What is Digital Marketing and do we really need it?

In our last article we touched on the differences between inbound and outbound marketing, rather elegantly summarised in the diagram we showed you by Rand Fishkin.  (Incidentally, why is it that so many high profile people in marketing – or spokespeople for marketing – have names like “Rand”?  Please do let us know if you have the answer.)

We also introduced the terminology “digital marketing”, which is an umbrella term for various inbound marketing techniques that are proving so effective …

And it’s this very effectiveness that has led us to begin a twelve chapter story on digital marketing, which we hope you’ll find enjoyable and useful.  We’re not promising it will be quite as enjoyable as A Christmas Carol – which everyone should read/re-read every December – but we are promising it will be rather more helpful in gaining you new customers.

But before we “deep dive” (and since we’re talking about marketing we’ll be fairly cavalier with our use of its terminology) we thought that we would begin, as at the start of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, at the beginning.  What is marketing?  Here are some definitions:

The action or business of promoting and selling products and services, including market research and advertising.

A bit vague?  How about this?

The means of communication between the company and the consumer audience. Marketing is the adaptation of the commercial activities and use of institutions by the organisations with a purpose to induce behavioural change on a short-term or permanent basis.

Better?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  How about this one.

The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer.  It includes the co-ordination of what are termed the 4 P’s of marketing:

  1.  identification, selection and development of a product
  2. determination of its price
  3. selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place
  4. development and implementation of a promotional strategy

This seems to be a fairly comprehensive definition of what marketing is – but does it actually work?  Does anybody buy anything as a result?  That question might better be re-phrased, wouldn’t we buy the products and services anyway without being marketed at or sold to?  Opinions vary.

  • Marketing is really just flirting.
  • The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
  • Make the customer the hero of your story.
  • Without marketing something terrible happens … NOTHING!
  • If dogs don’t like your dog food, the packaging doesn’t matter.
  • Content is King, but marketing is Queen … and runs the household.

And this classic from Woody Allen:

“I have no idea what I’m doing. But incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm”.

So does anything at all really influence us to buy something, especially if we didn’t want it in the first place?  Can advertising – particularly if it interrupts something we’re enjoying – have the opposite effect and actually discourage us from buying?  Is the sole remaining function of marketing simply to inform or educate us, let us know something exists, and then we make our own choice?  Or is it really clever, subtle stuff, working on us in ways we can’t even imagine?  Those cars driving on lonely mountain roads at speeds which are never possible on our decidedly un-lonely (not to say busy) suburban stretches of red traffic lights – will they make us buy the car?  The gorgeous scantily clad couples giving one another provocative looks – do they fill us with an urge to buy the perfume?

We’ll put the case for and against in our next articles … but if you can’t wait, and want to “deep dive” with experts in the field, then see our services and contact us with any queries you may have or call us any time on 020 7199 8713

We’re waiting to surprise, amaze and delight you!

Did you find this article interesting? Why not share it with your friends and colleagues?