Who Invented Digital Marketing? A Comprehensive Guide

Learn about who invented digital marketing and how it has evolved over time from Ray Tomlinson's first email in 1971 to modern day e-commerce.

Who Invented Digital Marketing? A Comprehensive Guide

The development of digital marketing is inextricably linked to the evolution of technology. One of the earliest milestones occurred in 1971, when Ray Tomlinson sent the first email, setting up the platform for people to send and receive files across different machines. However, the period most widely recognized as the dawn of digital marketing is 1990, when the Archie search engine was created as an index of FTP sites. By the 1980s, computers had enough storage capacity to store large amounts of customer data. Companies began to opt for online methods such as database marketing instead of relying on a limited list broker.

This type of database allowed companies to track customer information more effectively, thus transforming the relationship between buyer and seller. However, manual processes were not as efficient. The term 'digital marketing' was first used in the 1990s. The digital age took off with the advent of the Internet and the development of Web 1.0. The Web 1.0 platform enabled users to find the information they were looking for, but it did not allow them to share this information through the web.

Until then, marketers around the world were still uncertain about the digital platform; they weren't sure if their strategies would work since the Internet had not yet been widely adopted. With the release of the first web browsers in the early 90s, personal use of the Internet grew. Marketers jumped on board right away. In 1991, Computer Literacy, a Silicon Valley bookstore, started selling books to local customers via the Internet. Amazon quickly followed suit in 1995, shifting from selling books to people anywhere in the country and thus helping to create modern e-commerce. Marketing has been around for ages, from door-to-door Tupperware salespeople to paper boys shouting in the street trying to sell newspapers.

However, digital marketing is much newer; it was invented with the growth of the Internet. One of the key moments pinpointed as marking the beginning of the Internet was in 1971 when Ray Tomlinson sent his first email. Although Tomlinson sent it to himself, his technology set up a platform for people to send and receive files across different machines. This led to a shift in digital marketing space as wholesale companies began optimizing their websites for higher search engine rankings. In 1995, CSNL launched its Internet services in India, which marked the beginning of digital marketing in India.

Some argue that Gugliemo Marconi, who invented radio in 1896, was actually the world's first digital marketer; this caused a radical change in digital marketing space as companies optimized their websites to rank higher on search engines. Others will say that computer engineer Ray Tomlinson should be credited with giving birth to digital marketing. In simple terms, digital marketing is a form of promoting products through the Internet or any other electronic medium. A knowledge manager in project management and digital marketing, Avantika's area of interest is project design and analysis for digital marketing, data science and analysis companies. People have switched from using traditional media such as newspapers and television to tablets, phones and computers; this is where digital marketers have gained most ground. In practice, digital marketing involves managing various forms of a company's online presence such as websites, mobile applications and social media company pages.

Improving brand awareness is essential for digital marketing and marketing in general due to its impact on brand perception and consumer decision-making. As search engines made web more accessible and attracted new users to it, marketers had no choice but to adapt to this new change in digital environment. To create an effective digital strategy, companies must review their digital offering (what they offer customers) and communicate it using digital customer segmentation techniques. For example, Optimove specializes in precision digital marketing using predictive analytics power. Describe first stage of forming a digital marketing strategy for broader digital marketing system. Digital marketing became a tool for interacting with customers because it was easier than paper forms to store customer information on the Internet.

Generally speaking, investing in digital marketing aims at increasing engagement, sales and profits; building brand awareness; and connecting with current and future customers.

Marci Ramsfield
Marci Ramsfield

Infuriatingly humble travel guru. Unapologetic baconaholic. Incurable gamer. Award-winning troublemaker. Lifelong tv geek.

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