The Future of Digital Marketing

The Future of Digital Marketing

I have been in the digital marketing industry for the past 10 years. In the past 5 years, the trend of digital marketing has seen a hockey stick growth. If you check Google Trends for the popularity of the term “digital marketing”, you can see how it has grown since 2004.

Anything that grows this fast, is not sustainable. Or that’s what we have come to believe with many things. 10 years back, we had courses on Java, Visual Basic, C++ and many such computer programming languages.

Anyone who wanted to have a career in computers learned the latest programming language that was around and sometimes it led to career opportunities. Where are those courses now? The hot things to learn now are subjects like AI, Machine Learning and Data Science.

One of the questions that most of my students ask me is that – will digital marketing also will go away just like the other courses that we have seen before?

Is digital marketing a fad that is only popular right now? Will learning digital marketing have a long shelf life? Is it worth to invest so much time, energy and money in learning digital marketing and building a career in this field?

These are important questions to answer because you are betting your future and building your expertise on one subject. Unless you have a clear answer now, you will not be motivated to build a career in this field.

Marketing is Here to Stay

Whenever I get a chance to speak on stage, or answer people’s questions on the learn digital marketing group on Facebook, I always recommend people to be more of marketers, than digital marketers.

Digital marketing is a great subject to learn, yes. But digital marketing works only because it is built on the foundation of marketing. If you are a marketer first and a digital marketer second, you will always succeed.

Digital marketing end of the day is not about the tools that you use to reach customers via digital marketing. Digital marketing works only when you understand the marketing fundamentals.

A lot of people learn how to use many digital marketing tools including paid ads, SEO, social media, email and marketing automation tools, but they fail to learn about the marketing fundamentals.

Even if you know pretty much everything there is to learn about digital marketing, and if you don’t have strong foundation in marketing, your digital marketing campaigns will not work and will not produce the desired results.

Marketing and sales have existed for 100s of years and without marketing, businesses cannot grow. I believe it is fair to assume that marketing and sales as a topic will never go out of fashion.

Learning marketing fundamentals always gives a great return on investment because marketing is based on human psychology and the human psyche has not changed for 1000s of years. What you learn about marketing today will still be valid 10 years or even 50 years later.

In the above Google Trends comparison between Marketing, Digital Marketing and Sales, you can see that marketing and sales have a consistent interest across years and digital marketing is hardly anywhere near marketing in terms of popularity.

The stability of the terms marketing and sales makes me believe that digital marketing is also here to stay for a long time because it is linked to marketing.

The Consumer Behaviour Has Changed

One of the reasons for the popularity of digital marketing over traditional marketing is the massive shift in consumer behaviour.

Traditional marketing included advertising on TV, Newspapers, Magazines and Radios. The amount of personalization and content that can be delivered via these channels is extremely limited. Because of the wide reach and lack of personalization, only big corporations had access to these channels to reach customers.

With smart phones, tablets, and personal laptops, each person now has a personal screen. Because of technology like social media, cookies and other ways to personalize experience for each user, digital marketing was born.

Digital marketing is nothing but marketing, through digital devices. The massive shift in consumer behaviour on how they consume content is what has seeded the growth of digital marketing. Digital marketing is simply a more powerful and advanced way to do marketing.

It is very clear that traditional advertising and marketing is dying and different components in digital marketing are seeing massive growth in popularity.

From the Google Trends data, we can see that components of digital marketing such as email marketing and content marketing is now more popular than traditional marketing mediums such as TV and Newspapers.

We can also see that digital marketing methods like content marketing have seen a massive growth surpassing other marketing channels since the last 15 years.

All the data as seen above makes me strongly believe that digital marketing is here to stay. It is a term used to define marketing that is more powerful than traditional marketing.

Eventually in the long term, digital marketing will just be marketing.

Before the digital age, marketing was just called marketing. No one called it “traditional marketing”. The term digital marketing came into usage to define the new way of marketing through digital devices.

Within another 10-20 years, as traditional marketing methods die a slow death, digital marketing will just be marketing.

Companies will have marketing and sales departments. They don’t need to call the marketing department a “digital marketing” department. Everyone in the marketing team will be mostly doing digital marketing.

As marketing and sales can never die, digital marketing will probably never die.

Build Your Career in Marketing

If you are concerned that digital marketing as a career choice might fade away in the future, focus on building a marketing career.

Use digital marketing to enhance the way you do marketing. Digital is just the new way of doing marketing.

Some of the books that helped me build a foundation in marketing concepts are:

There are a lot more marketing books you should read, but that’s a topic for another day. If you haven’t read the above books, start building your marketing career by reading these books. You will then naturally gravitate towards more marketing books.

Once you become a great marketing and salesman, you will understand how digital helps you put your marketing campaigns on steroids.

I hope this article helped you understand the future of digital marketing and marketing. And how you should align your career in such a way that you become future proof.

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