This article will cover the fundamentals of “marketing”, which many people confuse with “advertising”. Yes, I too used to consider both of these terms to be the same but let me tell you, they are not and we will discuss what separates marketing from advertising. We will also try to understand how marketing is not being creative but a game of psychology.
This article is for anybody who would want to get started in digital marketing and understand what it is and how it works. So let’s begin!
Fundamentals Of Marketing — Understanding “Marketing” And “Advertising”
The difference between marketing and advertising is one of the best things. Many people think that advertising and marketing are the same concepts where the idea is to sell a certain product or service to customers, but there is a difference between both these terms.
Advertising basically refers to putting your products in front of your potential customers, either through offline channels or online channels. You can use various platforms like Facebook, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads and many more to create your advertisements and target your potential customers on various digital channels like certain websites, social media platforms, blogs, forums, or anywhere your potential customers could be. The other form of advertising is offline advertising which is nothing but the ads that you see in newspapers, hoardings that you see on the road while driving, certain events organized by companies, etc.
Now you know what advertising is, and the reason why people will buy the products and services from you instead of your competitors, who are also advertising their products and services, is what “Marketing” is. Marketing starts with understanding your customers’ minds. What would make them purchase a product or service from you? Is it because what you offer is unique? Or is it because the quality of your product or service is the best among other competitors? Or is it because you are already a well-known brand and have loyal customers who only want to purchase from you, if yes, how was this loyalty built? These are some of the questions that you would want to ask when thinking about marketing your products and services to your customers.
It is also important that you send the right message, to the right customer, at the right time. Sending the right message just means making your products visible to your customers who need it or want it (right customer) and are actively searching for it (right time). If you try to sell your products or services to someone who does not need them or does not want it, then it is not effective marketing as the customer will buy anything from you.
Similarly, a customer may be interested in what you are offering but is not looking to buy it just yet and he/she may be waiting for the right time or maybe doing some more research before deciding to buy, and in such case, if you try to sell your product to that customer, this too may end up as ineffective marketing because even though the customer is interested in your offering they are not looking to buy the product just yet. And as a good marketer, you must know exactly when to reach your customers to maximize your sales.
Marketing is also about keeping your customers engaged. Just selling your product or service to a customer is not (or should not be) the end goal. You must keep your customers engaged be it through regular emails or social media platforms. You must strive to provide good after-sales service to your customers, address their issues, ask for genuine feedback for your products and keep them updated on new offerings. This will help build trust which will in turn help build your brand which will result in loyal customers who will keep purchasing from you.
Now that we have understood the difference between “Marketing” and “Advertising” and also talked about some fundamentals of marketing, let’s get to the next topic of traditional marketing v/s digital marketing.
Traditional Marketing V/S Digital Marketing
Traditional marketing refers to advertising channels like newspapers, hoardings, billboards, televisions, radio, etc. You must be thinking why do we need to do traditional marketing even in this age of the internet, well let me tell you that even though we are living in a digital era where pretty much everything we do from socializing to shopping, from lectures to meetings, from ordering food to booking tickets, is happening online, there is still a segment of people who still use traditional channels to consume information, especially in a country like India where internet penetration has still not reached its peak. Some people still listen to the radio, there are people who still read newspapers instead of consuming the same information on the internet, there are people who still do not watch review videos of products on YouTube but instead go to a local shop and ask about the product features to the salesman in the store. And the fact is, this segment of people makes up a pretty large amount of the total consumers in India and we absolutely cannot ignore this segment.
Traditional marketing channels can be used to promote products that are generic, which are used by the masses and not by only people with certain interests. For example, you can use traditional marketing for products like mobile phones, televisions, air conditioners, etc. which are very general, and almost every household has them. Yes, these are a broad category of products and within them, there are various subcategories, for example, a mobile phone can have certain distinct features like a high-quality camera or a stunning display or a larger battery or a bigger storage capacity, and you can target a certain set of people interested in 1 or more of these subcategories of products, but the overall product is still general and you can use traditional marketing channels to reach a large number of people.
The advantage of traditional marketing over digital marketing is they are relatively cheaper and have a large customer base that you can reach, however, these customers are not targeted, customers. For example, there are about 197 million households in India with a TV, and considering that each household has 4–5 members, the reach of TVs alone in India is between 800 million to 1 billion, which is a gigantic number. The cost of reaching such a large audience becomes very less and hence can be a very good medium of advertising for a general product.
Digital marketing on the other hand can be used to target people with specific interests or people with certain purchasing behaviors. It can be used to target, for example, English-speaking people or people with high income, or people with a certain age group. The main idea behind digital marketing is to reach highly targeted customers who are actively looking to buy the products and services that you are offering and that too at the right time, that is when their intent to buy is high. This can be made possible only through digital marketing and hence it is a very powerful mode of marketing.
Also, another advantage of digital marketing is that you get a lot of insights about your customers, like the age of your customers, the device that they used to purchase, and whether they purchased your product through your website directly or through other platforms like Amazon or Flipkart or Snapdeal. You can also determine if they arrived on your website through social media or by searching for your products on search engines. You can get insights on the location from where most of your sales are happening. All these data can help you advertise your products to the right customer and help you make the most sales.
I hope you now have a basic idea of what traditional and digital marketing is and how both can be used in different ways to achieve your marketing goals and reach your customers. With that topic marked checked from our list, let’s move to the next one.
A marketing funnel is a process where you acquire customers (or make sales) in a well-defined and structured manner. It involves making your products or services visible to users on the internet, converting them into leads, and then finally converting them into sales.
Throughout the entire process of making a sale, there are different stages a customer can go through. The process starts from the top stage where your products reach the users and ends at the bottom stage where your users are converted into customers and you make a sale.
Defines the CATT funnel through the following formula:
Wealth = n^CATT (n to the power of CATT)
n = your niche
C = Content
A = Attention
T = Trust
T = Transaction
You must be wondering how we suddenly got into mathematics and why we are talking about formulas. Do not worry, it is very simple once you understand it. What the above formula means is that you will create wealth through digital marketing by applying the formula (or the method of marketing) to acquire customers and make sales. So let’s talk about each topic below.
n (Niche): Your niche is a specific segment of users that you want to target for your products or services. For example, if you make healthy protein bars then you can target only people who are passionate about health and fitness and like to eat healthy food and go to the gym regularly. Or if you are a tutor then you can target parents who are working professionals and want private tuition for their kids.
C (Content): Content is the centerpiece of digital marketing and one of the most valuable components in it. Everything revolves around content. You must have good content which your user would love to interact with and even share within their social circle. It could be anything like information or features about your products, blog posts on your favorite topics, informational or educational videos, etc.
A (Attention): Once you have the content in place, then comes Attention, from here the process of reaching and converting users into customers starts. You must get the attention of your users and lead them to your website so that your products or services are visible to them. And if your content is good, people will start engaging with your content and share thus expanding your reach and getting more attention from more users. There are various ways of getting attention (leading people to your website or your content) like SEO, paid ads, referrals, etc.
T (Trust): In this stage of the funnel, you build trust with your users. Your users have now seen your content and your products or services and they have interacted with it in some way, now you have to engage with them, communicate with them, and keep them updated about your products or services to build trust. You can do this by retargeting users who have visited your website before, sending personalized emails to users who have already bought something from you and keeping them updated on new offerings or content, replying to comments and reviews on your website or social media platforms, addressing their issues and providing good after-sales services, conducting webinars or meetups with your customers, etc.
T (Transaction): This is the final stage. This is where you close the leads and convert your users into customers. This will mostly happen naturally without you needing to do much as the users have already gone through the funnel, your content is good, you have their attention and you have built trust with your users so most of them will be happy to buy from you.
So now we have learned about marketing funnels, now let’s look at what integrated digital marketing is.
Integrated Digital Marketing:
Integrated digital marketing is combining all the components of digital marketing and integrating them in a way that each component complements the other. A lot of people only rely on just one component and expect sales. While it can produce some results, it is not effective digital marketing and will eventually become costly and will not lead to many sales. For example, people only rely on SEO to drive traffic to their website and make sales or they only rely on email marketing and expect sales to happen, but it is not the right way to do things.
Each component must work in harmony with one another and create a system that produces results and increases sales. It should start with good content in the center and then you must use SEO to drive traffic to your content and rank higher on search engines, then you should use social media to again drive traffic to your website and once your content starts generating large traffic you can capture these users into your email marketing list. Now you can use paid ads to promote your content or products to your email marketing list and drive traffic again to your content and you can also use paid ads to directly drive traffic to your website. With all of the components working together to bring traffic to your website and engage your users, your system will start converting users into customers and increase your sales exponentially.
Integrated digital marketing is very powerful and must not be ignored. With that said, let’s get to the last topic which is personal branding.
If you are good at something, people should know about it and only then you can make money. Nobody will buy from you if they don’t know about you even if you are the best in your particular area of expertise. This is why personal branding is very important. People want to talk to people and not brands. Nobody would want to respond to a brand (or a logo) but if they know that they are interacting with a person they would feel valued and appreciated.
A personal brand also helps you in selling your products or services without needing much effort or without spending much on advertising because people already know you and trust you. You influence them and they would happily buy your products or services or the ones that you refer to.
Your brand can sometimes become bigger than your business. For example, Elon Musk has become a personal brand. He has millions of followers on social media platforms and he uses his brand to market cars manufactured at Tesla, because of his huge personal brand Tesla itself does not have a marketing budget and they only use Elon Musk’s influence to sell their cars. The world knows what Elon Musk does and therefore he does not need to put much effort into promoting his businesses.
With this, we come to the conclusion of this article. We talked about what digital marketing is from a very basic point of view, the difference between marketing and advertising, and traditional and digital marketing. We also spoke on the importance of funnels and integrated digital marketing and how personal branding can help you grow your business.