Once upon a time, there were Sales, then there were Sales and Marketing. Now we have Digital Marketing – so what’s the difference and why is it important? Digital Marketing has changed the landscape of marketing forever, but branding and its relevance to customer needs is still more relevant and acute. Understanding the needs of our target audience is key to understanding how we might communicate our brand interaction, using a mix of traditional and digital marketing.
First and foremost we should recognise that Brand plays a key role in sales and marketing terms. A brand is (or should be,closely associated in terms of values) with the product or service that is being offered and, it is worth mentioning here, the power of the brand. Coca Cola – the brand is worth $70 billion today, they sold 6 bottles in1886, and they don’t even make Coca Cola anymore. So Brand is important and it affects sales and marketing both directly and indirectly.
The key to success is to marry the different digital communications with an understanding of how your branding will warm customer prospects. It’s only by an understanding of your market and the customer profiles that you will be able to create the right marketing and sales signals.
I went to a local business network meeting recently and there was a discussion about the relative importance of sales and marketing objectives in a company. The conversation went something like this… “The sales people couldn’t get along with marketing people, because marketing people just didn’t get what sales is all about.” I find this amusing but a fairly common place discussion. Of course at one time there was only Sales. Marketing or the science of sales came later. In fact “brand” arguably pre-dates sales in that a buyer would know from the brand what they were getting, before the goods were bought.
Nearly everyone these days has a website, it is a sales tool, is it not? Well, not always – with a small business it may just be window dressing, with larger companies – sometimes, they just go through the motions, perhaps ‘what their shareholders expect to see’. They may already have the through put in terms of sales and they just don’t see the value of upgrading their website. It’s amazing the disparity between a website that is a brochure online and a website that interacts with customers. Customers, of course, are the lifeblood of any business and to ignore them or be less communicative could have devastating consequences. Just having a website isn’t enough and as far as Google are concerned, having a non communicative site will be ranked downwards.
Google is less interested in “sales” as a driver for its global vision and is more concerned with providing a genuine service to people wanting useful and even life changing information. We know this because of the shift to the organic (unpaid for) searches. 78% of web searches favour the organic choice. This is not an accident but a choice that has been nurtured by Google and if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.
The title Marketing v Digital Marketing is our title and should be rephrased – ‘Marketing, a joined up approach with Digital Marketing.’ If you define Digital Marketing as a term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies that, in turn, is used to convert leads into customers. Then we must add to this, the brand – for without a clear brand – what are we selling?
This was highlighted by a customer (a family business) who wanted the brilliance of “digital targeted marketing” without quite knowing where their customers were coming from. They had an idea, but were not sure and, even more alarming, was the fact that their brand was not demonstrating their core strengths or values. The process for a successful business is defining your ideal customer and, if you are creating a website or marketing strategy, it has to revolve around your ideal customer, bearing in mind that even your ideal customer, over time, will change.
The ongoing search for “value creation” as it sometimes referred to in marketing terms, is really about defining your ideal customers and building your brand and your business around them. The combination of traditional marketing and digital marketing is most powerful when it is brought together and not seen in isolation. It should be a seamless interface and investment that is constantly re-defining customer expectations to create a valued brand.
Once we can determine who the customers are and what they are responding well to, with help from Google, the business can develop a real brand and monetary value, one that will help the family business hand down to the next generation with some confidence or sell on as a going concern.