“What exactly is Digital Marketing?” – This is a question my 12-year-old son asked last week.
So, I started explaining the same to him.
"Before I talk about 'digital', I will first explain what is 'Marketing' in brief".
He seemed excited to hear more about it.
What is Marketing?
At its core, Marketing is the process of understanding your customers (target segment) and communicating with them through the right channels at the right time to build a great relationship with them, which helps in selling our products.
So marketing starts even before a product has been created.
Marketing starts by asking consumers who they are, what they want, and what they care about. This helps us in making the right products and solutions that will solve their problems.
As per Peter F. Drucker
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself…The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous”
“So, every company needs marketing?”, he asked curiously.
Yes, this has been there in different forms right from the oldest times when people started selling items in market-squares.
Word of Mouth marketing has been there for ages.
Advertising is one of the components of marketing.
“I love advertisements…some are really funny” my son said.
“Yes, these help in creating good perception about the company and the product, thus creating a strong brand. If people trust your brand, they will buy your products.” I continued further. Many companies advertise their products and services on the TV, radio and newspapers/magazines.
“So, what is digital marketing?” he asked, not able to contain his curiosity.
“Have you used Google to search information?” I asked him. He said “Yes, of course. Everyone uses it nowadays”.
“How about Facebook or YouTube or company websites?” I probed further. He nodded.
All these are types of digital marketing channels. They display interesting articles, videos, whitepapers etc. which are different types of content.
More people are now spending time on the internet. They use it for learning new things, for entertainment etc. Hence the companies also spend more money on these channels and have shifted to digital marketing.
Most digital channels are direct response marketing. Direct response marketing is a type of marketing designed to elicit an instant response from the prospects by taking specific actions (like calling a number, clicking a link, filling a form etc.).
Digital channels also have lower cost and provide quick feedback about the response on the marketing activity. This is due to better tracking which is possible on the digital channels. So you can see which content is doing well and which one is not.
“What does content mean and why is it useful?” my son was confused.
Content & Content Marketing
“Content is very important. Any material that helps the customers to understand more about their problem and how we solve the problem is content. It could be in the form of videos, blogs, whitepapers, PPTs etc.”
This content should be relevant to your niche (target segment). We drive attention of people (traffic) to these content by promoting them on our social media, Ads etc. and by improving our SEO.
Over time, if the content is useful and the customers relate to it, they start trusting our brand.
Only then, the customers will be ready to buy from us. Since they trust us, they will be open to do business with us without any pushy sales.
All this will create wealth for the company and grow our profits.
This is called as the CATT Marketing Funnel & framework.
“Wow, this is so logical. Even I can understand this” my son beamed with happiness. “But what is SEO? I did not understand this”.
“SEO is Search Engine Optimization. This ensures that search engines like Google, Bing etc. send lot of traffic to our websites and landing pages. It involves writing relevant articles and also asking other people to share their experiences about us on their websites”.
“So just doing this will get lots of customers to your website?” he asked curiously.
No, we need to have an Integrated Marketing strategy in place. Since we are focusing more on Digital Marketing, we prepare an Integrated Digital Marketing strategy.
“What is that?”
Integrated Digital Marketing Strategy
It basically means that all our digital channels work together in a coordinated fashion, so that we attract more customers to our content & website.
We also post these contents on our social media so people can read about these.
Then we retarget the customers who have visited our websites or the social media pages.
Running paid ads that are displayed to our prospects create awareness about our products.
Prospects are encouraged to signup to our newsletters by entering their emails on our website. We send newsletters to our prospects talking about our content which will be useful to them.
Parallelly, we keep improving our SEO so we get more traffic from search engines. Thus we plan all our marketing activities which reinforce the other activities.
We use automated emailing tools and marketing automation tools to continuously be in touch with our prospects across multiple social media channels. (Read this article to know more about a tool for email marketing. )
Apart from this, I also post on my social media pages. This helps to spread out the content across my connections. Since people trust my personal brand, they read and engage with my posts.
“What is a personal brand? How do you build it?” asked my son.
I explained “People like to interact with other people and not with a brand. This makes the interaction more relatable and trustworthy. When a person generates awareness and trust for a company, this is a personal brand.”
But it is not easy to have lots of connections / followers. You need to provide value to your connections so they spend their valuable time reading your posts and content.
First, you need to learn new skills deeply and gain knowledge. Then you need to apply the same in real life, so you can finetune your skills. This practical knowledge will give you much more insights and ideas. You will also gain more confidence.
Then you start teaching, as this will force you to think deeply and more clearly about the subject. You start making notes of your ideas. You can share these on social media posts or create a blog on particular topics. Other people will share their perspectives and you will learn new concepts.
As you continue doing this, you may even write enough content to publish a book. This will grow your personal brand even further.
You will also get consulting assignments so that you can share your ideas with other companies to help them. You will also learn more from these assignments.
Slowly, more people would like to learn from your expertise. Then you may become a mentor and teach many people at the same time. Overtime, you may get good insights from this community and may launch a start-up to solve some of their critical problems.
Summary & Conclusion
Thus, the CATT framework executed by the integrated digital marketing and supported by a strong personal brand becomes an unstoppable force!
All this ensures higher sales once the customers start trusting us and the leads are nurtured carefully. This ensures that our sales funnel is full with prospects at different stages of the funnel.
“Wow, this is great, Dad! It looks to be a very interesting and exciting field. I would grow up and become a great marketer!” beamed my son after he understood the details.
“Yes, sure!”, I said smiling as I successfully “marketed” Marketing to my son!
PS: Many of the frameworks are from Digital Deepak.