Get a "big picture" view of all the various components that make up the digital marketing stack.
- [Voiceover] If you're working in digital marketing these days, you're likely being bombarded on a daily basis with all kinds of technologies that you can help you do something in some way, shape, or form. You've probably seen countless demos from countless companies, ranging from names you've recognized for decades to brand new startups that are diving into the next big thing. If you're confused and overwhelmed, don't worry, you're not alone. In this video, we're going to break down the different components of today's digital marketing technology stack, using a framework that we've used at my firm, Cardinal Path, for a number of years.
We'll focus on four major components of tools and technology and organize each by what they can help you do. Although we won't be able to cover every possible component, hopefully by the time we finish, you'll have a pretty comprehensive picture of the core things that you need to be doing as a marketer today. Let's get started with the marketing and advertising layer. You're probably already familiar with many of the digital channels, and while traditional media like television, radio, print, outdoor, and more are still very much a part of many organization's marketing mix, there are some things out there that are unique to digital.
First, search engines have become the gateway for finding whatever we're looking for in the billions of pages that make up the world wide web. Advertisers have realized that search engines are actually a place where consumers are literally typing in their intent. Whether you're working towards ranking higher in the natural or organic search engine rankings, through search engine optimization, known as SEO, or if you're using paid search programs, like Google's AdWords or Microsoft's Bing Ads, to place your ads in front of potential customers typing in specific keywords, search has become a very important channel.
Once consumers get where they're going online, display advertising allows advertisers to place their ads across all kinds of content. Banners and even interactive formats can be bought and placed to get a campaign's message in front of all kinds of people. With the advances of audience targeting, advertisers can target and then retarget specific groups of internet users based on their actions, attributes, and behaviors. In fact, with supply and demand side advertising platforms, much of this medium is now bought and sold programmatically, where complex algorithms determine bids and winners in real time auctions for digital advertising space.
The advent of social media has brought with it a new wave for brands to interact with their customers and prospects. Whether you're keeping up a Facebook page, maintaining your Twitter presence, leveraging the business to business tools of LinkedIn, playing up Pinterest, Google Plusing, Tumbling, Instagramming, or taking advantage of the hundreds of other social platforms, paid and organic marketing opportunities abound. We've also wholeheartedly adopted email as a preferred method of communication. Marketers are collecting databases full of people and profiles that can be targeted through this channel.
As a result, the endless spam that's now largely caught and filtered before it hits your inbox has evolved into many advertisers figuring out how to provide intelligent, personalized communications that you don't mind receiving anymore. Digital is all around us, and in this advertising layer, we, as marketers, have access to a wide mix of media that can be used to get out in front of the customers and prospects that we're chasing. But all of this is meant to get people to that next step in the customer journey.
In many cases, that means we want them interacting with our digital experiences. Of course, physical stores and consumer touch points are still a huge part of the equation for many organizations, but in the digital world, we're talking about websites, mobile websites, and mobile apps. These experiences can be multifunctional, helping not just to acquire new customers, but also to retain and interact with today's consumer, or even sell through e-commerce. Every one of these digital experiences can be enhanced with even more marketing technology.
Web analytics platforms are recording every click, every page load, and every tap of a mobile screen to help marketers understand and improve the user experience. A/B and multivariate testing tools allow marketers to try out different ideas and easily perform the statistical analysis to see what's working best. Personalization tools can be used to present just the right content to individuals based on everything from weather patterns, to user profiles and behaviors. Surveys don't have to be done by standing in a shopping mall with a clipboard anymore.
Today's voice of customer tools can help marketers obtain invaluable insights from the users of the digital experiences first hand, and user experience tools can show us what it might look like to literally stand behind people as they navigate our pages and screens. If this is sounding complicated now, just wait until you dive into the code, the scripts, and the tags that you'll need to implement all of this, and yes, there's more marketing technology to help here. Tag management systems or TMSs for short, were born and raised to handle the organization and delivery of this new group of digital marketing tools.
Of course, there's still all the traditional back office technology you need to run your business. As you might expect, it's also evolved in recent history. You still have your customer relationship management system that keeps records of all your prospects and customers, but now we can start to integrate and enrich those customer records with all kinds of data, while at the same time, activating that data through all kinds of digital channels. Data management platforms, or DMPs, are now starting to take hold to leverage all of this audience information and the digital exhaust of data that's coming from all the advertising and click stream layer tools and technology.
Combining first, second, and third party data, and building a taxonomy of audience data lets marketers create audiences from any set of criteria they can dream up. This becomes truly valuable when those audiences are then connected with advertising, marketing, and personalization platforms to target exactly the right people with just the right message, all at a massive scale. Content management systems, or CMSs, allow non-technical marketers to easily create and publish digital content to support their campaigns and initiatives.
The back office technologies, ranging from inventory management, to finance, to enterprise resource planning, is helping take businesses forward like never before. Of course, all of this data has to be stored and accessed from somewhere, and this is where today's big data tools and platforms come into play. But all of this so far has really been all about collecting the data, and not necessarily using it. This is where our last layer comes into play. What I like to call the analysis and activation layer.
Here, you'll find things like reporting. Although these days, a new wave of tools has transformed traditional static reports into interactive dashboards and data visualizations that can more effectively communicate the stories that live within the data, and all in real time. Media mix modeling is nothing new, of course, but today's attribution modeling platforms can ingest and analyze vast amounts of information to help understand which of all of these different marketing channels and touch points are providing real, measurable value to a business.
Of course, the statistical analysis and modeling that was traditionally done by the data science departments only the largest of enterprises could support has given way to a new generation of teams. Today, the technology is no longer a cost barrier. The skillset is more widely available and the unprecedented amounts of data coupled with the fastest, cheapest processing power that the world has ever seen truly allows us to model and even predict the likely outcomes of just about anything we choose to analyze. If all of this is still a bit intimidating, don't worry, it should be.
We're in the midst of a data revolution. In such a nascent industry, we're seeing lots and lots of vendors tackling all of these different problems. Some will go away, some will be bought and absorbed by others, and some will become the next household names. But collectively, this framework represents the possibility of what we, as cutting edge marketers, can be doing while our competitors are struggling to catch up.
NOTE: While specific software and platforms aren't endorsed, you will see how tools like a customer relationship management system and web analytics work in a successful marketing mix.
- What is digital marketing?
- Understanding the marketing data being generated
- Reaching customers via digital channels like social, search, and display
- Working with digital experiences
- Selling online with ecommerce
- Going mobile
- Measuring and optimizing with testing and analytics
- Running and operating a business with technology
- Storing and extracting data
- Learning and predicting with data exploration and modeling