Reflecting on the Impact of Digital Marketing on Modern Business

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Reflecting on the Impact of Digital Marketing on Modern Business

In September 2018, SharpNet celebrated its 20th anniversary. Over the course of two decades, they witnessed an incredible transformation: the emergence and evolution of digital marketing. Here is their insight into where online business and digital advertising stand today and where they are heading in the future.

Two decades ago, SharpNet's founder was a process engineering specialist at Agilent Technology, a company that split off from Hewlett Packard. As layoffs became frequent, he decided to take his fate into his own hands and start an SEO company. Within a year of his departure, his old department at Agilent was entirely shut down. His leap of faith into what would become SharpNet proved to be a wise decision.

In those early days, SEO wasn't even recognized as an industry. There were no established terms or acronyms for what we now call digital marketing. It was challenging to find skilled employees because broadband technology was still in its infancy and platforms like Google and Facebook didn't exist yet. Despite these obstacles, pioneers like SharpNet ventured into this uncharted territory and played a crucial role in shaping the digital landscape we have today.

Digital Marketing Changed the WorldIn those formative years of digital marketing, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Lycos, Excite were household names. Google emerged in 1998 but remained in beta for some time. By 2000, Google launched AdWords as an answer to Pay Per Click services offered by (later Overture). SharpNet had started offering PPC management services even before Google and Yahoo entered the game.

The evolution of digital commerce faced three significant challenges:

(1) Security Concerns: Initially, people were apprehensive about online shopping. However, with time and technological advancements, consumer confidence increased, allowing e-commerce giants like Amazon to flourish.

(2) High-Speed Internet: The expansion and affordability of high-speed internet across the U.S. were vital for the growth of digital commerce. Without it, services like streaming movies or browsing e-commerce sites would have been impracticable.

(3) Dot Com Boom and Bust: The initial boom and subsequent bust in the digital market affected its credibility for some years. However, innovators never stopped creating, and investors eventually regained their confidence in the potential of the internet.

Despite these challenges, the internet's transformative power continued to surge ahead. It brought a revolution that replaced traditional marketing channels with digital ones. Companies that adapted to this shift thrived while others floundered. It's a testament to how important digital marketing is for businesses today - your website is often your first impression on potential customers, so it needs to be as professional and appealing as a physical store.

Amazon serves as one of the most notable examples of internet success - it is currently the seventh largest retailer globally without a single physical store. As technology continues to evolve, so will digital marketing strategies.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents a new frontier in digital marketing. Google has already begun implementing AI with its product RankBrain. As AI technology becomes more sophisticated, it will fundamentally change how businesses interact with customers online - websites will become 'smarter' by personalizing content based on individual user preferences and behaviors.

This level of customization will redefine retail experiences online - imagine a retail website rearranging its products based on what you are most likely to buy! That's not something even physical stores can offer at this point. The future of digital marketing is undoubtedly exciting!