What is Marketing?
Online Marketing can only be defined by first defining marketing in general. Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” So, it stands to reason that online marketing would be the internet applications of the above defined aspects of marketing.
Marketing takes numerous forms and has existed throughout the history of mankind. As long as people have had products and services to offer, and as long as others have had money to trade for said products, marketing has been a key component of human trade and purchase. Marketing hasn’t changed much in principle, but the systems and operations behind the marketing continue to grow more and more complex as time has gone on. In Ancient times; marketing was as simple as arranging your fruits so that the freshest products were on top. In modern times; that idea is still the same, but there are systems in place to ensure that the freshest products get the most attention. Not only do grocery stores continue to arrange the freshest fruits on top of the rest of the product, but those fruits are advertised over television, print, and even the internet. There are also systems in place to ensure that those fruits are advertised heavily to the people most likely to buy them.
Data collection is a major component of marketing that has become easier to analyze and utilize in the advent of the internet age. Not only are products arranged to increase visual appeal, but market and purchase data is available to both buyers and sellers for a wide array of analytics and management. Customers can be tracked, demographics identified, and patters defined. In the past, these were metrics that could only be managed and tracked by merchants and their storefronts. However, thanks to the advent of the internet, this type of information and analysis is available to the masses. Due to its availability and the increasing ease of which it can be analyzed, online marketing is a great tool for any business.
What is Online Marketing?
But what is online marketing? How can it be utilized? What makes it different and either inferior or superior to traditional marketing?
To answer the first question, online marketing isn’t so different from traditional marketing. The fact that the process is done online doesn’t lead to any deviation from the same basic rules and principles. The traditional four P’s of marketing; product, price, place, and promotion don’t change.
- Is it tangible or intangible? This is often the difference between a digital product, a service, or a physical product as to be found in store.
- The seller/marketer must have a clear understanding of what the product is, what it does, and what niche it fills.
- Now that the product’s role is determined, what is its nominal value? Profit margins, supply vs demand, and other environmental factors come into play.
- Price needs to be determined accurately and adequately when deciding on the details of the next two P’s.
- “Location, location, location” is the oft repeated mantra. Where can this product or service best be utilized?
- Place can determine a physical location for a store or vendor, a website name, style, and design, or even where a product is located in a store or on a site.
- How are potential customers going to hear about this product/service? What about this product/service is going to grab customer’s intentions?
- This is where key marketing aspects such as advertising, social media, viral marketing, and public relations come into play.
Online Marketing is utilized in similar fashion to how traditional marketing methods are utilized. The added benefit of online marketing is that content can be created and distributed at a much faster rate and can be delivered to more narrowly targeted groups. This applies particularly to place and promotion, as products can be placed both in stores and online. As far as promotion is concerned, products/services can be uniquely targeted to fit the needs of each price point, place, and customer.
Why does Online Marketing Matter?
- Why does a company or individual need marketing?
- Why does a company or individual need online marketing?
Businesses exist to make a profit. Yes, most businesses have larger goals as to why and how they make that profit, but profit is the unifying bottom line. Regardless of whether a business wants to generate profit for the sake of donating it to charity or using it inflate a trust fund, the generation of profit is the bottom line.
Companies accomplish this generation of profit in many different ways. A company such as Apple builds computers and cellphones and develops software and then sells those developments for profit. Uber sends a driver and a car to pick any number of individuals up and drop them off at their destination, this is a service that Uber offers in exchange for profit. Ebay doesn’t sell a product and it doesn’t send a service, but it offers a space on its platform for others to sell products, and in addition to taking a small share of the profits of each sale, it sells additional space on the website for advertisers. Again, Ebay’s bottom line is to generate revenue and take in a profit.
The best way to generate revenue is by selling products or services. In order to do so, the company or individuals wishing to generate revenue must put their products and services in front of potential customers. How does a business know which potential customers to put their product in front of? How does a business know what to say to each of these potential customers both as individuals and as a group? The answer is, it doesn’t, at least until it performs the proper market research and in turn markets its products to the appropriate people in the appropriate ways.
Marketing is keeps the wheels spinning and what brings new customers in the door, while also retaining older customers and ensuring that they continue to return. A company needs marketing because it needs to ensure that its bases are covered and that the products and services that it offers are reaching their full and appropriate audience. An individual needs marketing for the same reason that businesses do, but with a greater stress on maintaining their personal brand and connection. Marketing, besides being a great way to deliver products, is also a great way to develop and maintain both personal and company brands.
Why Does (Online) Marketing Matter to You?
This is a question that you have to ask yourself personally? What is your role, and how does marketing apply to it? Are you an entrepreneurial individual seeking to build or grow a business? Are you a member of a larger organization or business seeking ways to refine the group that you represent? Are you an individual seeking an audience for your works, products, or services? Whatever your reasons, please reflect on them going forwards, and as you learn how to market online, make sure you do it with the intention of reaching whatever the goal that you’ve set it.
What is the Best Way to Learn Marketing Online?
There are many different sources to learn marketing online. These options vary in scale, style, size, and stages of development. There is no “one size fits all” method of learning marketing online. Rather there are a variety of options, and it is up to the individual to determine which method works best for them.
One of the easiest and most efficient ways to learn online marketing is via the use of online courses. Online Marketing courses are often tailored to specific platforms and feature detailed information about both how those programs work and how you as the user can utilize those programs or sites to best fit your marketing needs. These courses are especially helpful because they are often “pick and choose”, not requiring you to have extensive knowledge over all online marketing platforms when you are opting to focus primarily on social media marketing.
When selecting a course, it is important to remember to keep your needs in focus. In other words, remember why you are seeking more knowledge and information on how to market. Are you building a brand? Then you should probably seek training focused on social media. Are you an established brand looking into increasing awareness about an exciting new product? Viral Marketing might be the best way for you to utilize your already existent platform and promote the new product.
YouTube, or other video platforms such as Vimeo, are another great way to learn online marketing. With the accessibility of video and social platforms, video training is often the most affordable option. However, this may inhibit quality as the source of these videos can often lack credibility or expertise.
However, many businesses and credible professionals will offer marketing and other professional training from their video platforms. These videos are a perfect option for people just starting out or seeking training when on a tight budget.
There are hybrid platforms with which to learn marketing online as well. One such example is the Marketing Classroom. This website acts as a series of online courses in the form of videos. If you are seeking information on how to market online, or how to do so more efficiently, then the Marketing Classroom may be the place for you. There is a wide variety of topics available for both businesses and individuals.
The Marketing Classroom is designed to be a premier service to help any enterprising individual in their pursuit of building a greater audience and/or reaching more potential customers.
There are hundreds of thousands of experts and industry leaders delivering content and instruction via their social media platforms. Many businesses post daily or weekly blogs aimed at helping those who read them to learn and grow. If you are aspiring to the same levels of success as these companies or individuals, then it can be helpful to study the means by which they created their success.
Seminars are a terrific way to learn online marketing skills, but via a more personal and individualized touch. Seminars are a great way to meet industry experts and leaders, as well as to ask them questions and pick their brains. If you prefer the individual attention and mentorship that can only be had in person, then seminars are a terrific way to learn marketing online.
What is YOUR best way to learn marketing online? Are you a hands-on learner seeking the attention and expertise of a specific individual? Try a seminar. Are you an individual strapped for time, hoping to learn at their own pace? Then social media blogs and videos may be for you. The importance of the matter is that you seek out what methods of education are best for you.