The Benefits of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing skills are necessary in any business if you are to make the most of the opportunities available – but is it worth it? What are the benefits?

Digital marketing enables you to use the power of the internet to do what in the past was impossible for a small or medium-sized business.

It enables you to use prime real estate with high footfall for little or no cost.

It enables you to put your business in front of your ideal customer.

It enables you to create a marketing system that you can repeat and improve.

It enables you to solve one of the original problems with marketing and advertising, made famous by the quote “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Digital marketing gives you the tools to answer this question! In this sense digital marketing is still revolutionary.

Depending upon your point of view, the traditional marketing person fits a certain persona or caricature. Digital marketing is different.

I think there are 3 really key skills needed to be a ‘ace’ digital marketer – they of course spell out the acronym A-C-E.

ACE - 3 key digital marketing skills needed in small business

A is for Analytical

Digital marketing is fundamentally data driven. The ability to build systems to capture data, analyse it and draw appropriate conclusions is necessary to take full advantage of the digital marketing revolution. You need to have enough data to draw meaningful conclusions and to turn them into what are called “actionable insights”.

Having an analytical mind means that you can create suitable experiments to test out a possible hunch or hypothesis about what might work. Whilst there are plenty of best practice guidelines out there, the circumstances of your business, your target customer, and the online channel that you try and reach them through, make your situation unique. So whilst copying the approaches that work for others is a sensible approach, there is no substitute for testing it yourself and gathering your own data.

Your own digital marketing data is a valuable asset.

Your own data is unique – no one else has it. It is a valuable asset and will give you useful insights as time goes on.

The analytics keep you on track – as Jeff Bezos said “the great thing about fact-based decisions is that they overrule the hierarchy.” Your marketing can be as creative and lovely as you like, but if it doesn’t give the right result in the data, change it.

Analytics also make a good result easier to repeat (you know what works) and also what to try improving. It enable a continuous cycle of testing and improvement. Sometimes, even more importantly, it shows you what to stop doing!

C is for Creativity

Unsurprisingly, marketing requires some creativity and this is even more important in digital marketing which is now highly visual, driven by images.

The ability to be creative in the use of words, images video and audio gives an endless range of possibilities for presenting your products and services to the customer. As smart phones and bandwidth have expanded, so the use of images and video in particular have expanded.

In adverts, a creative headline coupled with a compelling image can provoke a response at both the rational and emotional levels. A video can convey in a few seconds the personality of the business and quickly position it in the customer’s mind.

Building up a range of “digital assets” will give you a bank of resources that can be used in different channels, emphasising different benefits and solutions to different target customers.

Creativity allows you to communicate effectively online.

Coupled with an analytical mind, different creatives can be tested, with the most effective ones retained and the least effective ones discarded or revised.

E is for Empathy

Empathy enables you to step into the shoes of your customer. To see the world from their point of view, from their perspective. It enables you to get an insight into the problems they experience, the pain that they want to move away from and the pleasure that they want to move towards.

Knowing what your customer wants at an intellectual level is one thing, understanding it on an emotional level is another and being able to craft messages to that speaks to that is another skill again.

Empathy enables you to get an insight into what they might be thinking and feeling, how they see themselves and what sort of social groups they might be a part of.

Empathy gives you valuable insights.

These insights will be invaluable when crafting your product or service, creating the right perceived benefits and generating some compelling key marketing messages that will move people to take action.

Other Digital Marketing Skills

Now of course there are lots of other skills that a good digital marketer would have – you only need to look at a wikipedia article on digital marketing to realise how complex it is!

Other skills include things like:

  • technology skills
  • coding skills – eg HTML
  • curiosity
  • business acumen

If I had to add a fourth skill from this list it would be the technology skills – the ability to use all the platforms and online tools that are a necessary part of creating and managing digital marketing campaigns.

However I think at its core it’s the blend of these 3 that are key: being analytical, being creative and being able to empathise that are the core skills to find. A blend of art and science.


So there we are – my take on digital marketing and the skills you – and your business – needs.

Being analytical, creative and having empathy.

The chances of all three of those co-existing in equal measure in one person are very low. So don’t give yourself a hard time if you find digital marketing difficult! Some of it you’ll love and some of it is a grind. Some of it is creative and one-off, whilst other aspects are repetitive and technical.

So what do you do about it?

Either you need to have an in-house team with those different skills or you need to outsource some or all of it. Then your business can be ACE at digital marketing too!

Confused By Digital Marketing?

An introduction to digital marketing for business owners with profit in mind.

All business owners should understand how digital marketing works – and how it could be made profitable for their business.

If you’re baffled by the terminology, confused by the moving parts, can’t tell the difference between good advice and hype then this course is for you.

  • Understand your digital customer
  • Design your system & key metrics
  • Improve your profits

This online course enables you to calmly assess how you could get digital marketing to work for your business.

You will even create the main elements of your digital marketing system – without doing anything technical. You will create a blueprint which you can then get someone else to create for you. You can focus on the business side and leave the technical side to others.

Learn More

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