“What’s the deal with …” is so synonymous with the 90’s observational comedy Seinfeld that you can probably hear Jerry Seinfeld’s voice just reading it. The show often posed the question in relation to things in everyday life that, in some ways, don’t make sense. So, what’s the deal with digital marketing? It’s the question many security dealers, integrators and manufacturers are now asking, because many things about it seem not to make sense. 

At one point, most people thought they had digital marketing figured out. You get a website, maybe run some ads, set up a Facebook page, and you’re done, right? It wasn’t long, though, before most businesses were perplexed by the results. While digital marketing does include websites, social media, email, online advertising, SEO and mobile advertising, it is also a lot more. Digital marketing is a broad term classified as the collective efforts organizations make to connect with individuals in the online world and the processes included. It's world of impressions, views, conversations, clicks, follows, conversions and analytics.

What confounds most people in the security industry about digital marketing is how to measure its value. A prospect may consume or mention an email, social post or piece of content in passing, but that’s not closing a sale . . . or is it? 

Herein lies the heart of digital marketing (and the difference between it and traditional marketing). Digital marketing is relationship marketing and about something bigger than sales. It isn’t just being where 97 percent of the world’s population can be found. It is about being a part of the culture you are trying to reach. More than half of internet users report that digital marketing makes brands relevant to them, levels the playing field and impacts buying choices. 

How should this shape your marketing goals and expectations? Drastically. In traditional marketing, one ad was huge, win or lose. Today, your prospects consume your digital marketing as a whole because they control consumption while you control targeted dissemination. They do not have to wait for the next ad to come their way. Digital marketing makes you a part of their lives in an ongoing, culture-shifting process that includes branding, visibility, education, access, community and data. 

Digital marketing is the reality all of us in the security industry must embrace. It is not only the best way, it is the way to gain awareness, brand equity and traction.