Digital Marketing: Part of Marketing or Part of Digital?

Digital Marketing: Part of Marketing or Part of Digital?

digital marketingAs we move more towards the postdigital – meaning that digital touches all parts of our lives; both at work and at home almost constantly; we face┬áconundrums that force us to understand where certain functions in the organisation should it. One of the most paramount of these discussions is that of Digital Marketing. Should Digital Marketing sit within the Marketing function or should it sit within the Digital Department or the IT Department?

To answer this question we need to fundamentally define and understand the functions of each department and then allocate digital marketing accordingly.


By and large the marketing department’s function is to ensure that your brand, products and services are top-of-mind within your specific target market. Marketing needs to understand your target markets needs and wants and then position your products and services to satisfy them. Within this definition we also need to include aspects such as lead generation; lead tracking; event management and client relationship management.


Many organisations are developing a digital capability. Very often this department looks a lot like an IT department as it will have developers and technology at its core. Essentially this department is responsible for the digitisation of processes as well as the products and services of the organisation. In other words taking advantage of cloud computing; enterprise mobility (apps) and the virtualisation of products and services.

Digital Marketing

As the name suggests this discipline straddles these two departments in an effort to bring them together. This is a broad statement – and one that allows for a lot of conjecture. Essentially though – the ultimate core of digital marketing can be seen as reaching your organisations targets through online channels. That means digital marketers are concerned with Search Engine Optimisation; Google AdWords; Website Analytics; email marketing and the interaction with current and potential clients. This can also expand to include User Experience (UX) design and of course social media marketing.

That’s digital marketing at its core; essentially marketing through a digital channel. However the boundaries are not as cut and dried as that as there are also elements of digital marketing that cut into the real essence of the Digital Business.

As soon as your organisation starts to open itself up to the public across the internet – be it a portal to check your account balance or an entire digital business encompassing every aspect of your organisation – digital marketing is now thrust into the fold again. Now the UX is not just concerned with the outward appearance of the portal; but also what information is displayed; how that information is displayed to your employees and how those same employees can share and harness that information to deliver a better ROI.

The digital marketer is one who can understand and apply sound marketing principles to ensure a good client experience; but can also talk to a technical designer as to how best a site should flow to ensure that those using the system can extract as much value (and analytics) from the system as possible.

In short – digital marketing should not be confined to either department; but should cross freely between them providing sound understanding of the channels and platforms as well as user experience and analytical support to extract value.

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