Marketing requires creativity. That creativity can come in many forms. Graphic designers put together visual presentations to attract customers. Writers create content that is designed to engage the reader and keep them interested. A programmer writes code to create a web page that is easy to navigate. Regardless of your marketing role, you need to think creatively.
While working at a Fortune 100 company for nine years before moving to lead my current team, I became fascinated by customer behavior. What kinds of digital offerings most deeply engage customers in their digital lives? I started by looking at some case studies of the products, services, communications and experiences that had been embraced and adopted by customers during the first two decades of the internet. Over a period of seven years working on inbound marketing campaigns, what I found was a recurring pattern of three behaviors that drove the adoption of new digital experiences, which I call the three core behaviors of a network:
If we look at these other definitions of digital marketing such as this definition of digital marketing from SAS: What is Digital Marketing and Why does it matter? or this alternative definition of digital marketing from Wikipedia we can see that often there is a focus on promoting of products and services using digital media rather than a more holistic definition covering customer experiences, relationship development and stressing the importance of multichannel integration. So for us, the scope of the term should include activities across the customer lifecycle:
This is especially important if you have superiors to which you must report about Internet marketing. Although you may be able to turn data into a strategy easily, reports and graphs are essential in order to communicate that data to people who control the budget. Spend time making comprehensive reports and perhaps making a PowerPoint presentation based on your research.
Internet marketing is a number of things. And true success in the field involves an immersion into several skill sets that are required if you really want to succeed at the highest level. That's why I knew I needed to go the top of the food chain of online marketers to get an understanding of what this actually takes. And it's important to note that while there are many hyped-up gurus out there, there are also genuine individuals that aren't just looking to extract money from you.
I liken this to a paradoxical Catch-22 scenario, because it seems like without one you can't have the other. It takes money to drive traffic, but it takes traffic to make money. So don't make the mistake that millions of other online marketers make around the world. Before you attempt to scale or send any semblance of traffic to your offers, be sure to split-test things to oblivion and determine your conversion rates before diving in headfirst.
To answer the question 'What is digital marketing?', we have put together this new visual definition summarizing all the activities that form digital marketing that needs to be managed across the Smart Insights RACE Planning framework. It's used in the new, 6th edition of Dave's Digital Marketing book. We explain best practices for all of these in our Digital Marketing Elearning course.  The infographic is divided into activities to develop and manage digital strategy at the top to the marketing activities at the bottom.
My recent blog post on digital marketing trends shows the latest innovations, but here we go back to basics to define digital marketing. This is important since for some in business, particularly more traditional marketers or business owners, 'digital' is simplistically taken to mean 'our website' or 'our Facebook page'. This thinking limits the scope and opportunity of what's managed and it means that activities that should be managed may be missed.

This course builds on the theory and foundations of marketing analytics and focuses on practical application by demystifying the use of data in marketing and helping you realize the power of visualizing data with artful use of numbers found in the digital space. This course is part of the iMBA offered by the University of Illinois, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and onlinemba.illinois.edu.
There are a lot of paid education programs out there, but Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading certification providers. They offer a wide variety of courses for all levels of digital marketers; there is something for everyone based on what your goals are and what you are looking to specifically learn. Whether you’re looking to sharpen your digital marketing skills in general or you want to focus your studies on one specific field of digital marketing, Simplilearn is certain to have the program you’re looking for. To learn more about Simplilearn’s digital marketing courses and to sign up, browse their online course listings.
Consumers seek to customize their experiences by choosing and modifying a wide assortment of information, products and services. In a generation, customers have gone from having a handful of television channel options to a digital world with more than a trillion web pages. They have been trained by their digital networks to expect more options for personal choice, and they like this. From Pandora’s personalized radio streams to Google’s search bar that anticipates search terms, consumers are drawn to increasingly customized experiences.
First and foremost, when it comes to marketing anything online, it's important to understand how money is made and earned. In my phone call with Sharpe, he identified several items that were well worth mentioning. Once you understand where the money comes from and how the industry works, you can then better understand how best to position yourself and your offer so that you can reap the benefits of the making-money-while-you-sleep industry.
It is important to remember that just because digital marketing uses different communications techniques to traditional marketing, its end objectives are no different from the objectives that marketing has always had. It can be easy to set objectives for digital marketing based around ‘vanity metrics’ such as number of ‘likes’ or followers, so it is useful to bear in mind this definition of marketing advanced by the Chartered Institute of Marketing:
That's what kept bringing me back to Sharpe. When it comes to internet marketing, this is one of the masterminds in the industry, a high-8-figure earner who recently generated over $1 million dollars within a 60-day period with a brand new system. I knew that if I was going to help educate people about internet marketing, I had to go straight to the top. Sharpe is also one of the most relatable characters in the industry, who speaks eloquently and fluidly, able to inspire millions of people with ease.
Decide if marketing is a career fit for you. Consider taking a personality test, which will reveal your preferences. A test similar to the popular Myers-Briggs test can be found at 16personalities, and there are many others. This test will reveal your work preferences. See how of your preferences match the skills needed to be an Internet marketer.[1]
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