The advent of the Internet has changed the marketing world in many ways. Back in 1996, traditional marketing teams were hard at work, using tried-and-tested approaches for the four Ps: product, promotion, price and place. Communication and brand-building strategies were at play, along with SWOT analyses and the five forces.
Fast forward to 2006. Companies now had online marketing teams operating under a different set of priorities. Among their goals were to achieve higher Google rankings, enhance website traffic and attract more followers on Twitter and more “likes” on Facebook. They also wanted to improve keyword density and build links for the purpose of SEO, amongst others.
The years that followed saw positive changes in how Google ranked sites, how Facebook handled brand marketing, and how link building was done, as described by Credo founder John in a March 2016 study published on Moz. Online marketers, however, didn’t take this as an opportunity to step up their marketing and brand-building game. Instead, most of them stuck to what they knew best.
The thing is, many online marketers don’t know the basics of the industry, having joined the field even without taking a single marketing course.“Outbound” strategies like publicity and advertising are foreign to them. What they do know revolves around practices and premises that have given rise to new buzzwords.
For starters, there’s “inbound marketing.” This term was coined in the mid-2000s by a company called HubSpot, which specializes in inbound marketing software. However, according to former employee Dan Lyons, HubSpot put together sales and marketing teams even before they decided what product to offer.
You might have also heard of the term “content marketing,” which websites like Wikipedia define as a marketing strategy that entails content and media publication and sharing for the purpose of attracting and retaining customers. This Term was popularized by Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute along with online marketers. There was much buzz about how “Content is king!”For marketing experts, this phrase is not surprising at all, as every form of marketing in one way or another is based on content.
It’s important, however, to draw the line between spammy and meaningful content. Online marketers tend to opt for content with shock value ora potential to go viral, usually in the form of a photo or a video.But marketing is mainly about relaying a message over a channel to an audience in order to spur demand, move people through sales funnels, and help build a brand.
This was how it was decades ago, and this is how it should be today.The only difference is in the tools and channels available.While a1950s marketer would have transmitted the message he or she created about a product via a newspaper print ad, today’s marketer has two extra channel options: mobile devices and the Internet. For instance, he or she could upload on YouTube a video containing the message about a product. Thus, marketers should feel free to embrace and make the most out of this increased variety in content formats, rather than to treat content as a commodity and let creativity take a backseat.
Tips for marketers
If you feel like you’ve been too focused on technology and are open to changing your mindset and approach to marketing, here are some helpful pointers:
- Learn brand-building techniques. It’s not too late to take an introductory course or read a textbook on marketing basics such as Principles of Marketing by Philip T. Kotler and Gary Armstrong.
- Look into traditional direct-marketing, advertising and publicity principles that you can integrate into the modern channels you’re currently using.
- Skip the traditional marketer and digital marketer labels. It probably won’t be long before the distinction between traditional and digital marketing fades, especially with the fast pace that human activity is shifting online.
- Don’t concentrate on a single channel. Find out about the best practices for the different channels then try working across both online and offline channels.
- Seek direct-marketing alternatives. This may require stepping out of your comfort zone, but you also need to put on your brand marketer’s hat on at times.
- Stay skeptical. Before you act on a new concept or claim, request for evidence or sources or ask your chosen online marketing agency London that the rationale behind it be explained.
Online marketing may seem like a totally new or different world compared to traditional marketing. But this doesn’t mean there is no room in it for longstanding marketing principles. The tools and channels may have changed, but the core marketing process stands. Look beyond algorithms, automating best practices and the latest buzzwords, and you’ll see how powerful real content marketing can be.
Christopher Austin is the writer to this article. He is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on business related topics. He also writes for some social media and email marketing sites.