Digital marketing is an umbrella term for all of your online marketing efforts. Businesses leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media, email, and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers.
The reality is, people spend twice as much time online as they used to 12 years ago. And while we say it a lot, the way people shop and buy really has changed, meaning offline marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be.
Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place and at the right time. Today, that means that you need to meet them where they are already spending time: on the internet.
Enter digital marketing — in other words, any form of marketing that exists online.
So What Exactly is Digital Marketing?
From your website itself to your online branding assets — digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures, and beyond — there’s a huge spectrum of tactics and assets that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. And the best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each asset or tactic supports their overarching goals.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common assets and tactics:
Ebooks and whitepapers
Social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
Earned online coverage (PR, social media, and reviews)
Online brochures and other publications
Branding assets (logos, fonts, etc.)
What’s the Difference Between Digital Marketing and Inbound Marketing?
On the surface, the two seem similar: Both occur primarily online, and both focus on creating digital content for people to consume. So what’s the difference?
The term ‘digital marketing’ doesn’t differentiate between push and pull marketing tactics (or what we might now refer to as ‘inbound’ and ‘outbound’ methods). Both can still fall under the umbrella of digital marketing.
Digital outbound tactics aim to put a marketing message directly in front of as many people as possible in the online space — regardless of whether it’s relevant or welcomed. For example, the garish banner ads you see at the top of many websites try to push a product or promotion onto people who aren’t necessarily ready to receive it.
On the other hand, marketers who employ digital inbound tactics use online content to attract their target customers onto their websites by providing assets that are helpful to them. One of the simplest yet most powerful inbound digital marketing assets is a blog, which allows your website to capitalize on the terms which your ideal customers are searching for.
Ultimately, inbound marketing is a methodology that uses digital marketing assets to attract, convert, close, and delight customers online. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is simply an umbrella term to describe online marketing tactics of any kind, regardless of whether they’re considered inbound or outbound.
Social Media Management
Social Media Management is the act of monitoring and participating in social conversations across platforms. The easiest way to view social media management is to consider that it includes 3 major social media disciplines: social listening, social analytics and social engagement. Social listening is when you gather everything that is being said about your brand. Social analytics help you understand all the social media chatter and relate it to possible business changes. Social engagement is the act of interacting, usually 1-on-1 but occasionally at scale, with customers over social channels. Most business take on social engagement to close the loop with customers on their issues.
The Path to Social Media Management
Companies often have multiple social media accounts on many different social platforms. They need to use social media management software and a social marketing team to stay on top of their social media presence.
Until recently, people tasked with social media management only focused on creating and executing plans to generate and post content. However, today’s consumers demand easy and non-disruptive customer support via social channels.
Social managers must schedule posts, respond to questions, manage communities, and participate in conversations. Leading companies combine their social customer service effort with their social media management programs. Social customer service includes routing customer service issues to the right department, updating customers about outstanding issues, and closing the loop with the customer seeing issues through to resolution.
Sales & Marketing Automation
At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon — that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required.
Though it’s not the easiest marketing initiative to execute on, marketing automation is certainly not impossible. Imagine you’re trying to grow a plant. First you need fertile soil ripe for the growth of your plant. Next you need seeds themselves to care for, and last you need water and light in order to nurture those seeds into a lush, blooming plant. It’s not foolproof, but it’s not impossible. In our story, effective marketing automation looks just like nurturing this plant does. At the end of the day, we hope we’ve nurtured our leads (the seedlings) well enough to produce actual paying customers (a lush, full-grown plant.)
However, the term “marketing automation” has become a buzz-word, where marketers seek out marketing automation software under the impression that all of the digital marketing tools necessary for growth, including those needed to generate new leads, roll up under the hood of marketing automation. This misconception leaves many marketers with sophisticated tools to automate the middle of their funnel, but no solution to generating new leads to nurture in the first place.
The consequence is that marketers begin buying lists of email addresses to nurture instead of generating inbound leads. While it seems like a quick fix, it’s not a long-term solution, nor does it create the fertile ground for a healthier, longer relationship with your future customers. In our plant analogy, it’s sort of like using artificial chemicals or enhancers to make your plant grow faster. Sure, it seems like a good, quick fix–but it doesn’t set you up for future, long-term success.
What are the keys to successful marketing automation?
Though there are many pieces that must be put in place to establish a successful marketing automation strategy, there are two extremely key principles to keep in mind when developing a strategy that scales and evolves with your customers.
(1) Recognising that marketing automation does not do marketing and lead generation for you, but can help scale your successful efforts.
The first step is building a pipeline of good fit leads by generating relevant, optimised content that speaks to your prospect’s needs and challenges. This is where inbound marketing becomes the building blocks of your marketing funnel.
(2) Centering your marketing messages around the real, live person at the receiving end of your campaigns.
That means we should treat them like a real person, not a fragmented self across different tools like email, social media, etc. If we can leverage all the marketing tools, channels and behavioural data possible to paint a complete picture of a person, we can nurture them based on their unique challenges and interests, not based solely on the emails they open or click through.
Digital transformation is the profound transformation of business and organisational activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of a mix of digital technologies and their accelerating impact across society in a strategic and prioritised way, with present and future shifts in mind.
While digital transformation is predominantly used in a business context, it also impacts other organisations such as governments, public sector agencies and organisations which are involved in tackling societal challenges such as pollution and aging populations by leveraging one or more of these existing and emerging technologies.
Digital transformation is a journey with multiple connected intermediary goals, in the end striving towards continuous optimisation across processes, divisions and the business ecosystem of a hyper-connected age where building the right bridges in function of that journey is key to succeed.
A digital transformation strategy aims to create the capabilities of fully leveraging the possibilities and opportunities of new technologies and their impact faster, better and in more innovative way in the future. A digital transformation journey needs a staged approach with a clear roadmap, involving a variety of stakeholders, beyond silos and internal/external limitations. This roadmap takes into account that end goals will continue to move as digital transformation de facto is an ongoing journey, as is change and digital innovation.
Web design and Development
A Web development process is a documented outline of the steps needed to be taken from start to finish in order to complete a typical Web design project. It divides and categorizes the work and then breaks these high-level sections into tasks and resources that can be used as a road map for each project.
Every significant web project poses unique challenges, but the overall process of developing a complex web site generally follows six major stages that you should think through before crafting your final project planning and proposal documents:
1. Site definition and planning
2. Information architecture
3. Site design
4. Site construction
5. Site marketing
6. Tracking, evaluation, and maintenance
Developing a web site – either small or large is a process that may have far-reaching budgetary, personnel, and public relations consequences for an organisation, both during the development of the site and long after its deployment. Too many web sites begin life as ad hoc efforts, created by small interest groups working in isolation from their peers elsewhere in the organisation and without fully considering the site’s goals within the context of the organisation’s overall mission. The result of poorly planned, hasty development efforts often is an “orphan site,” starved of resources and attention.
As you consider the development process outlined below, note that the construction of the pages that make up the web site is one of the last things that takes place in a well-designed project.
Nash Rg Silan
Executive Brand Consultant