Digital marketing is a constantly changing field. In a world where Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have brought innovation to the forefront of community engagement, of course we will modify the way we reach consumers.
As each company focuses their marketing efforts on SEO and digital strategy, it’s easy to forget the marketing basics. It’s vital to have digital capability, but if your company can’t pass Basic Marketing 101, then it will be close to impossible to master the skills that will take you to the top.
Here are the marketing basics you need to know:
- Outline your “why” — what makes you different
- Know your weaknesses in addition to your strengths
- Write relevant content (not just lots of it)
- Research, not hunches, should define your strategy
- Segment your audience into groups
- Understand your competition’s strengths
- Show, don’t tell
Ready to dive into these marketing basics? Here’s how to get back to basics when it comes to digital marketing.
BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION
We’re talking about Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why.” More than knowing what your company does or how your company does it, you need to know the core of your values. This understanding is what will lead you to an in-depth understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and help you pursue basic marketing strategies more effectively.
Building your brand is an essential part of marketing capabilities, but it’s not just choosing colors and using a few buzzwords.
Your brand includes:
- Your purpose
- What differentiates you from those that already exist
- Your process
- How you work
Your brand should emanate through each part of your business strategy and be recognizable to your consumers. For instance, branding isn’t necessarily recognizing the McDonald’s golden arch, but the emotions and memories elicited based on that recognition.
Knowing the ins and outs of your brand voice and what makes it valuable to your customers is the only way you can provide the information they’re looking for.
Brands are constantly seeking to think outside of the box, hoping to have that one clever line or ploy that makes them a dinner table conversation. However, it’s impossible for an innovative idea to be set into motion if you can’t define your strategy.
That’s like telling a story through improvisation.
Marketing Basics Tip: Build your brand with thoughtful insight and honest evaluation. It sounds intimidating, but MAKE has experts that are here to help.
LET RESEARCH GUIDE THE STRATEGY
There’s a well-told tale that says “Content is King.” But that’s not the whole story.
When it comes to digital marketing, it’s not enough to write good content anymore—it has to be relevant. What purpose does a well-crafted tweet serve if it references an event that no one is talking about?
What is the basic purpose of marketing research?
Relevant content means knowing your consumer—and that requires dedicated marketing research. The basic purpose of marketing research is to understand what exactly it is that your consumer wants to know.
Know your consumer
As marketers, we understand the importance of individualization. While it’s simple to group your potential consumers together into one group titled “all of our customers,” not all of them will respond the same way. Your 70-year-old customer who is buying your product for their granddaughter is not the same as the granddaughter who buys it for herself.
Never underestimate them
Always remember who you’re trying to talk to, and never underestimate them. The teenagers that make up Gen Z aren’t just kids anymore, they’re consumers, and if you haven’t changed your content to adapt it won’t be long before they have moved on to someone who has.
Figure out how to reach them
Know what your consumers are paying attention to and know what they’re looking for in a brand experience. Research allows you to be thoughtful in your pursuit of customers, which is why brands should prioritize it. You might think you have great content, but research can help you elevate that to create a stronger connection with your market. Research transforms a one-way message into a conversation.
Marketing Basics Tip: If you’re aware of what your consumers believe, you can translate that into a positive brand strategy. How to create a content calendar that works.
UNDERSTAND YOUR COMPETITION
Truly great teams analyze their own film and their competitor’s film. Once you know your own strengths, you can see how they stand out within your industry.
Your competitive advantage is relative to the rest of your industry. With competitor analysis, you can make sure that you aren’t wasting your time bragging about a capability that your competition does better.
Determining what capabilities of yours to market is impossible without the understanding and awareness of your competitors’ capabilities. That would be like Apple bragging about their great prices, when the real differentiator is their innovation.
This isn’t something to do once, either. It’s important to keep a continuous inventory of your competition and their capabilities, not only to measure them against your own offerings but to make sure you’re promulgating the best scope of your brand relative to existing companies.
As technology (and your business) evolves, so will brand capabilities, so it’s necessary to know the strengths of the other team every single step of the way.
Brand knowledge and competitive research go hand in hand. It’s important to know your competitor value, but without knowing your own value that information isn’t as helpful. It takes a combination to be fully equipped for your digital strategies.
Marketing Basics Tip: Combine your personal brand voice with your in-depth research and you’ll know how to talk to your customers better than your competition. Learn more about understanding your brand voice with this blog.
USE VISUALS TO GRAB ATTENTION
While the importance of connection has dramatically increased with the introduction of digital marketing capability, blogs and long-form content are frankly old-school tactics.
It’s crucial for brands to be storytellers, and the authors of today are fighting way too much noise to rely only on text to sell a message.
When it comes to younger consumers, you’re working with a shocking eight-second attention span. That means you have eight seconds to make yourself relevant. Not all of us are bull riders who specialize in doing a whole lot within an eight-second window, so we have to get creative with those precious seconds. And unfortunately, you can’t read a blog in eight seconds (although sometimes reporting shows that people sure try to cram in an entire blog in that amount of time!)
Simply put: Text-only content doesn’t cut it in digital marketing anymore.
Images attract 94% more clicks and 40x more shares than text-only posts, and on top of that, conversion rates for companies using custom visuals are 7x higher. Visuals also appeal emotionally to consumers and help them to connect better to a brand’s message or purpose.
This isn’t a stat just for brands who want to connect with millennials. As a world, we’re just more attracted to visual images. Every single brand should utilize imagery and videos to tell their story.
Marketing Basics Tip: Show don’t tell. Here’s why video marketing is essential in your content strategy.
UTILIZE THE RIGHT MARKETING CHANNELS
Say we’re best friends and you’re walking through the mall. You pass my favorite store and they’re having a 50% off sale (score!) – so you call me to let me know.
You’re in such a rush that you dial the wrong number. Your valuable insight has landed now in the inbox of a grumpy old man who thinks you’re leaving a spam message.
The moral of this story: You have to reach consumers through the right marketing channels.
Your consumers use different marketing channels. Some audiences choose Facebook while others prefer Twitter or LinkedIn. While you could make an educated guess as to where your audiences are, research and facts are a better option.
Here’s why it’s important to use the right social media platforms for your message:
Meet consumers where they’re at
No want wants to be spammed—especially not grumpy old men—and sending your message through the wrong channels feels a whole lot like spammy messages. Plus, it’s wasted time and effort: a big marketing basics no-no.
College students don’t get their information from the same place as their parents or their little brothers. Know who you’re talking to and how you plan to reach them.
Stay ahead of the curve
No matter how these channels evolve as technological capabilities continue to develop, you have to choose the right one if you want your customers to get the message.
When your message hits the right audience, they will want to have a conversation with you. The best, most innovative ideas can be wasted if it’s delivered on the wrong channel.
Your medium is as important as the message you’re sending through it. In many ways, your target market chooses your channel for you.
Marketing Basics Tip: Meet them where they’re at. Then, try to start a conversation that elicits a reply. Here are 10 ways to improve your social media platforms to reach your target audience.
TakE Action on the basics
Each of these fundamentals is vital and integrated. If you successfully do one, that’s great, but not always useful unless you’re checking the other boxes as well.
Here are a few of our other favorite marketing basics and insights for you to review:
- How to effectively integrate email marketing
- Easy tips for improving your website
- 5 quick wins for SEO
- Learn the basics of A/B testing
- When to hire a digital marketing agency
Just because they’re marketing fundamentals doesn’t mean they’re simple tasks. MAKE’s digital marketing services can help serve as an extension of your marketing team and help you implement marketing basics in a way that makes sense for your business and your budget.