From Data To Design: The Many Disciplines Of Digital Marketing

disciplines of digital marketing

As we delve deeper into this digital age, digital marketing is rapidly becoming perceived as a critical investment for any and all modern businesses. Given the complexity of this field and it’s ever-evolving practices, it can be tricky to know where to start when it comes to putting together digital marketing campaigns or strategies for your own business.

In fact, it’s entirely possible that on one or more occasions you’ve found yourself asking, what is digital marketing exactly? In a nutshell, digital marketing is multi-faceted, with multiple disciplines and marketing practices falling under this catch-all term for all forms of marketing that involve digital technologies and revolve around building a strong digital footprint for modern businesses.

Don’t worry if you haven’t developed a firm understanding or perhaps even engaged with all of the disciplines of digital marketing, as this guide is here to act as a bit of a glossary for you. Read on to learn more about the many disciplines of digital marketing and the role they play in growing a modern company’s digital footprint.

Search Engine Optimisation

Of all the many disciplines within digital marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) is arguably one of the most important whilst simultaneously being amongst the most lesser known as well. In short, SEO is about ensuring your content, this being anything you or your brand creates or even anything that mentions and links to your brand, is relevant to search engines and is seen as a good source of information for searchers.

SEO helps search engines understand that your brand is an expert or an ‘authority’ in what you do. Identifying you as an authoritative source makes Google more inclined to position you front and centre on SERPs, or ‘search engine results pages’ for relevant keywords or search terms.

Without SEO, your customers may find themselves struggling to find the answer they are looking for, or alternatively may find their way to a competitor instead of your own brand. Failing to invest in SEO will almost certainly result in lost revenue and acquisition opportunities from organic traffic, this being site traffic that you don’t have to pay Google Ads services or other digital ads services for. Depending on your capability, you may choose to outsource SEO to an agency that specialises in it.

Social Media

Contrary to popular belief, social media isn’t just for teenagers or millennials trying to create funny content or stay connected to their friends. Social media is actually also a powerful digital marketing tool and discipline if you utilise it correctly.

Advertising on social media is just the tip of the iceberg, with so many additional layers underneath the surface that can help your business both generate greater user engagement and connect with its target demographic in real time. In essence, social media is a microcosm of communities and groups that can become powerful advocates for your brand. How so? More often than not, loyal customers are a thoroughly underutilised marketing resource. This is something that social media marketing can actually change.

Finding community managers to help build, nurture, and ultimately work in social media communities for your brand is the key to this discipline. Creating advocates for your brand in digital spheres is a great asset to have when conducting a specialised marketing campaign such as promoting an upcoming and highly anticipated product launch. The goal of social media is user-generated content, or in simpler terms, having these communities voluntarily talking about and sharing your brand. This is essentially why influencer marketing has become as valuable a commodity as it is in the present day.


One of the most powerful tools in the digital marketing tool belt is business data analytics. Digital footprints are real, and if you are clever enough or even just know where to look, you can learn so much about your customers, your competitors’ customers, and the industry you occupy as a whole.

Data analytics is all about observing how your customers behave in any digital channel you have access to. Whether you’re using tools or widgets to scrape data from external websites, or keeping a close eye on your own website metrics, analytics is key to optimising your content digital marketing strategies.

Information like where customers click through to, how long they spend on a page, their navigation pathways, conversion rates, and so much more are all available through your metrics and data analytics practices. In short, data analytics isn’t so much a discipline within digital marketing as it is the lifeblood of your marketing campaigns themselves. A well-planned digital campaign should be informed by analytics, and analytics should be the cornerstone of the majority of decision-making in any modern business.

Email Marketing

Email marketing to some may seem a little ‘old school’, but it’s as important today as it’s ever been. Email marketing (also often referred to as EDM marketing) isn’t just about flooding your customer’s inbox, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate to your customers that you know them. As a digital marketing discipline, email marketing is an art form and can be a big boost to your bottom line if you have the resources to do it properly. Investing in technology to support automation and personalisation, is the key to executing email marketing effectively. It shows you know your customers and only serves them relevant content in their emails.

Content Marketing

Content tends to be the unsung hero of digital marketing, in that it actually drives virtually all digital marketing strategies and as such, should be a crucial part of your strategic planning. What exactly is content marketing, however? Content marketing is all about ensuring what you develop as a brand is relevant to your products and services, and plays a role in building the reputability of your business in digital spaces, including your website, social media profiles, and even your digital advertisements.

Ideally, your content marketing practices should be evergreen over simply being responses to internet trends. Creating content for the sake of a digital trend or fad is dangerous and shouldn’t be done without proper care and attention, as it can potentially lead to your business being perceived as dated and thus, less of an authority in the eyes of Google.

Content marketing should be a long-term planning exercise to identify how you will build an audience, keep them engaged, and get them to act in the form of becoming a new patron or client of your business. Alongside this, your content marketing strategy should maintain a core focus on building your brand, acquiring and retaining customers, and ensuring that your business remains part of the conversation, so to speak. In essence, your content marketing efforts should complement all of the disciplines of digital marketing that we’ve already mentioned.

 Start Sooner Than Later

Although digital marketing may seem fairly simple on its surface, as this guide shows, the many disciplines that sit below digital marketing as an umbrella term, all come with their own unique processes and considerations. Each component of digital marketing that we’ve outlined above, can significantly impact the performance of your business. For this reason, focusing on and investing in these key areas is crucial to improving your digital presence and business development strategies for both the short and long term.

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