Most Companies: The First Step in Conducting Online Marketing is to Create What?

The world of marketing is ever-changing. As new technologies emerge and evolve, the way we market products and services changes as well. While the methods and tools that marketers use may come and go, the goal and essence of marketing remain the same – to attract, persuade, and engage potential buyers into buying your product or service.

One of the most significant changes that marketers are currently experiencing is the rise of digital marketing. Thanks to the internet and social media, consumers have access to a wealth of information that used to be limited to marketing professionals.

Not only does this raise the general awareness of marketing among the public, it also means that customers have a greater influence over what products they purchase. This is particularly useful for certain industries where it can be difficult to quantify an opinion across a large group of people – such as luxury goods and travel.

Why Branding is Important

To better understand the importance of branding in marketing, let’s take a quick trip back to the early days of mass marketing. Back in the 1800s, companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola began using mass marketing to sell their products.

These businesses would buy massive amounts of advertising space in prominent newspapers and magazines. They would also send out their branded materials – like posters, banners, and magazine issues – to every home in the country. People began to see these products as a sign of prestige, rather than just another random item on the shelves.

This type of strategy – buying tons of advertisements in mainstream media – is still prevalent today. However, thanks to the evolution of the internet and social media, businesses can now target their advertisements to specific audiences.

This is where branding comes in. While advertising space in newspapers has become less necessary, the same cannot be said for social media. Thanks to platforms like Facebook and YouTube, companies can create hubs for their products that reach consumers where they live, work, and play.

By establishing a connection with an audience over time, businesses can find out what they need to do to continue engaging with this group. They can also look for ways to encourage word of mouth marketing and brand loyalty.

How does Branding Work?

In addition to creating brand identities, the marketing department at a company like Procter & Gamble or Coca-Cola would work with various groups in the organization to drive business. This might include advertising, public relations, web design, and social media.

Each of these areas has a specific focus and provides valuable support to the marketing team as they work to grow a business. Thanks to the internet, content marketing has become a particularly useful strategy for driving engagement. Companies can build their own websites, produce and distribute content, and measure the results of their efforts.

The Rise of the Creative Digital Marketer

Emerging from an advertising agency environment, the creative digital marketer is tasked with taking a more active role in the marketing process. They may work for a brand but are expected to possess the skill set of an independent marketer.

As the name suggests, this role incorporates both digital and creative skillsets. While traditional marketers are tasked with coming up with ideas and executing strategy, the creative digital marketer is expected to develop concepts, ideate, and produce all of the creative content.

This may include websites, emails, social media campaigns, and any other kind of content that a business or brand may need.

The Rise of Inbound & Organic

Thanks to the proliferation of content on the internet, consumers have more options than ever before when it comes to finding information. Thanks to SEO and content creators like Brian Thompson and Jay Hook from the Huffington Post, finding information quickly and easily has become a matter of mere clicks and a matter of relevance rather than outright advertising purchases.

As people spend less time reading advertisements, they are more engaged with content that is both relevant and useful to them. Not only does this improve the overall experience of reading an article, it also means that businesses and organizations must work harder to attract consumers’ attention. This is where inbound marketing comes in.

This involves producing content that is both educational and entertaining, and placing that content in places where people naturally go to get information. For example, if a business requires technical support, they may create an online help desk that provides answers to common questions or problems.

Organic search, or SEO, is another useful tool for businesses and brands. Instead of paying for advertising, SEO allows businesses to build their own website and distribute that content on the internet. This ensures that their content appears in the right places for the right people. While SEO is highly technical and requires a significant amount of work to get right, it is also very actionable. This makes it easier for businesses and brands that are just getting started.

Where does Branding End and Marketing Begin?

While both terms are generally used interchangeably, branding usually refers to the strategy behind a business or product, while marketing is the process of spreading that strategy to the public. This is why branding is considered a more strategic effort, while marketing is considered a less formalized and less strategic process.

For example, Marriott International Inc. is a company that owns and operates several luxury hotels, including the prestigious Ritz-Carlton brand. According to the company, the branding effort behind the Ritz-Carlton starts long before the process of marketing begins. This effort entails creating a unique identity for the hotel, which includes looking at everything from the menus to the staff uniforms, to create a completely new experience for every guest who stays there.

The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising

As mentioned above, marketing is the process of bringing a brand or product to market. This involves getting the word out there about your product or service, regardless of whether someone actually clicks an ad or visits your website. Marketing is often considered to be both internal and external marketing combined. For example, a company may have a marketing department that is responsible for getting the word out about their new product, as well as advertising agencies that help create and execute campaigns on behalf of a brand or company.

Advertising, on the other hand, is considered to be paid media. This entails spending money to have your product or service advertised to the general public. Advertising is usually considered to be directed at an already defined audience – like men between the ages of 25 and 54 who live in a certain part of the country – and is used to drive sales.

While advertising certainly has its place, the internet and social media have made it much easier for businesses to reach potential customers and audiences. This, in turn, has made the line between marketing and advertising become more blurred, as businesses often enlist the services of marketers who had originally worked in an advertising agency.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the other distinctions between marketing and advertising:

1. Goals

While advertising usually has a defined goal – like getting someone to click on a display ad – marketing has many goals that may not be directly measurable. These are known as key performance indicators (KPIs). Unlike advertising, which seeks to drive a defined action – like getting someone to click on an ad – marketing drives a result that may not be apparent until later.

For example, if a business’ goal is to increase web traffic and sales, they may measure the success of their online marketing efforts based on the amount of time people spend on their website, the number of pages they visit, and the conversion rates on those pages.

To use the Marriott example above, the goal of their branding effort is to create a unique and luxurious experience for every guest who books a room there. This involves more than just putting a nice face on the hotel – it entails creating a brand identity that will make every room and meal there distinct from any other hotel in the world. This is something that can only be measured over time.

2. Measurement

One of the distinguishing factors between marketing and advertising is measurement. Advertising can be measured in terms of cost and performance, while marketing is often measured in more qualitative terms. For example, how is the public responding to the brand or product? Are they thinking about it more or less as the result of an ad campaign?

To give you a better idea of how marketing and measurement work together, let’s take a look at a business that we’ll call Brainchild.