“Today we’re going to talk about the science of digital marketing,” said Chris, our fearless leader, at the beginning of class two. “Next week we’ll look at the art.”
The “art” part will remain mysterious for now (so you’d better bookmark this blog), but I’m pleased to be able to reveal the science of digital marketing: analysis.
“No hunches,” Chris warned.
The digital marketer’s task, he explained, is not to hold a séance with the collective unconscious and wave her arms in a mystical way (I’m paraphrasing), but to know which questions to ask. She must gather the facts; formulate a strategy; and support her actions. Her value is in how she turns data into deed.
I must admit that I had never thought about my value this way. But it makes sense.
“Do this regularly,” Chris said of the science part, “and it will point you to the rocks you need to turn over and look underneath.”
If you’re rushing to get your compass and first aid kit right now, I’m sorry, I have no choice but to rain on your field trip. This is not the Magic School Bus kind of science. It’s another kind of science altogether, which Chris classified under the genus “deskwork.” And instead of tent poles and a seaworthy kayak, its primary tools are two acronyms, a table, and six P’s.
The first acronym is the part where you get up high and look around with binoculars: a PESTEL analysis of the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors affecting your business.
The table is about zooming in on the best (and worst) practices of other businesses in your space. It is recommended that you examine four competitors and two interesting noncompetitors, and compare their owned, earned and paid media; what they are doing well; what they are not doing well; and any hidden truths you’ve uncovered by scrutinizing them.
The next acronym is “SWOT”: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. By now you’re looking in, and you’ll want to figure out what you could be doing better in terms of your marketing activities (owned, earned and paid), and your marketing operations (people, process and technology).
Once you’ve done that, you’ve got six P’s to attend to: Price, Place, Promotion, Product, People, and Process. You can use the P’s as a framework for big questions like what you want your business to be famous for, and how your customers view you. This part is about figuring out where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. In other words, building a strategy.
A strategy, we learned, is “an articulate way to rally an organization to do something.” How you want to describe this to the company is up to you. “That’s the art part,” Chris concluded.