Guide

Develop a digital marketing plan

Advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing

Digital marketing benefits businesses of all sizes by giving access to the mass market at an affordable price. Unlike TV or print advertising, it allows truly personalised marketing. Digital marketing also comes with a number of challenges you should be aware of. 

Advantages of digital marketing

The main advantage of digital marketing is that a targeted audience can be reached in a cost-effective and measurable way. Other digital marketing advantages include increasing brand loyalty and driving online sales.

The benefits of digital marketing include:

  • Global reach - a website allows you to find new markets and trade globally for only a small investment.
  • Lower cost - a properly planned and well targeted digital marketing campaign can reach the right customers at a much lower cost than traditional marketing methods.
  • Trackable, measurable results - measuring your online marketing with web analytics and other online metric tools makes it easier to establish how effective your campaign has been. You can obtain detailed information about how customers use your website or respond to your advertising.
  • Personalisation - if your customer database is linked to your website, then whenever someone visits the site, you can greet them with targeted offers. The more they buy from you, the more you can refine your customer profile and market effectively to them.
  • Openness - by getting involved with social media and managing it carefully, you can build customer loyalty and create a reputation for being easy to engage with.
  • Social currency - digital marketing lets you create engaging campaigns using content marketing tactics. This content (images, videos, articles) can gain social currency - being passed from user to user and becoming viral.
  • Improved conversion rates - if you have a website, then your customers are only ever a few clicks away from making a purchase. Unlike other media which require people to get up and make a phone call, or go to a shop, digital marketing can be seamless and immediate.

Together, all of these aspects of digital marketing have the potential to add up to more sales.

Disadvantages of digital marketing

Some of the downsides and challenges of digital marketing you should be aware of include:

  • Skills and training – You will need to ensure that your staff have the right knowledge and expertise to carry out digital marketing with success. Tools, platforms and trends change rapidly and it’s vital that you keep up-to-date. 
  • Time consuming – tasks such as optimising online advertising campaigns and creating marketing content can take up a lot of time. It’s important to measure your results to ensure a return-on-investment. 
  • High competition – while you can reach a global audience with digital marketing, you are also up against global competition. It can be a challenge to stand out against competitors and to grab attention among the many messages aimed at consumers online. 
  • Complaints and feedback – any negative feedback or criticism of your brand is can be visible to your audience through social media and review websites. Carrying out effective customer service online can be challenging. Negative comments or failure to respond effectively can damage your brand reputation.   
  • Security and privacy issues – there are a number of legal considerations around collecting and using customer data for digital marketing purposes. Take care to comply with the rules regarding privacy and data protection.