In this article, I am going to highlight the fundamentals of marketing and how a newbie marketer should approach digital marketing in today’s era.
As we all know, Digital Marketing is one of the key buzzwords of the 21st century.
Everybody, from college-going students to startups, entrepreneurs to large enterprises today— wants to learn it and master it in their own way.
Digital marketing has so many facets like SEO, SMO, PPC, email marketing, and more — that it can intrigue any newbie like me who is just starting out.
Besides that, you have to also stay aware of the latest happenings and trends in the world of online marketing.
Because of the growing popularity of digital marketing, the content related to it on social media and the internet is limitless — most of which is unorganized, unauthentic and theoretical.
Beginners like me who are just starting out definitely need guidance from an expert who can explain digital marketing to us in the simplest manner with practical examples.
Because of this very sole reason, I decided to join the Digital Deepak Internship Program by Mr. Deepak Kanakraju — a well-known name in the field of digital marketing in India. He is among the very few persons in India you can trust for learning Digital Marketing in a practical manner.
As part of the internship program whatever I have learned about the digital marketing fundamentals during week 2 — I am going to summarize in this blog with my own experience. I have tried to include every important detail a new marketer should know before stepping into the field of online marketing.
Here’s what you will learn going forward in this article:
Chapter 1: Getting the Basics Right — Marketing and Communication
Chapter 2: Setting Your Goal — Niche Selection, Market Analysis, Choosing the Right Medium
Chapter 3: Putting the Best Marketing Methods into Practice — CATT, Integrated Marketing and Direct Response Marketing
Chapter 4: Building a Personal Brand for Bigger Success
Chapter 1: Getting the Basics Right — Marketing and Communication
Before entering the digital marketing field, it’s one’s responsibility to understand the science behind marketing. You should exactly know the marketing purpose, principles, and how to get started with it.
No matter what profession you choose — digital entrepreneur, digital marketing manager, online influencer, or others- knowing the marketing fundamental is of utmost importance.
1.1 What is marketing?
On what marketing exactly is, the father of marketing Philip Kotler said the marketing work starts before you build a product. Understanding what exactly people want and then building that product is half the win when it comes to marketing.
“Marketing is the homework that we do before we have a product”
— Philip Kotler
1.2 Aim of Marketing
The aim of marketing is to understand your customer’s needs and desires so you can build a product that fits into their lifestyle perfectly. Moreover, it is about building products that delight your customers and make them feel valued at every stage.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
– Peter F. Drucker
1.3 Art of Marketing
Marketing is not just about understanding your customers. It is also focused on brand building or establishing a personal connection with your customers. You should always try to build a brand that’s real, relatable, and authentic. One that customers can trust easily.
“The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are a commodity”
1.4 Building a Strong Personal Brand
It’s really important not to be a brand that is a mere business only. Create something that inspires, motivates, or encourages people by sneaking into their goals, values and dreams. Something that people can relate with easily and find value to be associated with.
In short, your business should have a large purpose or mission that is meaningful for society.
For example, Nike as a sports brand has the vision to inspire and motivate every athlete in the world by building innovative, sustainable products. As a sports brand, they are not just building products they are encouraging people to get fitter and join their fans/community that uses sustainable products.
The most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”
– Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
1.5. The Importance of Good Communication
I hope you’ve got an idea about the basic principles of marketing and how it works till now. Now let’s discuss the other important part of marketing: communication. To become a great marketer, you need to be a good communicator first.
For good communication, it doesn’t mean having very good English. If you can express your ideas effectively to other people in simple words, you can succeed in the world of marketing. Copywriting is completely based on that.
“I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
– David Ogilvy
To become an effective writer, you can follow the below tips, as suggested by Mr. Deepak Kanakraju:
- Make a habit of writing 500 words daily.
- Watch standup comedy and sitcoms to understand the dialect, culture and local slang.
- Start thinking in English.
- Write as if you are talking to someone or if someone is sitting in front of you.
- Listen to podcasts (30 mins every day).
- Make a habit of reading (read English books, magazines, and blogs
Among all the tips suggested above, the most important is reading. One should focus on reading quality English books and blogs. The more you read, the better your grammar and vocabulary become over time. Start with reading topics or subjects you’re interested in to develop a habit of reading.
Being a good communicator helps you transcend your message effectively to your target audience. You can improve your brand reputation and gain customer trust easily with effective communication.
Chapter 2: Setting Your Goal — Niche Selection, Market Analysis, Choosing the Right Medium
Now that you’ve gone through all prerequisites of marketing, the next important part is to set a goal for yourself.
Before beginning your digital marketing journey or building a personal brand or starting an online venture — it’s important to define the “why” behind your business.
Think about the main reason why you want to start your business: is it to get fame or money or loyal fans or you want to make the world a better place?
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
– Simon Sinek
For example, if I am going to launch a credit card information website/portal, the“why” behind my initiative could be “to educate and increase awareness among people about how to use credit cards to mint rewards (cashback) instead of getting into a debt trap”
The core reason behind your brand existence should also align with your marketing strategy. It also helps you get clarity in terms of finding the “who” of your business – the target customers, people who share the same beliefs as you, or people who find value in your products.
To get clarity about the “who” and“why” of your business, you should set a SMART goal initially as a digital marketer.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
An example of a SMART GOAL for myself could be:
“Reach 10,000 potential credit card buyers via online website to start earning 50,000 in monthly income by end of June 2021, considering 1% CTR and 500 referral commission.”
The above goal has all the elements to be qualified as a SMART objective. By writing such an objective, you can get obsolete clarity over what you want to achieve and the amount of effort required to achieve your goal.
If you are reading carefully till now, you must have observed I talked about the “why” and “who” from 5Ws of marketing.
Now to identify the “what”(the product or service you want to sell) in your business – you need to identify market niche.
2.1 Niche Selection
“A business niche is a specialized or focused area of a broader market that businesses can serve to differentiate themselves from the competition.”
-Skye Schooley, Business News Daily
In simple words, a niche market is a market inside a larger market. The people here have the same needs as the larger market, but they also have an additional set of needs that are largely unserved – which sets them apart from the broader market.
Here is an example:
- Wealth or finance products for working professionals is a larger market, comprising mutual funds, stocks, credit cards, debit cards, etc.
- A specific market here could be credit cards products for working professionals
- A niche market here could be credit card products for working professionals of the age group 25 to 40.
It is always better to stick to a market niche to sell your products or services. Operating in a niche market has several advantages like
The better you understand your niche market, the more effective the marketing campaign you will be able to design.
I’m always aware of who my core audiences are and I serve that niche.
— Edward Burns
Now identifying a niche market opportunity is something all newbie marketers like me struggle with.
To start off with there are four major niches in India which include:
Under these four major niches, there are hundreds of sub-niches and micro-niches you can target easily.
Use the below four steps to find your market niche:
1. List down all your interest and passion (keep this list up to 10 topics maximum)
2. Identify the customer problems in every niche and whether you can solve them.
- Go to Quora (see the type of questions people ask there)
- Make Keyword Research and check volume(use tools like Ubersuggest, SEMrush, Answer the public)
- Do customer surveys and interviews in your target niche
3. Research Competition (presence of competition in your niche isn’t bad. This means it’s profitable already. Hunt for opportunities like low-quality content, less paid competition, no transparency, etc.
4. Find Niche Profitability (if looking to sell a product immediately go to affiliate networks like Clickbank and Affiliate Junction and check commission or profit-making opportunities
Ideally, your niche should be something that’s not too narrow nor too broad. It should be profitable.
2.2 Market Economics
Besides selecting your niche and target audience, it’s equally important to keep an eye on local and global market economics because it will impact your business in some or other way.
Here are some interesting points that I have learned during my internship class:
2.2.1 Debt creates money
(In a country like India where the average age is just 29, the young people will always require more goods and services, This will force them to take loans and pay interest. More loans and interest levied by banks will increase money circulation in the economy and ultimately drive country growth)
2.2.2 Recession always creates strong companies and the weaker ones are put out of the system.
(Having a strong brand image and customer trust in your services will allow you to survive in market downturns and emerge further as a stronger business)
2.2.3 When the average age of a country goes up, the economy of a country goes up.
Targeting developing countries like India where the average age is less can be can boost your business profits and ROI..
2.3 Choosing the Right Medium — Digital vs Traditional Marketing
Understanding the key differences between digital and traditional marketing is crucial as an online marketer. This helps you identify the “where” and “when” of your online business. It is very possible that the product/service you want to promote or sell has ample marketing scope in both areas:
For example, if you are launching a fitness startup-like Cult.Fit (India) where you provide fitness classes in both online and offline mode, leveraging both marketing channels would be important.
When you have a generic product with mass appeal, traditional marketing is ideal.
(For example, promoting a product like the iPhone with a mass appeal on television is a good choice for marketers as they can reach a broader customer segment. Remember, India has 198 million homes with a television set)
Opting for digital marketing is best when you have a product/service with English speaking, affluent target audience.
(For example, selling a digital marketing course across online platforms would be a good choice)
- For conveying the emotional elements of your brand or establishing a human connection with target customers, traditional marketing is best. Few examples in India: LIC ads (“Jivan ke sath bhi jivan ke bad bhi“) Realme ads (“Proud to be Young”)
- Traditional marketing comes with minimum to no personalization. (You can’t customize your brand advertisement running on television according to different customer age groups)
- It’s difficult to measure the results of your traditional marketing campaigns. (You can get estimated TV viewerships and billboards drive-bys, but still, they are just estimates)
- For targeting a specific pool of audiences with a limited budget, digital marketing is a good option.
- When you want to deliver interactive and connected brand experiences to customers.
“The brands that can connect with the client in a real way will win”
— Gary Vaynerchuk
- Digital marketing often results in content overload in form of email, ads, etc. to your customers.
- Making a visual impact is comparatively difficult in digital marketing. (Just imagine having your billboard ad in front of thousands of people in a crowded stadium)
Chapter 3: Putting the Best Marketing Methods into Practice — CATT Funnel and Integrated Marketing
After getting absolute clarity about your:
a. Business goal (why)
b. product/service (what)
c. marketing niche & target audience (who)
d. promotion channels (where & when)
You can apply below marketing models and techniques for achieving greater success in your campaigns:
3.1 CATT Marketing Model
Generating sales through your marketing campaign is vital for your business survival and to compete more effectively. To do that, tracking customer engagement levels with your brand or services is mandatory. For that, you need to apply different marketing funnels like CATT which is an improved version of the AIDA model.
AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire and action. This model failed simply because it was not scalable in the first place. Less scalability means fewer customer transactions. And, fewer transactions ultimately mean low profit and low wealth for your business.
Now let’s see how CATT improves upon the AIDA model.
CATT stands for:
C = Content
A = Attention
T = Trust
T = Transaction
And the formula to increase your wealth using CATT is
Wealth = n^CATT
Here N = your Niche
Your wealth creation ability and success will directly depend upon the niche you choose, as per CATT funnel.
A Good Niche is Talent + Passion + Market Opportunity
You should always choose a niche:
- You are passionate about
- You have a talent for that
- And there is a good market opportunity to make money in that niche
Failing to meet any one of the above points will apparently result in your failure in the niche you operate.
For example, if you’re very talented and passionate about one particular area/skill, but there is no market demand for that skill, then no one will buy your product or service.
Secondly, if you have the talent and there is a market requirement also, but you are not very passionate about it or you have a laid-back attitude then your competitor will beat you in that niche.
Lastly, if you have the passion and there is a market opportunity, but you lack talent then also you will fail. Meeting all three conditions is a prerequisite to get success and wealth fast.
Now Let’s talk about other parts of the CATT equation:
Content (C): Content is the king and will be the king always. When we talk about grabbing audience attention, no one can beat quality content. You should provide value to your target customers by delivering insightful and actionable content through newsletter/emails, social media posts, blogs, podcasts, and more. In traditional marketing also, it is all about pulling audience attention through eye-catching content on billboards, paper advertisements, etc
Attention (A); Grabbing attention in CATT means driving traffic to your content available across different platforms, including website, social media, podcasts, youtube, and more. You need to apply best SEO practices, run paid ad campaigns on social media and google, and apply other techniques like viral marketing, affiliate marketing, etc. to capture your target customers’ attention.
Again the method of promotion should depend upon your target audience, For targeting people aged between18 to 40( Gen Y & Z), social media ads is a good option while targeting people above 40 (Gen X) you can take TV and billboard advertising route.
Trust (T): Gaining customer trust is a crucial part of the CATT funnel. Increasing customer trust in your services takes time. You need to constantly deliver value to your customers through your services. It will help you establish a stronger brand.
Luckily, the presence of various marketing automation techniques today makes it easier for you to acquire customer trust, You can apply strategies like retargeting and deep marketing to strengthen customer trust in your services, Ask people to follow you on social platforms, and subscribe to your email list for repetitive engagement.
Transaction (T): This is the most important part of your CATT funnel. A higher number of customer transactions brings more profit and ROI for your business. It helps you scale, improve, and strengthen your business. Remember, people do not buy when they trust you, they buy when they see a good offer and they have faith in the services offered. The formula we could use here would be:
Good Offer + Customer trust + Customer need = Higher number of transactions/purchases
For increasing sales, you need to create quality landing pages, sales webinars, 1:1 personalized interactions and more. This will help you earn more profits and put that money back into business for improving services and getting more and more sales.
That’s how the entire CATT marketing funnel runs and helps you amplify your business wealth and success 10x.
Now let’s look at another important marketing model/technique which is important for you to double down your business profits.
3.2 Integrated Digital Marketing Model
This model is not that complex as it seems from the name.
Integrated marketing is all about connecting all the elements of your digital marketing together to deliver a holistic, seamless experience to target users across all channels.
It also helps you drive desired business results as you bring out the best from each channel in this closely connected marketing loop.
The root of it lies in quality content creation. No matter what medium you choose — email, social media, or paid ads — the success of your efforts will directly depend upon how authentic, relevant and actionable your content is and how closely integrated it is.
If your target audience connects with it, they are more likely to share it and subscribe to your newsletter for receiving similar content in the future. If your content gets lots of engagement and social shares, it will automatically do well on search engine rankings with basic SEO on your part. And, in the end, you can boost your quality content growth with targeted user ads across different channels and maximize your ROI.
Let’s reiterate again:
Digital marketing comprises mainly of the following activities:
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Search engine marketing
- Content marketing
- Sales and conversions
Connecting all these pieces together and then forming a closely-connected, holistic marketing ecosystem will help you win more customers and gain their trust faster.
Chapter 4: Building a Personal Brand for Bigger Success
If you have come this far reading carefully and patiently, thank you for staying with me through this article.
Now that you’ve obtained a detailed understanding of how the world of online marketing works, let’s discuss the power of personal branding in this chapter which you will require at some point in your digital marketing career.
Whether you’re planning to launch an online business, become a digital freelancer, or get a digital marketing job, building a personal brand will always help you stand out from the league.
You can understand the power of personal branding through this one line quote by this century’s greatest investor Warren Buffet:
“Personal branding is a powerful predictor of career success.”
– Warren Buffet
Your reputation is something that makes people feel like working with you. Take the example of Buffet, the people who invested in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, have an inherent belief and trust in Warren’s investing ideology, principles, and working style. Buffet didn’t care what society thought of him and his investing methods, he only cared whether people would trust him to work under his company.
Personal branding allows you to create a belief among people that your services or products are worthy to gain their trust.
It is also an opportunity to showcase to others how you use your talent and skills to serve society. It starts by realizing the fact that you’re a one-man business. That doesn’t mean bragging or becoming narcissistic. Becoming fully-accountable for your business actions is also a part of personal branding.
Why Choose Personal Branding?
Remember people want to hear from people, not brands. They prefer human connections and realistic experience while interacting with brands.
Here are a few examples of how powerful a personal brand is:
- Elon Musk is bigger than SpaceX and Tesla.
- Warren Buffet is bigger than Berkshire Hathaway.
- Steve Jobs is more influential than Apple.
Benefits of A Personal Brand
- Gain Customer Trust
- Gain Credibility
- Increase Online Influence
- Loyal Customer Base
- Establish Human Connections
- More Sales
- Fast Career Growth
- Large Professional Network
Having a strong personal brand allows you to kickstart multiple other businesses. But, those related brands can never become greater than you which is one disadvantage of personal branding. You, as an influencer, remains always greater than the company, product, or service you sell.
Closing the Bible…!
Always remember marketing is rooted in human psychology right from the early days. Everybody has a silent marketer inside their souls. We all are good at explaining things to others which we know pretty well ourselves.
But to master the art of marketing and to gain customer trust, you need to follow a process:
This process starts with learning. You first need to know the key concepts, remember facts, and practice procedures for sharpening your skills.
To test and put your newly acquired skills in action, you should start working, be it freelancing, a 9–5 job, or your own projects. Real-like experiences will help you understand the concepts in a much better way.
After having enough experience and knowledge of the field you’re working in, start blogging to help others and get a strong grasp on concepts you’ve learned. This also serves as a stepping stone for your journey towards building a personal brand.
Consulting and mentoring are the next phases of this evolution journey of yours. Start mentoring and guiding other people when you have enough knowledge and hands-on experience in your field.
Finally, after going through such a hard learning grind, you can think of launching your own startup. And, if you have carefully read this closing section, you can create a blueprint out of it for achieving greater success in your marketing journey. This blueprint would be known as the MassTrust model.
And, with this, I drop my pen for this article.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this marketing fundamentals blog which I have written thoughtfully during the second week of the Digital Deepak internship program. This internship course keeps getting updated frequently, so don’t miss out.
Also, if you have any suggestions or feedback related to this article, you can drop them down in the comment section below. Feel free to share improvement ideas, what you liked and what didn’t about the article.