If you’re reading this, I assume you already know the difference between marketing and entrepreneurship. But maybe not. So here’s a short refresher: marketing is all about getting people to do your product or service, while entrepreneurship is about starting your own business – which could be a product or service. It’s often considered that marketing is a subset of entrepreneurship, but really they’re two separate things.
Now that you know the difference, it’s time to revisit the question: what’s the difference between online marketing and entrepreneurship?
Traditional vs. Digital Marketing
First off, let’s talk about traditional vs. digital marketing. Traditional marketing, meaning anything done in print or on the radio, is a thing of the past. Today’s marketers more often than not, work online, and the majority of their efforts are focused on digital marketing.
Why? Simply put, it’s much easier to do digital marketing. You can track results in real time, and tweak your strategy as needed. In addition, you can measure the success of your marketing campaigns on a gross margin or click-through rate.
On the other hand, when it comes to digital marketing, you’re mostly engaging with people one-to-one. You can measure the success of your digital marketing campaigns on a conversion rate, and there’s no intermediary (i.e., a newspaper, magazine, or radio station) to “trespass” as they did in the past. That is, you’re interacting with your audience directly through an online channel.
Now that we’ve covered the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, let’s talk about the planning aspect. The marketing plan. In traditional marketing, a plan was usually something that took weeks or months to put into motion, and was considered an important part of the overall marketing campaign. Most plans were complex and laid out in great detail, with individual tasks, dates, and projected costs listed out in sequential order. They also often included marketing research, which was considered very important back in the day, and helped the marketing team predict how well a particular campaign would perform – given various assumptions and scenarios.
These days, a marketing plan isn’t necessarily something you need to have in order to get the job done. If you’re a small business owner who’s marketing your product locally, you might not need to worry about a marketing plan. You’ll just want to set some goals, launch your campaign, and track the results. But if you’re doing any kind of marketing on a national or international level, say, through affiliate marketing or social media, then you might want to sit down and put forth a plan before you get started. It wouldn’t do any good to have a national marketing campaign without a plan, and it would be worse to have a plan that doesn’t cover national or international markets. In other words, having a plan is better than not having one, but it’s not essential.
Next, let’s talk about marketing strategy. Marketing strategy is, simply put, the plan that guides your overall marketing efforts. It lays out the objectives you have for your campaign, which will determine the methods you’ll use to achieve them. A good marketing strategy should not only cover the marketing plan, but should extend into the future, addressing things such as long-term growth opportunities, marketing budgets, and the like.
Your marketing strategy should also align with your overall business strategy. For example, if you’re primarily selling your product or service locally, your marketing strategy may focus on establishing local presence and credibility, and gaining brand awareness. If you’re selling your goods and services to the international market, then your strategy may need to revolve around establishing yourself as an expert in your field, and appealing to corporate executives or leaders.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Now let’s get to the fun part — the KPIs. These are the key performance indicators that will help you track the success of your marketing efforts. In short, KPIs are the metrics you’ll use to determine whether or not you’ve achieved your objectives.
You’ll want to choose 3-5 key performance indicators that will accurately reflect the performance of your marketing campaign. These should be easy to measure, and preferably, there should be both long-term and short-term indicators. For example, if your key performance indicator is “increased web traffic,” then you might want to set a long-term goal of getting 1000 monthly unique visitors, and establish a short-term goal of getting 500 monthly unique visitors by next month.
In order to achieve your key performance indicators, you’ll need to establish measurable goals, and determine how you’ll measure your achievement of those goals. For example, if you’re measuring the success of a social media campaign on the number of engaged followers, then you might want to set a goal of getting 100 new followers in the next month, and a measurable goal of getting 300 followers by the end of the year. In order to reach these goals, you will need to engage with your followers on a regular basis – posting engaging content frequently, and responding to comments and questions.
Overall Marketing Strategy
At this point, we’ve covered the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and the role of the marketing plan in each. In addition to discussing the role of the plan, we’ve also discussed the various metrics you’ll use to evaluate your marketing campaign. Now let’s put things back together, and discuss the role of the overall strategy. The overall marketing strategy is, as the name suggests, a formal document that presents the overarching goals and objectives of your marketing campaign. It is typically much broader in scope than the marketing plan, and it can also include the planning and execution of the various tasks and efforts required to achieve the goals set out in the marketing plan. In other words, your marketing plan is the blueprint for your campaign – it’s the road map. Your overall marketing strategy is the comprehensive guidebook that helps you stay the course, and makes sure you don’t lose sight of the big picture – the goal you’re trying to achieve.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer, or you’re just getting started, your overall marketing strategy will serve as your reference point as you navigate the world of marketing. It will guide your efforts, keep you focused on the right tasks, and help you measure the success of your campaign, which is very important. In addition to establishing your goals and objectives, and describing the metrics you’ll use to measure your success, your overall marketing strategy should include the following elements:
You’ll need to do some research before you begin your marketing campaign. This is important for two reasons. First, you want to be sure you’re aware of the product or service you’re marketing, and the options available to consumers. Second, you need to know who your target audience is – who you’re trying to reach with your marketing campaign, and what they want, need, or expect from a brand or business, depending on the situation. This information will help you craft a message that resonates with your target audience, and shapes the way you communicate throughout your marketing plan, and subsequently, your overall marketing strategy.
Next is product research. Just because you’re marketing a product or service, doesn’t mean your target audience is familiar with the ins and outs of what you’re selling. Even if they are, you may not know much about their specific needs, wants, and expectations. So before you begin crafting your marketing strategy, it’s important to do some product research. This entails getting to know your product (or service) well, identifying the competition, and gathering information about past performance and the like.
From a product research standpoint, a service called “Market Segmentation” can be very helpful. Market segmentation is the process of breaking your target audience into distinct groups based on a variety of characteristics, and it offers some fantastic insights into how to best approach your marketing strategy. Basically, you can use this tool to pinpoint the exact audience you’re trying to reach, and the type of messages that will resonate with them. It is also considered to be among the most useful tools for digital marketers, and it offers a host of segmentation options, from age and gender, to hobbies and lifestyle, and even political and religious beliefs. You can also create custom segments, using the information you’ve collected from previous product researches, and the results of other market segmentation tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot’s Audience Insights.