When it comes to digital marketing, it’s important that businesses gain a better understanding of what “digital marketing” actually means. Over the years, the terms “digital marketing” and “Internet marketing” have somehow become synonymous. However, they shouldn’t be viewed as one and the same. If you don’t see any distinction between your digital marketing efforts and your online marketing strategies, then something is fundamentally wrong in your approach.

Understanding Digital Marketing

Successful entrepreneur Neil Patel makes the distinction rather easy by providing a simple and concise definition of digital marketing. Here’s what he has to say: Digital marketing is any form of marketing products or services, which involves electronic devices.

Did you catch that last part? While many electronic devices – such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop computers – are connected to the Internet, not all are. You also have radio, television, digital billboards and other disconnected devices that operate independently of the Internet.

So, why does this distinction matter? Well, as a marketer, you can’t look at digital marketing, and assume that it’s identical to Internet marketing. Picture it like a family tree. Digital marketing goes at the top; it’s the patriarch, so to speak. Underneath the heading of “digital marketing,” there are two separate branches: online marketing and offline marketing.

If you want to be a successful marketer in the modern age, you need to ensure that your businesses and clients are dipping their feet into both categories of digital marketing. By ostracizing one, you end up compromising your entire strategy.

Online Marketing

Also called Internet marketing, online marketing is the process of promoting a product, service, or brand over the Internet. It involves a number of different media, including content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, paid advertising, affiliate marketing, email marketing, and any other form of direct or indirect customer engagement that’s powered by the web.

When you begin to build an online marketing strategy, you’ll quickly realize that the lines between each of these media are often blurred. SEO and content marketing run together naturally, in many cases. Content marketing frequently dictates social media efforts – and vice versa. This typically plays to your advantage, as the overlap allows marketers to maximize resources.

Offline Marketing

Offline marketing is the half of digital marketing that the modern marketer seems to forget about more often than not, but don’t underestimate the significance of offline efforts. Offline digital marketing includes the use of radio spots, television commercials, SMS marketing, QR codes, electronic billboards and even digital product demos.

Offline digital marketing is important because brands need to meet people where they are. Customers don’t spend 100 percent of their time on the Internet, and your brand shouldn’t either. “At the end of the day, the real test of a brand lies on offline relationships—those that are not dictated nor conditioned,” writes entrepreneur Kimberly Grimms.

Finding a Happy Medium

The goal isn’t to spend half of your resources on online marketing strategies and the other half on offline marketing. In fact, it may not even be a 60-40 split. In today’s marketplace, it’s obvious that Internet marketing gives small brands a much wider reach at a much friendlier cost.

The point is that you can’t pretend that Internet marketing is all that exists. It’s only half of the equation. If you want to be a savvy marketer, you must understand that digital marketing also exists offline. Your goal should be to connect your online and offline strategies seamlessly, so customers experience little or no gap between them. Only after you do this can you begin truly to craft all-encompassing marketing campaigns that maximize your returns.