The internet has digitalized our lives: we now create and meet others in online communities on websites such as Reddit, Imgur, Facebook, or NikeTalk. Our relationships with our friends and families have expanded to digital channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. We forge new relationships through dating apps such as OkCupid and Tinder. We become microcelebrities on Twitch and YouTube. We consume other people’s lives, we talk to strangers, and we project public personas on social media platforms.
The internet has also transformed how businesses conduct their activities and how consumers go about buying products. Whole industries, such as music and travel, have been radically reshaped. In order to be successful digital marketers, we need to go beyond simply translating the methods and processes that used to be successful for traditional media. We need a drastically different way of thinking about approaching consumers and selling products.
The objective of this textbook is to provide a way of conceptualizing how to do marketing online and a strategic framework to do so. Throughout, real-life examples, learning exercises, videos, and additional resources are offered to cement and expand your learning experience.
The first section of this textbook explains how the internet has transformed the ways firms create value and how consumers experience brands and products. In this first section, we focus on understanding a shift in how firms communicate with consumers: they have moved away from talking about themselves, which was predominant in a pre-internet era, towards often offering free resources to create value for consumers. We then explore how the consumer experience has been radically altered and what the implications are for firms’ strategies.
More precisely, Chapter 1: Introduction to Digital Marketing discusses how digitalization is changing the ecosystem in which we conduct marketing activities. In this chapter, we explore what marketing is and how value is created online, and briefly touch on consumer journeys.
Chapter 2: Understanding the Digital Consumer explores how digitalization is transforming the journey of consumers. We learn about marketing tools (persona, consumer journey, and journey mapping) to help us understand consumer behavior and craft digital marketing campaigns.
In Chapter 3: Planning For a Digital Marketing Campaign, we cover basic notions of search engine optimization and then discuss how, when creating content, keywords can be used to respond to consumers’ needs and goals. We also discuss how keywords can help us understand how our competitors are positioned online.
Chapter 4: Introduction to Digital Strategy presents some key vocabulary associated with digital marketing and the framework we are going to cover for the rest of the semester, the RACE framework. We explain its relationship to persona, journey, and strategy and how it can be used to perform competitive analyses.
The second section of this textbook provides an in-depth presentation of a digital marketing framework centered on conversion-based marketing. This framework echoes the work of many digital marketing agencies. It is composed of four stages through which firms can attract visitors, create leads, transform leads into customers, and foster customer loyalty.
Chapter 5: Reach: Generating Awareness and Attracting Visitors discusses paid media activities. We first emphasize the necessity of building landing pages and describe what landing pages are. We then turn our attention to the online ecosystem, discussing elements such as types of paid media activities and expand on payment models and types of targeting that are available online.
Chapter 6: Act: Creating Content covers some central activities associated with content creation. We discuss how content creation can be informed by the RACE framework, the difference between gated and ungated content, how to build topical relevance, and how pillar pages can help us do so. The chapter ends with a short presentation of content calendars.
Chapter 7: Act: Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing looks at the basics of lead generation and lead nurturing activities. We define leads and lead stages, present a few ways to generate leads and different types of opt-ins, explain how to score leads, and discuss email marketing.
Chapter 8: Convert: Conversion Optimization examines what conversion is and how to optimize web pages to convert better. To do so, we discuss conversion rate optimization, how to identify what to optimize as people move from one web page to another, some conversion-centered principles, A/B testing, and retargeting.
Chapter 9: Engage: Building Loyalty and Co-Creating With Customers deals with how to evaluate and encourage customer engagement and loyalty and foster co-creation by engaged customers. More precisely, we delve into customer engagement, customer lifetime value, ways to measure engagement, consumption communities, and co-creation activities.