Tech Gives Rise to the Digital Marketer

That sound you hear is the buzz around marketing using social media and mobile apps. Not only can marketers now reach a larger audience, data analytics measure the effectiveness of digital campaigns in quantifiable terms. But can marketing pros become technically literate without losing their creativity?

Thu, October 17, 2013

CIO — There's a look of worried enthusiasm on the faces of marketers these days.

marketing, online marketing, digital marketing
Their profession used to reward individuals whose intuitive decisions somehow yielded higher sales and greater brand awareness. Now marketing's colorful, creative tradition has been exposed by the harsh light of digital data and analytics that deliver black-and-white numerical results.

"You must be able to measure it and see the needle move," said Erin Levzow at Ad Age's Digital Conference at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco this week. Levzow's formal title is executive director of hotel marketing and ecommerce at Palms in Las Vegas, but she calls herself a digital marketer. There is simply no stopping the rise of the digital marketer.

Out With the Old, In With Mobile and Social

Social networks and mobility are at the core of this digital marketing movement. Facebook advertisements and YouTube videos now replace print ads and billboards. Maps apps and location-based searches boasting mighty click-through rates bring buyers closer to sellers. And real-time Twitter conversations amplify television ads to a much wider audience.

[Related: Do Chief Digital Officers Spell Trouble for CIOs?]

At Ad Age's Digital Conference, the buzz was around marketing on social networks. Social media marketing has drawn a lion's share of attention, in part because marketing efforts can be easily tracked. It's not just buzz, either. Advertisers are placing their bets on social.

Marketing dollars are divided into three buckets: paid, owned and earned.

  • "Paid" is when a company pays to advertise in someone's media channel, say, a magazine.
  • "Owned" is when a company owns the media channel, such as its website.
  • "Earned" media is when the consumer drives the action. For example, a company gets its message out through viral sharing on a social network.

[Slideshow: The Content Marketing Hall of Fame: 13 Ways to Build Your Business]

"We believe the future is 25 [percent] owned, 25 paid and 50 earned," Lucas Herscovici, vice president of digital marketing in North America at Anheuser Busch, told Ad Age's Digital Conference attendees. "Measuring returns on social networks & we focus on driving sales and brand health."

Art of Marketing Gives Way to Data Science

Measurable marketing is a sea change for marketers. For years, marketing was considered more black art than science. Creative advertising genius David Ogilvy once wrote: "Many manufacturers secretly question whether advertising really sells their product, but are vaguely afraid that their competitors might steal a march on them if they stopped."

With today's data gathering and analysis software, companies don't need to question anymore. Marketing pros from McDonalds to Visa showed attendees PowerPoint slides full of stats proving the effectiveness of their mostly digital marketing efforts.

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