Digital marketing must support your marketing and business goals, so in my book – Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice – I define Digital marketing, also called online marketing, simply as:
Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies and media.
This is the big picture which you need a strategy to support, but, as we explain on Smart Insights, to be successful in online marketing you also need mastery of the details to compete across the main digital platforms that consumers or businesses use to find and select products.
The algorithms used to power Facebook, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn and the publishers control your visibility and how much you pay, so to get visibility digital marketers need to get to grips with the latest techniques. It’s why my books on professional marketing run to over 500 pages, yet they can only touch on the best practices we detail on Smart Insights.
The six pillars comprising digital marketing
When training and consulting on digital strategy and as recommended in our free template, I recommend grouping digital activities in these six areas which each need someone responsible to manage them and improve results.
A focus on each of these is important regardless of the size of business. The pillars help show that success in digital marketing isn’t just about digital media and platforms, important as they are. Creating an effective digital experience, messaging and quality content to fuel your digital strategy are all vital too.
In today’s demanding digital landscape, there is internal and external pressure on marketers to continue to grow during inflation.
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In smaller businesses, it may be one person such as a digital marketing manager responsible for all, or one for each pillar with many team members in larger businesses. The six pillars are:
- 1. Strategy and governance (or management): Goals – Analytics, Strategy (Segmentation, Targeting, Brand Positioning), integration, marketing and sales alignment, resourcing, structure, marketing technology and data
- 2. Goals and measurement: Forecasts, digital reporting including KPI dashboards, attribution and customer insight
- 3. Media: Paid, owned, earned media including Search, Social and Display ads
- 4. Experience: Desktop / mobile website and apps. Customer service.
- 5. Messaging: Email, Chat, Social media, customer service, on-site interactions and personalization
- 6. Content: Product and blog content to fuel content marketing, PDF downloads, Interactive tools
Our free digital marketing plan template has more details on the key decisions for each of these.
This simple division of digital best practices can also help students learn beyond the complexities of the different types. I have created this video to introduce these terms.
How does digital marketing differ for B2B and B2C marketing?
Many of the largest brands in the world today including the digital platforms like Facebook (Meta) and Google (Alphabet) are consumer brands, but when considering how best to use digital strategies, it’s important to consider business-to-business brands too. There are many B2B companies which often serve B2C brands.
Smart Insights developed our RACE Marketing planning framework so that it works equally in B2B and B2C markets. This is the case since it integrates your customers’ digital experiences interacting with brands across Reach, Act, Convert and Engage – the full customer journey. You can download our free digital marketing plan template to find out more.