A New Definition of Marketing for Digital Marketers

A New Definition of Marketing for Digital Marketers

Written by: Komail Mithani

August 15, 2012 10:08 am 0 comments

Over the years, we’ve witnessed an astonishing shift in the roles and responsibilities of the marketing department in every organization. Today, the future and landscape of marketing is changing continuously and at a rapid rate. In this post, I want to examine a new proposed definition of the term marketing.

What is the definition of marketing for digital marketers?

Image from Brand Police

What is marketing?

In today’s digital landscape where the consumer has an infinite amount of resources at the click of a mouse and is in more power that ever to weed through outbound messages, it’s a challenge to influence, maintain, and keep a consumer’s attention throughout their life cycle. According to Wikipedia, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” In my opinion,

Marketing is a cross-departmental activity that acts to continuously create and distribute sharable content to a specific target market via innovative communication channels to engage, persuade, inform, inspire, and ask “what if” that influence a purchase decision, create trust and creditability with a consumer, and build a relationship that fosters an authentic, transparent, and collaborative community.

What does this new definition mean?

“Marketing is a cross-departmental activity…”

Gone are the silos where one department oversees an organization’s brand, reach, target market interactions, tactics and initiatives, etc. Marketing is just not the responsibility of one department, but has become a shared collaborative effort with various internal and external teams across an organization. Nowadays, departments such as customer service, sales, product development, human resources, and marketing are coordinating and integrating with one another to serve consumers and provide a unique experience that increase retention and reputation, while managing business goals and objectives. However, it’s marketing’s role to become the driving force for change and evolution within an organization and guide departments across the organization. External teams such as brand advocates or consumer advisory councils are helping to change the direction and perception of an organization’s brand.

“…that acts to continuously create and distribute sharable content…”

Content is king. Consumers no longer what to hear messages thrown at them, they want to get their questions answered. The question isn’t what your company does, but what does your company do for ME? Developing valuable and remarkable content that attracts consumers’ eyes and helps them solve a problem creates creditability and trust. Notice the addition of the word “sharable.” This means content developed must be shared through various social networks, enabling you to utilize your brand’s and consumer’s social reach. Lets face it, you can’t ignore social media anymore. This approach to content is known as inbound marketing.

“…to a specific target market…”

As always, marketers must be able to clearly define their target market and adapt content and language that speaks to them and answers their questions. Buyer personas has helped marketers articulate the needs of their consumers, which is a detailed example of the ideal buyer of the organization’s product or service. A buyer persona should identify a consumer’s goals, preferences, aspirations, and needs your product can fulfill.

“…via innovative communication channels…”

What channels of communication does your target market prefer? Are they on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or a niche social network? Do they prefer receiving email? You have to ask yourself, what communication channels can I use to both attract prospective consumers and retain my current customers? Inbound marketing involves using various techniques such as SEO, SEM, Social Media, Blogging, and Video to attract consumers to your organization. Finding the right mix of techniques that can be traced with outcomes is the challenge you and your department will have to figure out. Yes, this can also include traditional methods such as trade shows, direct mail, advertising, etc. What is the most effective way to reach your target audience?

“…to engage, persuade, inform, inspire, and ask “what if”

Consumers want an experience with your organization, not just your product or service. The content you continuously provide and the interactions your employees have with consumers must deliver a notable experience that can be shared, talked about, and spread via word-of-mouth. Consumers demand the best possible customer experience and will search high and dry for that experience and a product and organization that meets their specific needs. How is your organization inspiring your consumers today? What experience are you providing them that is setting you apart from your competition? Ever heard of a company called Zappos? I recommend Tony’s book, Delivering Happiness.

“…that influence a purchase decision…”

This is where analytics and data make a large play in your marketing. Marketing departments must analyze all their marketing efforts to make better decisions. Your organization needs to measure everything, analyze campaign outcomes, and tie everything back to your overall business objectives. You’re now accountable for your online activities and need to understand what important key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure, track, report, and refine. You need to figure out what is working and what is no longer worth the investment. Everything you do online is measurable and it needs to lead to your bottom-line. Yes, you’re spending time creating remarkable content for your target market, but you need to measure how these tactics are effecting your sales funnel, overall sales, customer lifecycle, lead generation, and more.

“…create trust and creditability with a consumer, and builds a relationship that fosters an authentic, transparent, and collaborative community.”

In a customer-drive marketplace, consumers want a relationship with your organization. They want you to be authentic and transparent with them as much as you can. However, that doesn’t mean sending them your balance sheet, but listen to your customers’ feedback, share their stories with others, and do something special for those that evangelize and share your organization with everyone. Consumers need to belong to something and want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want you to foster a community where they can share their ideas, build relationships with your organization and others, and create trust. Consumers rely on an organization with an authentic and personal voice – are you delivering that to them? This idea comes from Wikibrands: Reinventing Your Company In A Customer-Driven Marketplace, an excellent read I suggest every marketer take the time to look into.

Well there it is, a new definition for marketing in our current digital landscape. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.