One of a brands biggest stakeholders is its owner. A business enterprise may exist without trading, but there will always be some expense in maintaining its existence. A brand represents a product or product line that can include services. It may, or may not, share the same name with its owning enterprise. It is a product of marketing that can be transferred from enterprise to enterprise.
“Brand” is a product of marketing. It is an identity with a perception that is transferred to products. Brand development teams are responsible for shaping that perception. Marketing is all about promoting a brand, reaching out, attracting enquiries and profiling those that enquire to optimise future promotional effort. It includes defining customers through logic, psychology and experimentation, designing, creating and disseminating a message through media products, reaching out through many avenues and monitoring responses, profiling from the results to complete the cycle of defining customers and where and when they hang out.
Marketing includes brand development and feeds sales. Sales is a process of conversion from enquiry to trading… closing deals. To be most proficient in the whole process, two primary specialisations are recognised; that of marketing and that of sales. While the characteristics of specialisation for marketing are logic, psychology, communications and media design, and the ability to analyse data and implement strategies, the specialisation for sales are psychology and personal communication skills—a silver tongue helps. The marketing team attract interest while a sales team converts that interest to sales.
One of the major tasks of marketing is to locate market places at minimal cost. Market places are generally places where prospects hang out. Such places could include magazines or websites that cater to the industry that your prospects associate with. It is the job of marketing to ensure an organisations brands are promoted in these places. It is a science these days that involves brainstorming, design, concept creation, developing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators ) and methods of collecting data, all as part of finding and refining those marketplaces—both online and off-line and methods of communication.
One task in marketing would be to identify industry authorities and associations that publish a lot of content within a specific industry. If you are in the Australian building industry one such publisher would be “Architecture and Design”: http://www.architectureanddesign.com.au. They too have competitors that would be worth a look at. This moves into the area of media buying, which is another specialist area that involves strategising and taking advantage of third party media product placements and positioning across a range of outlets. Some organic opportunities may arise through invitation to provide complementary, factual, interesting, on-topic articles crediting you. This is the basis of success for participating in social media across today’s social media channels… they already exist, with large dedicated interest group audiences. Why reinvent the wheel when the current wagon might just be going in your direction—just jump on it.
Third party publishers and social media platforms do provide a conduit that may lead to a solid marketplace without having to do all the legwork for yourself. All that is required is an analysis of where those conduits lead and where your ideal market places are, at any given time, looking for the matches.
By now you should be able to see at least one of the roles of a marketing team. However locating prospects is just the start. Once located you need to deliver a message that invokes inquiry. Designing and creating this message is a part of communications and media—another task for the marketing team. Designing the message taps into psychology, creating the message through media products taps into media creation skills. There may be a cut-off point where specialists are then commissioned or contracted to cover some of these fields.
Again it does not end there. All efforts of promotion, no matter how subtle, need to be monitored and their success determined. From this, KPIs and a ROI (return on investment) can be established. This is much easier where the metrics are concrete, but for organic efforts the metrics are often less concrete and harder to determine. A longer survey period is required. Prospects that claim they heard of your brand through others, or social media, can be logged as a success of organic promotion, with a reservation for not knowing whether that statistic should be attributed to a byproduct of paid promotion, or organic effort.
Knowing where a prospect first heard of your brand will never be an exact science, as often they can’t even remember themselves. So other methods are employed to look for associations between campaign launches and responses. On the digital platform hits and other metrics can be collected and analysed with associations drawn to media launches, or other events. It provides an avenue of ascertaining performance results as far as attracting attention are concerned as this can be measured on the digital platform. It is all about monitoring the results of your marketing efforts, looking for optimisation in everything.
Digital marketing is a subset of marketing. The infiltration of the digital sphere in everyday life is so deep now that it has caught the attention of the business world. It is a field of marketing big enough on its own to justify its own department of specialists. Their first task is to ensure the organisations website appears at the top of appropriate search results—organically. SEO/SEM is a specialised field that requires constant research of search engine mutations to hold that top spot. The next objective is to attract an audience once the site is found. Not just to the landing page, but to much of the site. Human psychology and web design play a vital role. Not just aesthetics, but function as well. Many experts are of the opinion that “Form follows Function”. The objective is to deliver a message that induces enquiry.
The digital platform provides a much wider media scope than mainstream marketing, allowing multiple media to be deployed at relatively low cost and quick turnaround. Multimedia artists often take the work of graphic artists to another level through animation and audiovisual presentation as digital platform rich media content… something audiences have grown to love. A growing trend might see an animator working with every graphic designer… one produces graphics, the other gives it motion, rendering it to video form.
As with mainstream marketing, monitoring of effort vs results is required. The digital platform affords “monitoring programs” that can collect all kinds of metrics through interaction with a monitored site. These metrics provide the information to establish trends, like how many looked at the landing page, for how long, where they went from there, what page did they exit from and where did they originate from. This information should change after a new media release, or new content is added that should have impact on an audience behaviour. These associations between monitored metrics, campaign launches and content or page changes help determine the success of these initiatives. The metrics used become KPIs. Obtaining a ROI of marketing initiatives is complex. While accounting records all sales income and marketing expenses, impact from marketing campaigns may be spread over a long period, making it difficult to know which campaign to accurately attribute increased sales to in an environment of frequent proactive marketing.
It is a role of a digital marketing team to draw associations between human habits and collected metrics. If prospects spend only three seconds on a web page then it is highly likely that they were not interested in what they saw, or they got lost in poor design and navigation and moved on. Knowing this human psychological trait gives us clues in determining what should be inclusive as key performance indicators—a metric that measures the amount of time a viewer spends on a page for instance. A scenario like this would send the digital marketing team on a web page optimisation quest—was it the page design, the content, the way it was presented, or ineffective target profiling that induced this scenario. Choosing the correct KPIs helps identify performances, while a bit of human psychology helps determine what KPIs should be set up.
Many organisations like to collect some basic details of their audience so they can establish a future communications rapport. They often include a popup panel in their page to entice a viewer to become a subscriber. How many view your site and how many subscribe are also metrics that can be captured and interpreted in a number of ways. Perhaps one interpretation of high numbers venturing past the landing page but not subscribing is that you have an intriguing site, but the wrong people are finding it.
You got the media design right, but not the targeting profile. The same might be said if audiences were subscribing but not making any enquiries, although this would be considered as strong lead generation and a funnel to the sales department—but can they make conversions? After initial audience enquiries, the monitoring of metrics may have to switch to emails, or other support platforms that are used to conduct business if it is not all done through the initial site. Where sales and marketing are separate operations there will be a need for cooperation between the departments. The Shattuck group have published an ebook titled “Ten Things professional service websites must do to drive revenue”. It incorporates a guide to digital marketing KPIs.
The industry has figured out that many topics or fields of interest have their own influencer advocates. These are usually the people who represent a cause, or interest with great authority, respect, knowledge or influence. To go one step further organisations have even started to catalogue these influencers, knowing they will be sought after by educational and promotional organisations, so can generate income from their effort to help these educational and promotional organisations find influential people quickly. Again why reinvent the wheel. Someone has already done the research for you. All you need to do is purchase their product. One such organisation is Traackr (http://www.traackr.com/). They provide an online platform to their clients, giving recommendation, access and monitoring of influencers, providing metrics for KPIs when using these influencers. Another site of interest might be https://theright.fit/search/talent/influencer.
One of the ways social media helps to promote a brand is to wave a logo around. The more a media product is shared, the more the exposure to a brand through its logo. It can be said that the media product (a story, picture or video) is part of a brand identified by this logo. There is now a tool that can “predict the ‘shareability’ of social video advertising before it is even launched” (http://tubularinsights.com/schmooze-optimization-b2b-video/). It is called “ShareRank”. The concept behind it is that different audiences behave in different ways to different subject matter and its presentation. An algorithm is developed to predict that, based on research focusing on what different audiences like to share around and given criteria.
There are quite a large number of publications dedicated to digital marketing and further specialisation like video marketing, such as Tubular insights (http://tubularinsights.com/video/marketing) and Jukin Media (https://www.jukinmedia.com). As you can see the tasks performed in digital marketing mirror those of mainstream marketing but with a different set of tools.
In summary, marketing feeds sales, whose results determine the trading future of the enterprise. Marketing tasks can be divided into the technical—research, analysis, strategy, platform development and upgrade and the creative—design, communications and media art. Public relations and marketing are invariably linked.