You may be asking yourself why a book about digital marketing strategy has a chapter about business models and brands. There’s a good reason for that. You can’t really begin to determine your content marketing strategy until you determine how your company generates revenue and retains loyal customers. After you understand that, you’ll know what your customers find valuable in terms of products and content. You’ll be able to deliver the kind of content that keeps your customers engaged and buying.
Oddly enough, some companies don’t really understand the business they’re in. That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. Your company could be one of them. Many managers fully understand what their product does, but not what “job” (or jobs) it does for their customers. If you don’t know what job your customers are hiring your product to do, you won’t fully understand what your customers want.
Let’s start by defining two important concepts: business model and brand. After looking at the meaning of each of these concepts, you’ll find it easier to effectively address each one.
Your business model: Your business model describes how you make money. This concept is inward-facing, meaning that you look inside your company to see what drives your revenue. You consider operations, suppliers, and all the things that go into delivering a sound product.
Your brand: Your brand is what your company means to your customers. Regardless of how you make your money, your brand is defined by the connections it makes in the minds of your customers. You take into account things like customer data, retention, and buying habits to determine what your brand stands for. You can declare what your brand means to your customers, but you can’t make them believe it. They tell you. On social media, this message is amplified a hundred-fold.
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Disruptive innovation is simply a paradigm shift brought about by innovation that changes the way we look at a certain field or industry. Okay, I may have lost you at thee words paradigm shift but bear with me a little.
Digital marketing is admittedly one of the fields where the term “paradigm shift” is common vocabulary, but that’s not because we are trying to sound smarter than we are. Digital Marketing is a landscape built on and in an everchanging environment of disruptive innovation, where of advancements and innovative ideas change the entire landscape almost overnight.
Let me break this down a little. It is impossible to discuss digital marketing without Facebook coming up in the conversation. A little over 15 years ago this was just a way for nerdy Harvard students to chat, today it is a multi-billion dollar monster of a business that is almost as essential to any marketer as a good website. Facebook has irreversibly changed the way people communicate. Facebook created a platform (for better or worse) where people can share larger and more intimate aspects of their lives. Their experiences, thoughts, ideas, likes and dislikes.
YouTube begun as way for amateur video makers sharing their content with friends, 1 years later, there are over 400hours of videos uploaded to the site every minute. YouTube has become a hub for all video content from DIY tutorials and daily Vlogs (video blogs) to large production movies. YouTube changed the way video content is consumed. Studies show that as of 2017, more hours of YouTube videos exist than all the television broadcasts since the television was invented in the 1920s. YouTube made video publication and distribution available to the public creating a platform for more intimate videos that catered to a wider range of niche markets.
This disruptive nature of the digital marketing industry creates for a tenuous environment where one has to be ready to adapt or fall into obscurity. From 2004 to 2009, Myspace was the largest social networking site, however as Facebook came to the forefront, it steadily declined. As of 2108 (yes it still exists), Myspace is ranked 4,153rd by total web traffic. A far cry from its days at the top.
Sometimes however, adaptation is not enough to keep a company afloat, the relatively young Snapchat (founded in 2006) burst on the scene with a bang reaching peak popularity in 2015/2016 with over 10billion daily views. Snapchat fought tooth and nail against giants Instagram, Facebook and Twitter carving out for itself a respectable market share. In a bid to slow Snapchat’s growth which was largely based on the disappearing videos feature. In 2017, Facebook and Instagram both introduced similar feature greatly stunting Snapchat’s growth. Snapchat remained popular with its core demographic, but this was not the end, in 2018 Snapchat published an ad quiz created by a 3rd party meant to engage users with pop culture references. One of the questions in the quiz made insensitive reference to a domestic abuse incident between pop culture icons Chris Brown and Rihanna. Outraged by this incident, Rihanna made a statement in which she asked her millions of followers to remove the app. Within 24hrs, the Snap Inc. (Snapchat’s parent company) stock had dropped by 4 % costing the company almost 1 billion dollars.
What does this mean for you as a marketer?
Do your research. Stay ahead of the trend by keeping abreast of what is going on in the industry.
Have a contingency plan. Never put you eggs in one basket. Platforms will come and go and you need to be ready to adapt when one platform fails.
Think outside the box. Yes, I know that’s a very cliché statement, but in an industry that knows no norms, be the innovative change. Be the disruption that changes the world.
Are you ready to be the disruption? What’s next for digital marketing? Is Vero the next big social network? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) isn’t what the blogosphere would have you believe. It is not some unstoppable big bad monster lurking in the shadows trying to destroy your company and everything you hold dear. At its core, SEO is simply the process of making sure that the people that need to find you can find you. As long as you focus on these two key components of any search, you and your beloved will be just fine (no pitchforks and torches necessary).
The Human Aspect
Each search is done by a person looking to achieve a certain goal. This goal could be to find your business, to find out about the products and services you offer, or even just to get directions to your doorstep. As a brand, your goal is to make sure you are easier to find than your competition while making sure all the information potential clients would require is available to them.
The most important step to doing this is to view your company from the perspective of a customer to figure out what it is your clients look for when they look for you. One you have channelled the inner client within you write down a list of words that people would use to find you (hold on to these). These “keywords” form an essential basis for your website. Sprinkling them in a frequent manner on your website makes sure that when people look for you, they find what they are looking for.
The Cogs in the Machine
Working on SEO without understanding how search engines work is like going monster hunting with a quiver full of arrows and no bow. You may get lucky and prevail in the end but it is ill-advised, so please sit back and allow me to string your bow.
Search engines are software systems that scour the world wide web for information which they display in Search Engine Result Pages, or SERPs for short (we digital marketers are obsessed with abbreviations). Basically, search engines find the stuff they think you are looking for. To do so, they crawl through your website and find as much information as they can about it from each page. The search engines scrutinize every aspect of each page from the visible content to the media. Like a mother-in-law, search engines are very judgmental, looking at every tiny aspect of code behind your webpages.
Search engines are however text-based systems making text-based content your best friend in SEO. For these, the best policy is to regularly sparingly add the keywords in the text where they make sense; search engines penalize web pages that just stuff keywords in illogical places especially in page descriptions that are just keywords with no context. When it comes to non-text elements such as images and video content, search engines rely on the descriptions of them in the website code. To optimize non-text content, you should use the relevant keywords to name your files as well as use keywords to describe them in the meta-tag (it’s like a description that only the search engines see).
The monster hunting world of SEO is vast with many tools and methods to achieve your goals. The process is long, arduous and recurring but it is very effective and with the rewards being more than worth it. We hope this at least helped you get to know the monster a little better. Go forth and HAPPY HUNTING.