(Digital) Marketing — where to start?

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

So you got a new job as a digital marketer in a new company, what now?

In (too) many cases, digital marketing is handed off to an unsuspecting member of the existing employee base OR the youngest member OR just an intern. After all, the thinking usually is that digital marketing and social media is a young person’s game, therefore they should know best how to handle it. Well, maybe but usually no.

It’s probably too late to say no to the job, so where should you begin? Here are a few things you should address first (before diving into paid approached which is what most people do).

Identify your audience

Basic marketing, and for some reason many people ignore this very obvious step. Who is your audience/customer? What are their demographics? What do they like/dislike? What do they care about? Where do they spend most of their time? What influences them? How much money do they have? What brands do they like? How do they spend their weekends/free time? What do they think about your brand?

These are very basic questions that you, as a marketer, should be able to easily identify. Depending on who your audience is, it will affect all your other decisions in digital marketing. Without knowing this information, you’re really just shooting in the dark and that’s wasted time and money.

Understanding your brand and its differentiation

In all likelihood, your brand isn’t the only one that exists in it’s class. Whether you’re a consumer good (e.g. camera or phone) or service (e.g. tutoring or handyman), you likely have competition in the space.

So, do you know about all the competition in the space? What sets you apart from the competition? How does this make you different in the eyes of your audience base? What messages do you stand behind.

By understanding the landscape and your audience, you should be able to craft our specific messages that speak specifically to your potential customer base (e.g. speed? safety? affordability? exclusiveness?). If you look at your marketing messages, do they address the key messages? As a result, are you marketing to a different segment of the audience when compared to your competition (hint: you should).

Where you need to be

Next you need to assess where your brand needs to be present. Depending on your audience, this will change — younger generation (likely away from Facebook and more likely on Instagram), older and affluent (likely away from social altogether, and more offline), parents of babies (likely Facebook for stories but also strong in-person playgroups) or teens (likely influencer and product placement).

The key here is to realise that digital marketing doesn’t mean SEO (Google) and Social (Facebook and Instagram). Depending on where your audience is, you need to adjust your strategy. Spending on what everyone else is spending on is not a smart strategy. BUT, if you spent time understanding the audience, this should be easy for you to identify.

The Product

This one gets forgotten far too often. If the product is no good or doesn’t deliver as expected, no amount of marketing is going to help.

There is a need to constantly review the product and iterate towards the perfect product. As marketers, you should be closest to the audience (understanding what paying customers are saying about your product) — these thoughts and comments need to be relayed back to the appropriate members of the company to ensure the the product is as best as it possibly can be.

Is this traditionally what people think about marketing? No. Is it invaluable? Yes. Will people blame you if you don’t tell them what’s wrong even thought you had the comments all along? Absolutely. Don’t be put in this situation.

CRM and Support

The piece that nobody wants to deal with, but has the biggest potential to go viral is CRM and support.

The threshold for decent CRM and support is surprisingly low. This means that there is a huge opportunity here to be remarkable in your customer’s eyes. Constant (especially whimsical) feedback give them a reason to talk about your brand (and be reminded when gifting/renewal season comes along).

Personalised support in particular can go a long way. Often this task of CRM/support falls onto whoever has bandwidth. Argue that this should fall under marketing, and you’ll have a lot to handle, but also a massive opportunity to learn and stand out. Become worthy of chatter and watch the praise come in.


Digital marketing (and marketing in general) gets a bad rap. For many bosses, it’s just a necessary evil — but that’s only because they don’t understand the true value of it. Until they start seeing real results, they’re not going to allocate more resources (and better talent) to it.

The best thing about digital marketing is that everything can be measured — performance can be easily measured over time. The article here serves as a good place to start and by no means a comprehensive take on everything digital marketing needs to cover. BUT if theses steps are handled well, more advanced (paid) techniques can be experimented on, with huge results to come. One step at a time.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 340,876+ people.

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