Digital marketing - it's really about people.


We live in the age of big data - just about everything is evolving and the pace of technological change is accelerating. More and more parts of our lives are being carried out online, and with the explosion of web-enabled devices, there is some truth to the idea that we're literally being surrounded by cyberspace. Our customers are changing, too - how they act, what they have at their disposal, as well as what they expect and need.

So what does that mean for marketers? Well it means a lot of things, but boil it down to its essence and I think we can agree that "business as usual" won't cut it anymore. Much has been written on this blog and elsewhere about the changes that are needed, and you may have even heard the call to be "more digital" or think "digital first." One problem may be that everyone has their own idea of what that means to be more "digital."

For me, being digital is inherently connected to content - creating it, making it easy to find, sharing it and making it easy to share. In my opinion, something qualifies as "digital" if it exists electronically and has its own web address. That can be pictures, papers, videos, articles, blog posts, infographics, webcasts, internet memes and so on. And while it's a good start to pay attention to content, I think that's just the beginning. It goes beyond that because even with all the new digital ways to reach our customers, the traditional forms of marketing are still important so integrating the old with the new is the best approach in my opinion.

I recently viewed a brief video featuring Brian Solis - the speaker, author and digital anthropologist - that has me thinking more about the idea of digital. He got me thinking that all those forms of content are really just the means to get at what we really should be focused on - people. It's the people who want to read our papers and watch our webinars that matter, and they have values, experiences and emotions that influence their state of mind when they come across our content. And Brian believes that's why we should focus on people for mapping our way to success in the digital economy.

Gaining insights into those values, experiences and emotions with marketing analytics are what enable us to know when and how to engage them, as well as what they really care about. From how I see it, that's precisely at the core of using keywords and optimizing our pages and doing other things that come with being more digital.

I've embedded that 3-minute video below, and in it, Brian explains his view on two important "gaps" that marketers should focus on bridging to be successful in our digital economy. And yes, both of those gaps are about people and the customer experience.

Let me know what you think:




About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a Digital Marketing Principal here at SAS focused on Content Strategy. I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


    • John Balla

      Great point, Michelle! I often find that when things get very complicated, it's time to go back to the basics and focus in on the known truths. So, in marketing - the one indisputable constant is the customer and when you engage them as people, then you have a great basis for engagement.

  1. Pingback: SAS: Digital marketing - it's really about people - Brian Solis

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