The Digital Marketing Ecosystem, where to start?
Creating a seamless user journey and an integrated customer experience is surely the ultimate goal of every marketer. However, with new devices and digital channels constantly evolving, the marketing landscape is continuously becoming more complex. And as people change their behaviors, marketers will need to react.
Instead of taking the multi-channel route, businesses are now gradually shifting focus and investing in omni-channel infrastructures to create a holistic and integrated user experience, and it is with no doubt that they will need to have the right digital marketing ecosystem in place to achieve that.
So where does one really start to build such an ecosystem? I have been trying to figure this out and for me the easiest way to start was simply to focus on 3 key Pillars that will be built around attaining an integrated user journey, from ATTRACT all the way to EXPAND.
The key Pillars to help in Mapping out your ecosystem.
- Owned Properties:
Owned properties is any web property that you can basically control and is unique to your brand. To start with, try to map these properties that you currently own and already have in place such as your website, social media platforms, App, podcast, blog, Vlog and so on.
- Earned Properties:
Earned properties are basically the equivalent of online word of mouth and are the engines that drive free organic traffic, engagement and sentiment to your owned web properties. Consider Search Engine visibility, referral links, user generated content, and even internal employee advocacy. All these are earned properties that you would want to include and leverage in your ecosystem. Most organizations usually start with Search Engine Marketing. Getting the content on your website discovered by making sure you are visible on search engines such as Google can be a good place to start.
- Paid Properties:
Paid media is a good way to promote content in order to drive earned media, as well as direct traffic to your owned media properties. Display Advertising, Affiliate Marketing, Paid Search, Social Media Advertising and even Influencer Marketing are all good examples of paid properties that you can potentially leverage and include in your Digital Marketing ecosystem.
If we visualise all those three pillars in a diagram it would ideally look something like the below:
So what will be at core to drive this ecosystem?
With these three pillars identified and mapped out, you are now only left with identifying the key engines that will elevate and drive those properties. In this scenario, I am thinking of three focus areas – Digital Strategy, Data, and of course Content.
“Your Content Marketing Needs to Be Data-Driven”
When people think content, they often think creative. But in reality, great content marketing is a blend of both creativity & data. Data is basically the vital ingredient to achieve content marketing success.
And there’s no question of course that the key foundation of the whole ecosystem needs to be driven by a solid Digital Marketing Strategy. The digital strategy will be the plan of action that will identify how you will trigger and utilise your ecosystem to create that seamless journey.
There are of course many other systems and departments that one needs to factor in and consider when building a similar ecosystem. It is a never ending loop that continuously needs improvement and adjustment. To sum it all up, I have mapped all the above focus areas in the below diagram: