At its core, marketing has always been about attracting customers to a business through messaging. Despite changes in consumer spending trends, habits and messaging consumption, the fundamentals of marketing have stayed the same – and remain vital for success in the digital age.
What is marketing?
Marketing encompasses all aspects of planning and carrying out the distribution of ideas, commodities or services in order to meet the demands of individual consumers or organisations.
Every company must promote their goods and services effectively, and marketing is a crucial strategy for success. Marketing helps to raise brand awareness, acquire new customers, and foster long-term partnerships.
When done correctly, marketing also helps grow sales and establish a competitive advantage.
The seven P’s
In the early days of marketing, marketing professor E Jerome McCarthy of Michigan State University became a pivotal figure in the development of marketing thinking, and what has come to be known as the ‘managerial approach’.
McCarthy co-authored Basic Marketing: a managerial approach in the 1960s and developed the concept of the four P’s. Those marketing fundamentals have grown to include people, process and physical evidence.
But what does this all mean?
Essentially, the seven P’s have become well-known marketing strategies for attracting customers in the target market. Each P stands for an important element in the selling process, including:
- Product – what you are selling
- Price – pricing strategy
- Promotion – activities to make customers aware of the product or service
- Place – the location your product or service is seen, made, sold or distributed
- People – internal employees working on the product or service
- Process – procedures involved in delivering the product or services
- Physical evidence – everything the customer sees when they interact with the business
When combined with an organisation’s internal and external marketing environments, the seven P’s can be used to create distinct marketing strategies that fulfil a customer’s needs and wants.
Technological advancement at the turn of the century swiftly disrupted the way marketing strategies are created. Businesses have needed to pull away from traditional forms of marketing and start pushing their marketing efforts into the virtual world.
Evolution and rise of digital marketing
Over the past 30 years, marketing has gone through several changes due to technological advances. First, the telephone was invented during the “sales era”, which was quickly followed by the rise of television and the “marketing department era”. This latter era saw us through the introduction of commercially available personal computers to where we are now, the digital era.
One of the biggest challenges for traditional marketing has been the advent of the internet in the 1990s. This fundamentally changed the way we as a society communicate with one another and consume content.
The internet helped to launch everything from online search engines and emails to online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. With this came strategies to use email as an outbound marketing tool, joining the traditional arsenal of TV, radio and print advertisements, as well as phone sales.
Today, digital marketing is an umbrella term for a wide variety of marketing tactics and technologies used to reach consumers online. It allows organisations to establish a brand identity and has changed the marketing industry.
Founder and strategic director of Content Copywriting, Sarah Spence, acknowledges that the core aspects of marketing haven’t changed over the decades – if you think about it broadly, marketing is about brands, products and services.
“Marketing revolves around the promotion, awareness, conversion and purchase of the brands, products and services,” Sarah says. “That as a fundamental hasn’t changed. Everything we do in the marketing sphere is about trying to improve the awareness or the conversion of a product, service or brand.”
That said, the fundamentals of digital marketing have shifted how marketing is done – take, for example, the gathering of audience perspectives.
“To get user perspective in the early days you would need to do a big research project,” says Sarah. “Brands would gather focus groups to road test ideas.”
This type of market research was only available to companies with the budgets for user testing.
“A lot of brands didn’t necessarily do that, because it’s a huge expense to go out there and do user testing,” says Sarah. “The big brands did, but middle-sized brands and small businesses weren’t able to afford these types of focus groups.”
Big data, big impact
The advent of big data led to a shift in how marketing – and digital marketing in particular – is looked at. Tracking of user behaviour while on the internet provided access to significant volumes of data, helping inform marketers on how they should go about marketing.
Big data is the collection of any type of information, including insights. It contains massive amounts of data and is used by marketers to track sales and customers. It is too large and complex to be managed by most data management tools, particularly traditional ones.
How does this all relate to marketing?
Big data goes hand in hand with digital marketing. Digital marketing is used to increase sales and attract as many customers as possible – it enables marketers to increase traffic by developing new plans and ideas for attracting customers via the internet. And none of this is possible without the assistance of big data – it’s a symbiotic relationship.
SEO – a key component of digital marketing
To increase engagement, organisations must build on the audience data they have collected to create meaningful content. Search engine optimisation (SEO) needs to be the backbone of all content marketing strategies because it supports a strong online presence and impactful paid ads.
SEO content writing is where organisations should aim to do all those great things that marketing can do, such as increasing visibility and conversion. SEO will increase the visibility of your brand on Google so that it shows up for all the terms your ideal audience may be searching – especially if your branding is strong.
“If you google a recipe for example, the search volumes are going to be significant, and so is the competition,” says Sarah. “And it’s going to be hard for a small brand to get their pumpkin soup recipe up to the top of the results, for instance. But there are still opportunities to rank in some of those long-tail, lower volume keyword phrases that someone may be searching, such as ‘how to store pumpkin soup’.”
Part of an SEO content strategy for a smaller brand may include them writing an article around the long-tail keyword phrase, and then linking to their recipe from within that article. Because there is less volume and less competition on that long-tail keyword phrase, the brand will have a better chance to rise through the ranks of Google.
“This strategy is effective for any size of business actually; big, medium or small,” adds Sarah.
Without the right agency, it can go wrong
Content creation can go wrong if it’s not rooted in an SEO marketing plan. Your SEO content is likely to fail if the audience work hasn’t been done or the data hasn’t been properly analysed – resulting in a waste of budget.
Imagine an organisation has hired an agency to write an article because they want to talk about or promote something as a business. They pick some SEO keywords they think their audience are searching for and write an article from the perspective of what the business wants to say. But there’s no marketing strategy driving the project or alignment to what the audience actually searches, or wants to read about. So, the content ultimately fails.
“It ends up being a waste of your time and budget,” Sarah says. “It may still be read by people who are already on your website, or it might make a decent social media post. But it’s not necessarily going to bring anyone new to the site or truly connect with your ideal audience.”
This is why organisations looking to optimise their search engine presence need to partner with an agency that doesn’t just create content for content’s sake.
“There’s always an opportunity to create content that aligns to both the business needs and the audience needs,” says Sarah. “There are lots of SEO agencies, there are lots of marketing agencies. The difference with Content Copywriting is that we are a strategic content marketing agency.”
Your tailor-made marketing strategy
If your goal is to grow your audience and increase conversions, your content needs to be backed by a marketing strategy that not only incorporates the fundamentals, but supports your brand to reach its full potential in the digital space.
That’s where we come in.
Content Copywriting’s strategic approach to content marketing is what sets us apart from the rest. Our team of SEO, content and strategy experts delivers everything your brand needs to connect meaningfully with your target audience.