality, they are three types of digital advertising models.

Organic Digital Marketing

Organic marketing is the process of earning attention and traffic through unpaid, natural means. This could include optimizing your website for search engines, creating valuable content, and participating in social media.

Search Engine Optimization as an Organic Digital Marketing Channel

Even though organically is often understood as “unpaid”, the truth is that it is paid in the effort of actually getting noticed.

For example, if you want to generate some organic traffic from a video posted on social media, you would have to be pretty good at video production and also come up with a very good idea in order to gain traffic. Those things are not easy and they require tons of effort. That creative effort is the “cost” of organic digital marketing efforts.

Paid Digital Marketing

Paid marketing is the process of using paid advertising to earn attention and traffic. This could include using Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and other paid advertising platforms. In essence what you pay for is access to a particular audience. For example Facebook charges you to show your ad to a certain group of people that you can pick. You have targeting options that include general demographics such as age, location and education level. Other targeting options are more psycho-graphic such as people’s interests and affiliations.

Paid advertising is very effective if done properly and if you understand its limitations. The most important things about paid advertising is that it works as long as you do it, but its effects stop almost immediately after you stop paying. This is often not the case with the other kinds of digital marketing.

Owned Digital Marketing

Owned marketing is the process of using your own channels to earn attention and traffic. This could include your website, blog, email list, and social media channels. For example, when you advertise your message to your followers on YouTube or the people that sign up for your newsletter on your website.

The interesting thing with social media audiences is that although you technically “should” have access to your own “friends” or “followers” in practice, only a portion of your own audience actually receive your posts. Social media networks are constantly evolving on how much access they allow to your own followers in order to incentivize you to purchase access through paid advertising.

Using a combination of all these types of marketing can lead to more robust outcomes for your business. If you are interested in learning more about how a digital marketing plan can benefit you, please contact us today.

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