Digital marketing is a hot topic right now, with more and more businesses understanding the value it brings. But let’s take a look at why ‘digital marketing’ is really just ‘marketing’, with the fundamentals remaining the same as they’ve always been.
There are lots of different definitions of “marketing” out there.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the body for professional marketers, states that “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”.
And they’re right (of course they are, they set the standards!), but fundamentally “marketing” can be summed up in a much simpler and yet more comprehensive way.
It’s about putting the right people with the right product.
That’s it. It literally is as simple as that.
Of course, everything that goes into successful marketing can be explored in much more detail, but that’s the ultimate end goal; making the right people aware of the right product.
It’s amusing then, to hear some people talk about digital marketing as if it’s any different.
Digital marketing is merely using digital technologies to achieve that goal of matchmaker. Digital is a tool in the marketer’s toolbox, not a completely different principal.
Let’s use social media, and specifically Twitter as an example.
Often, poor digital marketers will set growth targets in areas such as “Number of followers”.
As the client, you’ll then get a fancy report at the end of every month showing you that you’ve gained X% more followers.
But growing the number of Twitter followers you have isn’t the end goal.
Growing your followers is a tactic taken to achieve your end goal, which most normally is increased business/sales.
There’s a subtle difference, but the difference is fundamental to success.
There may well be a correlation, but without tracking and reporting this properly, small business owners can end up paying for services that don’t actually deliver them any value.
Indeed, things get more complicated as an increased number of followers may indeed increase your reputational value and help to promote your brand better and bring in business because of that.
But that’s not the message here. The message is the goals behind digital marketing aren’t any different to marketing in general, so don’t let the way they’re reported on be.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is another great example on this.
Getting higher up the search engine rankings and more people to your website is undoubtedly important, but again, it is not the end goal.
The end goal is matching people with product. Getting them to your site is not enough, you need to be getting the right people there and ensuring they go on the purchase.
That can be done through a range of practices such as landing page improvement (we’ll write about this one in the future), but we mustn’t lose sight of the end goal.
And that’s why ‘digital marketing’ is really just ‘marketing’.
You’ve still got to understand and utilise all the same fundamentals of marketing upfront for any activity to be successful.
You’ve got to be able to understand your ideal consumer in detail; what they’re interested in, where they hang out, who they listen to.
You’ve got to understand and price the product correctly, and know how to promote it to your audience.
Digital marketing is an amazing way of doing that.
There are some incredibly detailed advertising tools that allow local businesses to get in front of the right audience for a fraction of the cost they’d pay through other marketing channels.
And most importantly, it’s where the consumers are.
Reports of “the death of the high-street” are sad and whilst we’d encourage everyone to support local businesses and ‘buy-local’, having a good sign out the front of your store is no longer enough.
People spend an increasing amount of time online and provide so much valuable information about themselves there.
Their interests, their location, their age, where they work – the list goes on and on.
That’s why ‘digital marketing’ is really just ‘marketing’. It allows businesses to match the right people with the right product.
Everyone’s a winner.
Just make sure your business understands that.