The Digital Marketing Pyramid
James R. Alexander, WSI Marketing Consultant
I was explaining digital marketing to a friend when the idea of a layered-pyramid came to me. When I presented this idea, my friend’s eyes opened wider. He said it was the first time he understood some of how it really works. It’s a simplification for the purpose of better understanding digital marketing. But, here is the summary of the concept.
Assume there is a pyramid that is composed of layers stacked on top of each other. The bottom layer is the foundation. In digital marketing, this foundation is composed of tools. Tools include websites, Facebook pages, videos, blog sites, mobile sites, etc. This is the base layer of the pyramid. It is also the foundation on which successful digital marketing is built. Yet, these are only tools.
The layer above tools is composed of tactics. Tactics are ways to directly employ tools toward a specific action. For example, eCommerce is a tactic for using websites. This is selling materials through a website. Thereby, offering the marketer an opportunity to reach and sell to a much wider audience. Facebook contests are ways to employ Facebook pages to engage fans, to help raise the awareness of the store or company, to build a fan base, to reward existing customers, and to get insight from customers. Yet, if the tools are lousy, then the tactic has a low probability of success.
The layer above tactics is strategies. Digital marketing strategies are plans of action toward achieving a particular goal. Example goals would be getting fifteen
percent more visitors to a site. Examples of strategies are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Paid Online Advertising, such as Pay Per Click (PPC). These strategies not only require a plan of action. They require a methodology to achieve their goals. Note that strategies can use tactics. And, they will need tools. Yet, if the tool, such as a Facebook page or video, is lousy, no matter how good the strategy, it will struggle to be successful. Again, the tools are the foundation of the digital marketing pyramid.
As we go up the pyramid, the next layer is integrated strategies. Integrated strategies combine strategies, tactics and tools toward achieving a business goal. An example of a business goal could be achieving a 5% increase in the bottom line contribution from online sales. Another example could be increasing the foot traffic in the store that is generated from online marketing by 3%. In order to achieve these goals, several strategies, tactics and a few tools may be required. The ones that would work are dependent upon the market and the demographic component of the target audience. This is a wordy way to say, it depends on what you are selling and to whom.
There is another layer above integrated strategies. It is campaigns. Campaigns can be composed of a series of tactics, strategies and integrated strategies typically applied over a period of time. They generally share a single theme and are aimed at achieving a single higher-level business goal. Digital marketing campaigns may be used to raise the brand awareness of a company in a new geographical area, for example. Another example is a campaign to position a company in a new market or product area.
Finally, but not at all in the least, is the top of the pyramid. At the top of the pyramid is statistical analysis of digital marketing data, commonly known as analytics. There is a bucket load of data available in the digital world. Analytics allows digital marketers to understand, analyze, determine better directions and optimize (determine the best path) toward business goals. Analytics is not only at the top of the pyramid. It is the concrete and mortar of the pyramid that makes success possible at each level and holds the levels together.
It allows insight into the functional effectiveness of each level and the combination of levels. Analytics is especially needed in digital marketing because the elements are constantly changing. For example, Google is constantly changing and “improving “ their search algorithm. Social channels are constantly adding features to elevate the user experience. The noticeable impacts and needed changes in direction for components of the pyramid are obtained by employing analytics. It makes optimization toward a goal, such as ROI, possible.
Given all of this, you may have heard the expression “50% of the money I put into marketing is wasted. I just don’t know which 50%”. Where do marketers typically lose money, stagnate or fail when implementing components of the digital marketing pyramid? They sometimes have one level of the pyramid and expect it to perform as a higher level. Have you heard “I have a website and it has done me no good.” Yet, there are websites that have no conversion paths, no relevant content, no calls to action, no links to common relevant sites, no eye catching action paths. Or, have you heard, “SEO doesn’t work.” There are SEO plans that have unreasonable expectations, terrible landing pages, no realistic goals, no analytics plus expert interpretation that define corrective paths to optimization. Some strategies are implemented on lousy tools. If a landing page sucks (as a well-known mentor would say), then the strategy implemented on it will suck. If a paid advertising banner is for green tea and when clicked it goes to a page that beautifully promotes an assortment of teas, it just won’t be as effective as possible... no matter how beautiful the assortment of teas site is. The visitors will be looking for green tea, not an assortment of teas. This, lack of effectiveness at various levels in the Digital Marketing Pyramid, results in wasted marketing budget and lost money.
In summary, digital marketing can be envisioned as a pyramid of digital marketing components and activities that go from tools, such as landing pages, which form the foundation of the pyramid to analytics which is the concrete and mortar of the pyramid that allows it to be successful and optimized toward business goals at each level.
WSI is helping clients each day to develop excellent tools, tactics, strategies, integrated strategies and campaigns. Further, we are experts at utilizing analytics to ensure effectiveness of digital marketing and optimizing it toward business goals. In doing this, we are delivering what is commonly referred to as Return On Investment in Marketing (ROI and ROIM). Contact Us Today.