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“Digital marketing (also known as data-driven marketing) is an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. Digital marketing’s development since the 1990s and 2000s has changed the way brands and businesses utilize technology for marketing. As digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, and as people use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent and efficient. Digital marketing techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing and e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games are becoming more common in our advancing technology. In fact, digital marketing now extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones.”

Digital marketing planning is a term used in marketing management. It describes the first stage of forming a digital marketing strategy for the wider digital marketing system. The difference between digital and traditional marketing planning is that it uses digitally based communication tools and technology such as Social, Web, Mobile, Scannable Surface. Nevertheless, both are aligned with the vision, the mission of the company and the overarching business strategy.

Using Dr Dave Chaffey’s approach, the Digital Marketing Planning (DMP) has three main stages; Opportunity, Strategy and Action. He Suggests that any business looking to implement a successful digital marketing strategy must structure their plan by looking at opportunity, strategy and action. This generic strategic approach often has phases of situation review, goal setting, strategy formulation, resource allocation and monitoring.

To create an effective DMP a business first needs to review the marketplace and set ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound) objectives. They can set SMART objectives by reviewing the current benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the company and competitors. It is pertinent that the analytics used for the KPIs be customised to the type, objectives, mission and vision of the company., Companies can scan for marketing and sales opportunities by reviewing their own outreach as well as influencer outreach. This means they have competitive advantage because they are able to analyse their co-marketers influence and brand associations. To cease opportunity, the firm should summarize their current customers’ personas and purchase journey from this they are able to deduce their digital marketing capability. This means they need to form a clear picture of where they are currently and how many resources they can allocate for their digital marketing strategy i.e. labour, time etc. By summarizing the purchase journey, they can also recognise gaps and growth for future marketing opportunities that will either meet objectives or propose new objectives and increase profit.

To create a planned digital strategy, the company must review their digital proposition (what you are offering to consumers) and communicate it using digital customer targeting techniques. So, they must define online value proposition (OVP), this means the company must express clearly what they are offering customers online e.g. brand positioning. The company should also (re)select target market segments and personas and define digital targeting approaches. After doing this effectively, it is important to review the marketing mix for online options. The marketing mix comprises the 4Ps – Product, Price, Promotion and Place.  Some academics have added three additional elements to the traditional 4Ps of marketing Process, Place and Physical appearance making it 7Ps of marketing.

The third and final stage requires the firm to set a budget and management systems; these must be measurable touchpoints such as audience reach across all digital platforms. Furthermore, marketers must ensure the budget and management systems are integrating the paid, owned and earned media of the company.  The Action and final stage of planning also requires the company to set in place measurable content creation e.g. oral, visual or written online media. After confirming the digital marketing plan, a scheduled format of digital communications e.g. Gantt Chart should be encoded throughout the internal operations of the company. This ensures that all platforms used fall in line and complement each other for the succeeding stages of digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing became more sophisticated in the 2000s and the 2010s, when the proliferation of devices’ capability to access digital media at almost any given time led to great growth.

Statistics produced in 2012 and 2013 showed that digital marketing was still a growing field. Digital marketing is often referred to as ‘online marketing’, ‘internet marketing’ or ‘web marketing’. The term digital marketing has grown in popularity over time, particularly in certain countries. In the USA online marketing is still prevalent. In Italy, digital marketing is referred to as web marketing. In the UK and worldwide, however, digital marketing has become the most common term, especially after the year 2013. 

Digital media growth is estimated at 4.5 trillion online ads served annually with digital media spend at 48% growth in 2010.[citation needed] An increasing portion of advertising stems from businesses employing Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) to tailor advertising for internet users, but OBA raises concern of consumer privacy and data protection.

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