Web Marketing Defined

When I speak, teach and train various web marketing subjects, I often start sessions by defining the true meaning of web marketing.  Since “web marketing” is a phrase that means many things to many people, I wanted to set the record straight to help you apply one of the best forms of marketing correctly to your organization.

Let’s start first by defining the true definition of marketing.  Marketing is correctly defined as “maximizing exchanges”.  Exchanges can be various things like: leads, calls, online inquiry form completions, email newsletter signups, downloads, inquiries, networking, sales, and repeat sales.  Marketing is not about tools (like websites, email technology, blogs, social media, TV, magazine ads, Public Relations, etc) is is about HOW the breadth and depth of marketing tools are used to build relationships. 

Remember that marketing means making relationships, keeping relationships, cultivating relationships and re-kindling relationships. 

Web tools and technologies are simply support mechanisms to help support organizations build relationships. 

If I had a penny for every time I was asked for the Top Ten Ways To Make Money by Using Web Marketing online, I would be rich.  Instead, I find myself re-training brains to understand the real meaning of marketing first (to educate from the right foundation) and then teaching the way the web can work to support the five ways marketing works for organizations.

The Five Ways Marketing Must Work for Your Organization and What it Can Do:
1. Marketing can build awareness.  You can have the best products or services in the world, but if nobody knows, what’s the point?  Awareness can come from many ways including: advertising, search optimization, referrals, online marketing, traditional marketing (TV, radio), social media, word of mouth marketing (and in these online days “word of mouse” marketing).

2, Marketing communicates.  Getting our message in front of current and prospective customers is key to success.  Communication can serve as information distribution (pricing, value, competitive value, distinction, product/service information, etc.)  Communication can also serve as a way to help educate a current or prospective customer so they understand what your product/service provides and why it is something they want or need.  Communication is critical with marketing.

3. Marketing connects.  Meaningful marketing makes relationships.  Successful marketing helps build the “know, like and trust” factors (so people know you/your organization, like you/your organization, and trust you/your organization.”  We connect through our stories, expertise, passion, content, video and much more.

4. Marketing serves.  Marketing is about serving before selling.  Remember:

“Good leaders must first become good servants”  
– Robert Greenleaf

Customer Service is part of marketing.  We can drive all the customers in the world to our businesses or organizations, but if we can’t or don’t serve them well (and repeatedly serve them well) then there is a serious flaw in the marketing puzzle.  Marketing needs to be a customer service tool, whether you are selling product or providing a service (for or non-profit).

5. Marketing sells.  Yes, marketing does need to support sales and drive sales.  To achieve this, all the points above must also be a part of the marketing puzzle.

Defining web marketing:
Web Marketing (also defined as online marketing internet Marketing and eMarketing) is simply defined (thank you Wikipedia) as “using the web to market products or services”.  Web marketing can include a number of options, including:

– New Website/Web Redesign/Website Optimization
– Search Engine Marketing (Natural Search, Paid Search, Local Search)
– E-mail
– Online Advertising
– Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Wikipedia, Podcasting)
– Affiliate Marketing
– Website Analytics to Measure Performance
– Viral Marketing
– Mobile Marketing
– Video
– Gaming
– Article Marketing to eZines, etc
It is not online tools (see above) that make web marketing matter, it is how we use the tools that make marketing matter.

The old rules of marketing was about a “one to many” approach, where now, new rules technologies allow organizations (large and small) to have “one to one” direct relationships all through a simple internet connection!

To make marketing matter, a clear business model needs to be defined and strategy needs to be set.  Web marketing, like any other marketing, needs to have a clear strategy and purpose.

Web Marketing is a Revolution and an Evolution.
The classics that make marketing matter (see steps 1-5 above) will always apply, however, the revolution of web marketing and it’s continual evolution make it critical to never stop learning about the options that we have at our fingertips.  We create new ideas by learning, we execute them when the idea seems like a good one, then we monitor our results…then create, execute and monitor all over again. 🙂

Web marketing can brand, build and boost business in ways we never imagined (and for a fraction of the cost, on flexible terms and in a fun way!) 

If you want to learn how to use the web to brand, build and boost business (for profit and non-profit) then you are at the right blog!

49 thoughts on “Web Marketing Defined

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  2. Bill @ SBCC

    Web marketing applied to my photo hosting site, dedicated to promoting rescue dogs for adoption and/or fostering.

    The Web Marketing Therapy article inspired me to reflect on ways that I already (and maybe, even should revisit) the way I use the five above techniques. However, for this response, I would like to focus on the first three in terms of my smugmug site:


    (Reviewed links 2/1/10.)

    1. Marketing can build awareness.

    Smaller sized dogs, between one and five years old basically “sell themselves,” hence, are the easy to promote and adopt out. Based on this observation, I have chosen to promote medium-to-larger sized dogs at the dog rescue site, by photographing these first.

    Although I am new to the use of the smugmug photo hosting site, I am aware of, and have configured my account to build Internet wide awareness by implementing some user-friendly optimizing settings:

    -Keyword “plug ins” for search engines, e.g. the pit bull mix “Denver” is linked to the tags: “medium, large, adoptable, affectionate, zip code, Ventura County, Canine Adoption and Rescue League (CARL), Petfinder, pit bull mix etc.”


    2.Marketing communicates.

    Simply put, I use my photography to combine my joys of photography, pet portraits, people portraits and storytelling.

    3.Marketing connects.

    My photo hosting site is interlinked with at least four different websites:

    -Official dog rescue site that I promote: CARL


    -Petfinder (which I consider the “Google” among all animal rescue websites: catalogs and updates search by animal type, size, gender, any special needs, and geographic location.)


    -Search engines that I intentionally optimized with: bing, Google and Yahoo

    -Dog videos of the CARL doggies done by Studio 805/Ventura County Star (online version of local newspaper.) See the CARL website and click through different dogs to see which dogs have their own photo galleries and videos.


    Here is my current foster dog, adoptable Tim, by Studio 805:


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  4. yair kronfeld

    First I would like to say that I find this blog very pleasant to read and navigate. After reading the liked articles, I learned that the most important thing that we are about to focus on in the course is relationship. These relationships are between the business and customers and potential customers (“serve and support”). From what I have also seen by reading the comments to the articles It’s about relationships with other businesses. They reply to your articles and Professor Thomas replies back. By writing back she helps their article be more visible and by writing back Professor Thomas can add her link to her blog.” There is no “I” in “T E A M”. A relationship means playing on the same team, for the same cause, pitching and catching (sometimes you do one more than the other) and working towards the same end goal”.( The Art of Relationships (and what Valentine’s Day can remind us about Marketing)) By providing good service the potential customers would maybe be willing to use the business’ paid services since the customer already loves using their services, so why look further. The current customers will not leave your business to look for a different paid service if the business provides for their needs well.(support)
    Now how do we really serve our customers? Well, I guess it depends on the character of one’s business focus but it’s still about education. –“Your blog can educate and offer helpful advice”( Articles can be distributed on the web to share your expertise (it’s selfish to keep it all in your head anyway”) Web Marketing Needs to SERVE to Sell!)”
    Yair Kronfeld

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  6. Su DeCoste

    Wow, lots of information to digest in these posts. I would say that my idea of web marketing has definitely changed based on what I thought it was (eyeballs on ads, click through rates, statistics). I feel more connected to the purpose behind the things I’ve been doing and enlightened to the fact that I need to become more engaged in ‘why’ I’m doing them. Understanding that the foundation begins with serving the customer really cleared my vision in terms of how to use the tools I’ve put in place. It clarifies what the goal really is: to serve and support, educate, communicate and understand the customer. Sarah Caminker’s post Why Companies Are Afraid To Talk To You totally struck a chord with me. It confirmed that some of what I am doing is working; good customer service I’m definitely behind the curtain talking to and responding to customers!) and pointed out areas where I’m definitely lacking; I don’t really have a plan or strategy to effectively use my tools. I post to Facebook and Twitter and add product reviews to my blog, but with no clear strategy as to how to use them to create and support relationships with our customers. This reading has really helped me begin to understand that connection (likeability, trustability, responsibility, etc.) and effective communication are the key to customer interest, engagement and loyalty that will ultimately help drive sales.

    I had some ‘ouch’ moments when reading your “Art of Relationships” Valentine’s Day post. I could almost see you cringing as I thought about the marketing I’ve created that didn’t address the relationship with the customer; e-blasts I sent just for the sake of sending them and especially ‘Engaging in some form of marketing (SEO, Social Media, Emails) without having a “how will this help me connect with my customer in a meaningful way?”.

    The theme that kept jumping out for me throughout the reading is the idea of having a purpose and strategy (and the fact that I’m missing them!). Is there a way to suss that out? To boil down what I’ve already been doing to find the nuggets that I can dust off and put together to create a strategy (or strategies)?

  7. Elizabeth Millar

    I agree with you when you say that, “Marketing is not about tools (like websites, email technology, blogs, social media, TV, magazine ads, Public Relations, etc) is about HOW the breadth and depth of marketing tools are used to build relationships.”

    I’m in my second year of working in a specifically eMarketing role, and about a year ago I implemented my company’s first social networking campaigns. It didn’t take long for me to learn that just having Twitter and Facebook accounts isn’t enough. Social Networking requires a lot of participation and communication that goes both ways; you can’t just expect your customers to jump on your Facebook page and start buying your products. Knowing the technology and resources that are available is one thing, but learning how to properly use them is another.

    I also think you really hit the nail on the head when you say that it’s “critical to never stop learning about the options we have at our fingertips.” I must learn something new about eMarketing on a daily basis. Whether it’s from attending a webinar, reading a blog, or snooping around on competitors’ websites, there’s always more information out there to learn. The web/online aspect of marketing is evolving as I write this reply, so it’s impossible to say that you’ve learned it all.

  8. Kasey Madigan

    I live my life by the philosophy of, “Never stop learning.” There is always more out there that I want to absorb and conquer. Even with subjects that I feel I am knowledgeable about, I am always thrilled to learn something more.

    This blog has caused a shift in my perspective on marketing. I had thought that marketing simply referred to advertising. Now I know that marketing is so much more than that. “Marketing is about serving before selling.” It is more than convincing people to purchase whatever is being sold. It is about communicating and about relationships and even about loyalty. It is about building and keeping customers.

    I also learned that social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter and other tools of online marketing are not what’s most important in marketing but how they are used; “It’s how we use the tools that make marketing matter.” These sites are used every day by millions of people, but so few actually understand what a powerful marketing tool they can truly be or even how to use them properly.

    This blog has gotten me excited about learning more about marketing. I want to learn what works and what doesn’t in this world (marketing). And how to utilize the many marketing tools that are available to get the maximum results. But most importantly I want to learn how to communicate with people and build positive, profitable marketing relationships.

  9. Tieler Rollins

    While I agree with most of the points outlined in this blog, the most compelling takeaway for me, is point number 4: Marketing serves. In my business, I am continually blown away by the number senior-level executives, Sales Reps, and Biz Dev personnel who can rattle of their company’s one page “About Us” pitch, but still have no concept of basic client/customer service. Everyone wants to sell you the latest technology with all of the bells and whistles, but can’t tell you in 10 words or less, how it is beneficial to YOUR business. To take it a step further, once the contracts are signed and campaigns are launched, it is nearly impossible to get someone on the phone, especially when the occasional technical glitch happens. Service is always (in my opinion) the most important aspect of any business relationship.

  10. Gabriella Larkins

    As my own business experience, I have to admit that we weren’t very satisfied with a lot of the Marketing that is out there. We have a wine shop in town and tried a couple of different things to get new customers. For example, a map for tourist in town spread out in a bunch of hotels. We never got one person in our shop from that, at least nobody ever mentioned anything. And it was not cheap! The best marketing for us so far was the “word of mouth”. I do agree with you that Marketing communicates. Offering your customers some nice treatment, good prices, will definitely make them come back. Customers like to feel special and receive attention. I am just starting to notice how the marketing online is becoming so effective nowadays because everyone is following the technology and don’t have time to go everywhere. I agree that Marketing is a relationship. We buy what our customers like and serve them the way they want. Our store is slowly becoming what our customers want. Another kind of marketing that is helping us a lot is sending our customers online newsletters every week of a new product giving them comments and reviews that they like to hear. It gives a voice to the shop! Building a customer relationship has been the most effective marketing for us.

  11. Lorrie ThomasLorrie Thomas

    I do have moments of cringing, but as a Marketing Therapist, I’d rather help change behavior vs. criticize it. I like to see energy go where it counts and when we use web measurement to QUANTIFY efforts, we essentially “listen” to see what works and what does not.

    But yes, when we can pump some love into our marketing, it helps 🙂

    Purpose and strategy are spot on Su – exactly! We create strategy by defining our goals, measuring past efforts, looking at the competition, optimizing what does not work and adding (in the right order) need to haves and nice to haves.

    I am not one to throw the baby away with the bathwater. The good can be clarified when the web marketing house is feng-shuied 🙂

    We first:
    ASSESS our situation, identify what works and what doesn’t
    OPTIMIZE what needs to be fixed (so you work off a healthy foundation)
    then add NEW channels (you wouldn’t buy online ads to drive traffic to a web site that sucks and waste money, right?)

    Keep reading and learning and you’ll learn how to find the good and optimize the not-so-good 🙂

  12. Lorrie ThomasLorrie Thomas

    thanks Gabriella! I hear so many tales of business owners doing “not cheap” marketing and getting zero results – ugh! Web marketing can support you and help your word of mouth marketing get extended even further into word of mouse (computer mouse!) marketing. It sounds like you know how to connect with your customers and tools like email, social media and local review sites will rock your business!

  13. Jennifer Cilluffo

    Over the years I have worked in the restaurant business for 7 and now in the retail for 2 and have seen and used many different forms of marketing. I completely agree when you spoke about marketing making meaningful relationships. while waiting tables I would have a lot of guest come there just to see me, I would know exactly what they wanted to a t and they just enjoyed that to the fullest. The food business is a hard one now of days because of the market and my boss had tried everything from home made commercials to billboards and then later realized neither had been working but word of mouth had been a big part of his business and he didn’t even have to pay for it. I now work at Babies R Us and am a PRA personal registry advisor which means I sign up new moms for there baby shower and give them a store tour and answer the questions they might have. Threw the entire process I have to call the registrant at least 3 times to make sure they don’t need help. As far as marketing we really only have signs for the service so were lacking on participants and I find your advice and think it may be helpful with that.

  14. Sarah C. Jones

    This blog makes some very relevant points in regards to web marketing. Technically speaking I feel that web marketing plays a very vital role within our lives. We all surf the internet on sites such as google.com or yahoo.com. These sites are infamous for various marketing strategies and advertisements. I can recall a number of instances when I actually went on google.com searching for a particular something, and ran across an advertisement that uniquely caught my attention. Thereafter, I am on this website navigating and exploring beyond belief. I see web marketing as almost a cat and mouse exploration. The ad represents the “mouse” and the consumer ultimately prowling like the “cat”. This blog also allowed me to gain knowledge on web marketing. I truly love the bolded comment, “Remember that marketing means making relationships, keeping relationships, cultivating relationships and re-kindling relationships.” This is very true and I work in an industry, where this is a very crucial attitude to have. Overall, I feel extremely intrigued to continue my exploration of web marketing.

  15. April Hastings

    What great information! I don’t think that I had ever really thought about the real meaning of web marketing. Many people including myself (at some point), has thought “I could get rich from the internet if I had the right product or the right website”. But you are so right… Business is all about SERVICE! Not about us getting rich. I think we have lost a lot of what some consider to be good service because people just don’t care. They just want to make their money and go home. The business my husband and I own is ALL about service. We help people relax and to feel better. That is what people pay us to do! In our line of work, people are in a very venerable position. Most people are either fully disrobed or partially disrobed and we have to be people they trust. We want people to feel safe and trusting with us, so we pride ourselves in giving excellent customer service. Now comes the hard part. Web marketing… we do not have a website yet and are working on that as we speak. But, how do we get our message across through on our website that we are trusting people? This is exactly why I am taking this class! The web marketing therapy website is amazingly full of great ideas and information! I was confused at first why it was called Web Marketing “Therapy” of course until I read it! It makes perfect sense that we have to rethink what we have learned about marketing. Service before sells!

  16. Vanessa Tisdale

    What I learned in reading this blog is a great start for me in the development of web marketing online. In past work envionments where selling a product or a service, the main focus was always to reach the consumer by informing the customer so they understand. It was always a for sure sale when the potential customer knew what he/she was buying. I did take from this the various ways of web marketing. I also learned that it is important for the customer to know your story. I completely agree that marketing does sale. I feel this post was very useful and well written.

  17. Vanessa Tisdale

    This blog was very informative on what web marketing is. I now know the various ways of marketing on the web. I agree the fact that in being productive in selling a product you must inform the potential client of the service and/or product so the client understands what he/she is buying. I have found in past jobs that the customer basically just wants to know WHAT it is that they are buying. I really enjoyed reading this blob there were many informative links such as the Batman and Robin approach and the 5 ways marketing can help your business. As a first time business owner and in the first steps of building my business online eMarketing is going to be very important and vital to the success of my business.

  18. Lisa Angle

    Thank you, Lorrie. That puts it nicely into a nutshell for me – marketing is building relationships. This has helped to narrow my perspective of marketing and reconfirms some of my own practices. I love to market to my friends because there’s already a relationship there. I’ve also observed that people with poor communication skills are not good at promoting. Building relationships, whether personal or business, requires communications. So one would have to assume that learning how to communicate better, verbally and in writing, would make that person better at marking.

    Ah, and I’ve noticed you post a thank you to those who post. This is a great practice! I’ve sent thank you notes to journalists who went above and beyond by doing an article about a press release, and I’ve sent a thank you note after a seminar and in return it was quoted in that person’s PR which equaled PR for me. Saying thank you is one way to build a good relationship.

  19. Jonathan Royka

    I like how you give the true definition of marketing as many people can get confused what marketing really is. What I leanred is that web marketing is all about using the different tools that are available to you in the best way to get the word out about your product or service. I also learned that marketing is about having relationgships with people, if its starting a new one, keeping one, or re kindiling an old one.

  20. Aliena Klaus

    When people think of marketing, they often confuse it with advertising and PR, thinking that marketing is selling a product. However, while advertising and pr are used and related, they do not create marketing. I LOVE how you describe marketing as relationships, in every facet – creating them, maintaining them, rekindling them – making meaningful connections as opposed to cold selling tactics. Marketing is not solely a concept used by big business ad corporations but for people, ideas… And with the blooming concept of web marketing and its accessibility to all, marketing is becoming a real usable tool for so many. They just have to learn how to use it! Some may think that founding relationships through the internet – a disconnected and cold medium – seems impossible, but web marketing does work, does create relationships and personal connection, does sell a product, service, idea… even person. For instance, though we have never met, I have learned so much about you through your self marketing techniques just online. Through social medium like blogging, twitter, facebook… you have successfully created an image for yourself as well as marketed your ideas and skills. And anyone can do it, thats the truly amazing thing.

    As you pointed out, web marketing is constantly evolving, still a vague and questionable idea to some – but it is an amazing tool that can be full of meaningful connection and profitable results, in any qualitative or quantitative sense!

    (ps – reading your blogs and articles are a wonderful and accessible alternative to a boring textbook on modern marketing! I love the open dialogue and learning about modern medium through actually USING them!)

  21. Grant Conzaman

    This post is very interesting and informative. I agree with fact that regardless of what tools we have to help us in marketing without the absolute knowledge of the what we are marketing those tools are useless. I like point number 2 because I find marketing to be the communication of business, So in my eyes a good marketer would be someone with excellent communication skills and an applied knowledge of the product at hand.

  22. Johny H.

    2, Marketing communicates. Getting our message in front of current and prospective customers is key to success.

    The internet has given us many options for getting our message in front of people.When doing business online, you have more ways to communicate with your customers than before. This article touches on how, even though we have more options now, the simple 5 ways still apply. This internet has simple expanded on them. Depending on who your trying to reach, your choice of web marketing my be altered. Esp if your dealing with a niche audience. In that case things like message boards help you reach people you would otherwise have no way of finding online! This is essentially Word of mouth(mouse) but in a new form. Message boards have put a nice spin on word of mouth because, since they are public, a conversation can be viewed by anyone searching for relevant material. This means that word of mouth can be eavesdropped on for years and year. Thisw can work for you or against you!

  23. Lorrie ThomasLorrie Thomas

    I am so inspired by everyone’s comments! I feel a little like a web marketing evangelist..showing y’all the light! LOL Thank you everyone for your great insight! This is awesome!

  24. Antoine Harris

    I really enjoyed reading this blog post it has so much helpful information to get me started on brain storming for my up and coming Business / Final Project ^_^.
    The part of your post that truly stood out to me was 3. Marketing connects for the simply fact in this coastly era , customers are already shakey on spending money. Once you get them to like and know you and your company, the trust will come with time and so will word of mouth .

  25. Jeffrey Budiman

    My understanding about web marketing totally agrees with what is stated in this posting. As in any business, the most important thing is to build connections and good relationship with the customers or potential customers. But I would like to take one step back about the term “Marketing”.

    Before I took marketing courses last term, I used to think that Marketing is all about promoting (or communicating) a product.
    But as I completed my marketing courses, I learned that ideally, marketing includes pretty much everything except production. According to the textbook (from Intro to Marketing course), marketing is defined as starting with identifying needs and then directing the flow / process of bringing the need-satisfying goods / services from producer to consumer. In summary, marketing includes 4P’s (Product, Price, Place, Promotions). In other words, marketing is responsible not only on promotions but also the product development (based on identified needs), pricing strategy, and distribution plan.

    Going back to the “web marketing” term, it is basically defined as “using the web to market product or services”. Here, the word “to market” seems to be limited only to promotion (communication).
    If we look at what the current web technology can offer, it seems to be true that the technology can only enable us to focus on the “Promotion” part (of the 4P’s) and probably some part of the “Place”.
    I am in total agreement with the statement that the core elements of marketing are communication and relationship with the customers.
    However, this just makes me rethink whether in practice, the term “Marketing” is always associated with promotion (communication) only instead of the complete 4P’s.

  26. Lorrie ThomasLorrie Thomas

    thanks Jeff. GREAT point about how Marketing is too often associated exclusively with promotion….

    ….I think the term “marketing” needs it’s own rebranding campaign! 🙂

  27. Danielle

    As someone just getting into the small business world I have quickly become familiar with the need for web advertising. I completely agree with the point that it’s how we use all the internet tools rather than just posting a big mess. I’m not one to be a big blogger, but have recently seen just how usefully they can be, in my case, for educating people about a product. Having a web site also allows people that I don’t even know to look at my product, educate them, and than allow me to develope a relationship with them.

    One thing I’ve also heard from many people is that with all the new technology there are no longer the one on one relationships being made like there use to be. I feel that from reading this blog, if you construct the site properly, the one on one feeling is still there, ie. the bogging or twitter, a reply can be posted in direct response.

    I also feel that if the site is, for example advertising a restaurant, it can create exsitement for people. It lets them know about new developements and special events that may be taking place. Overall I believe that web marketing has created a whole new level of learning about all businesses both big and small!

  28. Ricardo Guedes

    Hi, what was the first thing that came to my mind after I read this article?
    The web is going to transform advertising….
    I bought a 42” flat screen TV a few months ago and I was exited with my new toy. After a couple months, I realized that I turned on the TV two or three times only. All my spare time I was not watching movies or TV shows, but surfing on web. I was even watching movies on my computer. I do not remember the last time that I bought a newspaper. I can follow the news, talk to my friends, and shop on the web. Simple like that. I can say that the web is the new TV or even more, the web is the new TV, newspaper, telephone and shopping network. If we spend so many hours on the internet instead of watching TV, we can think, company’s that want’s to have big brands should consider to be more in the web than on TV. I can say that the advertising on web will be ( or it is) more important that the TV advertising.
    To create a brand add advertising on TV is very expensive. The advertising on web is becoming a great alternative and sometimes not so expensive. I think some company’s are investing in web advertising but there are many company’s and brands that I don’t think they are truly investing on web advertising.

    Another interesting point: “Marketing is create, keeping, cultivating relationship”.
    Marketing is focus on client, not in the product. If you have clients you have everything, if you do not have clients than you have nothing.
    How can we have new clients and keep the old ones? Before thinking in sell think in serve built a trustful relationship.
    All these ideas came before the web. The web is the new tool. The new way to serve your client.

  29. Daniel Balderas

    The most interesting piece of information I gathered from this blog post is that web marketing is here to serve my customers first and then make money for my business. Based on what i’ve observed other businesses are doing and specially other small family owned restaurants is that they are reaching their clients through “new” ways such as Twitter and facebook that up to a couple years ago was unheard of this type of businesses doing and I can say it really works because I am proof of that as their client, I have being served by thos businesses and since it makes me happy I take my money to them. Now that I am about to open my own restaurant I can see that I can apply this information and it will help me reach my clients and serve them better all the time

  30. r w

    After our first class and reading your blog, the one thing that resonated with me was the idea that marketing is about educating your audience. I feel connected to this idea because having worked in the nonprofit field, that’s how I’ve always viewed marketing.

    Bridging that gap between marketing and sales/action is where it’s sometimes not so clear. To that point, when web marketing can now reach millions of people yet still only produce a relatively small number of clients/”activists”, it begs the questions, “does marketing really work?” and “what other tools (and how we use them) must be considered when building relationships and maximizing exchanges?” Perhaps baseball is not a good analogy, but I’ll never understand why 300 is considered a good batting average.

    To your list of options above, there has been a proliferation of “marketing” tools in the last few years. In fact, I’m not even sure what does what anymore, and if they’re even marketing tools or something else. I hope to gain some clarity in this class.

    When I think about a tool like Facebook, it irks me to know that I have to pay to play. That is, I have to create an account, share at least some private info, and then connect with others, in order to see photos or learn about an event. I feel as if my privacy, freedom of choice, and respect has been stripped away from me overnight. While I see many cons to using these types of web tools, I’ll admit that it makes some processes easier and more efficient. I guess I’m here to learn what the real value-adds are, and how they can be used or ignored.

    After reading the post, and thinking more about web marketing, my other questions are:

    1) How should one counter negative comments, particularly when they’re posted on websites that you can’t control? In some cases, it appears that it’s almost better if a company never had a web presence. I remembered you said positivity breeds positivity (perhaps not verbatim), but negativity works too (ex. Yelp, political campaigns, etc). So, when is it appropriate to respond and contrarily to proactively use?

    2) I agree that marketing is about building relationships. So, how does a company ensure that these relationships survive beyond the people who are managing them? How does a company integrate them into its DNA?

    3) At what point does web marketing stop working?

    4) What factors do you consider and what questions do you ask when creating a (web) marketing plan/strategy?

    5) How do you convince a company to adopt and use new web marketing tools? Can one survive without them?

  31. r w

    The Relationship ROI Webinar reinforced a lot of what we had discussed in class last week, that keeping existing clients (happy) is more cost effective than recruiting new clients and ultimately, everything is about maximizing relationships.

    A few points that resonated with me in the video and readings are:

    1) It’s true that many companies are still trying to understand the rules and tools of marketing (in fact, I heard my PR manager say it point blank to one of our corporate partners this week). These new rules/tools are humbling companies big and small, here to New Zealand.

    2) Making connections and/or recruiting followers do not necessarily lead to an increased bottom line (if that’s your goal), though it will help raise awareness. Often times, I see companies state its “results” by the number of followers it has on Twitter or fans on Facebook. It seems to me many companies aren’t going far enough to develop these connections into results that matter.

    3) I can’t speak for the financial services industry, but many firms have launched new Facebook pages and Twitter-based campaigns offering financial fitness tips and ideas. In fact, companies have long provided financial advice to its clients and the general public via magazine columns, books, TV interviews, etc. Compliance doesn’t necessarily prevent companies from speaking out; it just means they have to be more careful about what they say (or not say). While there will always be limitations, I also see the rules being rewritten every day. It’s like compliance departments are building the plane while flying it.

    4) I’ve always believed that people only trust those they know, but it appears that blogs and other social media tools have altered this way of thinking as it seems that nowadays, rather than ads, millions of strangers turn to each other to tell them where to eat, how to dress, and what to buy (or not).

    5) Reaching a global marketplace is an interesting idea. When I think “global marketplace”, I always think about the millions of people in the world who don’t have access to safe drinking water, proper healthcare, and political/economic freedom, never mind a computer or internet access. Further, when DMS talks about content, I also can’t help but to think about those same people who can’t read or write. There’s a lot of potential in leveraging technology for positive change, but we have a very long way to go…

    6) Is “decision-engine” the next “search engine” or just a new way to describe the same thing?

    7) I’m not quite comfortable with the phrase, “be yourself, let your guard down, and connect”. I feel like I can connect without completely sharing myself with the world.

  32. Kate Huebler

    I think this article was helpful in many ways. As marketing assistant to Santa Barbara City College, I am mostly focusing on building awareness of our university and of the different goings on at the campus. Many organizations are a bit isolated, and I am trying to help them build exposure. In addition, I am trying to get their events clearly advertised in one succinct place, which is SBCC’s facebook.

    Our youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/santabarbaracc has a combination of videos with content and with straight attention getting. The videos that are attention getting with beautiful images of the campus have been more popular than the ones that are more work-intensive, which are interviews with various important people. So it’s not really a direct correlation to the work I put in, but what the customers want to see.

    The one to one approach is really cool, and I have been using it provide a positive customer service experience via the sbcc facebook page, in which I personally answer all questions posted to the page within a day and usually within an hour.

    I really like the idea of gaming as a way of advertising. It would be so cool to have a game which teaches you how to apply to sbcc, and even better to have one that teaches you how to use TAG to transfer to a 4 year university. People are so busy these days that they have very limited attention, so grabbing their attention quickly and holding can be the best way to teach them something.

  33. Dan Gold

    I really appreciate how you put so much emphasis on the fact that it’s not about the tools, but how you use them. I feel like it’s very easy for people to get too caught up in learning to use a tool, and they think that simply using it will grantee success. This is of course a wrong, and by the same token, even if you don’t know how to use your tools as well as someone else, if you know what outcome you’re going for, you can usually find a way to achieve it one way or another.

    I also appreciate that you say “never stop learning.” I think that forgetting this is a horrible thing that we see causing a lot of harm. A perfect example is that when web marketing was in it’s infancy (not that it’s that old now), many people dismissed it because it didn’t fit in with the marketing know-how that they already had, and they were unwilling to learn about the new thing. Those people got left behind. Meanwhile that embraced web marketing got a great foothold against the competition.

    PS: I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but Wheat Thins is running some TV ads (also on Hulu.com) wherein they track down people that have tweeted about them and give them free Wheat Thins. It seems to me like a really great utilization of social media to get people interested and aware of a product.

  34. Rhiana Jones

    I found this post to be really informative and a good introduction to what Web Marketing is all about. I’ve always thought Marketing was about, “selling stuff”. It’s a whole new concept to me to think about it as a relationship. I also found the concept of the blog as a tool as interesting. I haven’t had very luck in marketing my blog, which I consider my product.

    It seems from this post that I’m thinking about it the wrong today. It’s not actually my blog that I’m trying to market, but the information that’s on it. I need to concentrate more on the education and information I’m presenting rather than the actual blog itself. I need to put more effort into #4, Marketing is about serving before selling.
    I also loved the link to the Seth Godin blog. He has some fabulous posts on there. They are really inspiring and got me thinking about some posts I could do on my own blog.

  35. Cathleen LeVeque

    After reading WEB MARKETING DEFINED, I have to say that it is refreshing to have the definition of “marketing” clearly defined for me. What was said in the reading material validated for me the intuitive aspect of what I thought marketing probably encompassed, was but was never able to put into words myself. The description of marketing, as “relationships, making them, keeping them, cultivating them and re-kindling them,” is exactly how I believe marketing should be.

    Through the online social mediums, I have personally experienced your description of marketing in my own life. Utilizing match.com, facebook, blogging and posting for my own small business, I have been able to build relationships both personally and professionally. Utilizing these tools ultimately creates “our lives” and the “story” of our lives. For me, match.com connected me with my boyfriend of 4 years; blogging about, and posting photos of my crafts on my “little” business site brought me my clients. That business is based on a story about my grandmother. It was a quest to keep something about her life alive through my creation. That story connected to the emotional place within some of my clients, therefore cultivating relationship. Facebook has only enhanced my life by connecting me with long lost relatives and friends around the globe. All of these mediums are great tools that made, kept, cultivated and re-kindled relationships and built business for myself.

    Many people have resisted using these tools both professionally and personally, believing that they bring about a disconnect or are not very viable, or that they make them more vulnerable and exposed in a negative way. What I believe it that “connecting” and “marketing” as we have known it is being redefined and refined as technology evolves. It is exciting to see this happening.

    “It is not online tools that make web marketing matter, it is how we use the tools that make marketing matter”.

    Utilizing and understanding the marketing tools is what I hope to accomplish by taking this class.

  36. Oscar Frausto

    So, it’s not about the tools, it’s how you use them, I’ve heard something similar to that
    somewhere before but I wont get into that…anyways. This blog post has given me a lot
    of good ideas for one of my life-long dreams. (not what you think).

    I’ve always wanted to be a kind of Vigilante “Batman” person. However, besides just
    word-of-mouth fame, web marketing would be able to help my cause ten-fold. refering to the
    “Five Ways Marketing Must Work for You” It can build awareness, like you said, I can
    take down as many bankrobbers as I want, but if no one notices or realizes it was me,
    what’s the point? With the communication, I can let people know what my cause is, and that
    im a good guy and they shouldnt be scared, I can also havve a LIVE blog where I can
    personaly talk to my fans and haters too. Now, for the Connections It can consist of
    Forums on sites where people can talk about that one time I saved their life and other
    people can share their stories as well. The “serves” i think is pretty obvious its how I
    go out and kick butt. For the sales, that will be when I go to premiers and grand-openings
    and they give me money for being there and looking awesome…OH and don’t forget the
    “suveniers” and action figures!!!

  37. Danielle Naumann

    When i first was to think of web marketing i would think of ads and pop up advertising. I never thought much of what marketing really was about. The true definition of marketing was great to read about in the start of your article. I would have never of put much thought of how many types of things would contribute to the marketing process. I believe web marketing has many new pathways to market ones business due to websites and social networking forms that have not been around in the ten or so years before. Your quote “Remember that marketing means making relationships, keeping relationships, cultivating relationships and re-kindling relationships”. I believe this quote is very true and if a business continues to be successful they must continue to have a relationship with their clients and members of their staff. Also, when i talk to customer service reps on the phone. I did not put one in one together that they were also a part of the marketing puzzle. This article really helped clarify for me.

  38. Sylvia Martini

    It’s all about relationships. Doesn’t matter whether in business or in private life, but I prefer the quality instead of quantity. I see the advantage in these “one to one” direct relationships. So began business [before traditional and new media]. On the market, the seller provides products, knows their buyers face-to-face, and builds relationships, so that the customer will come to the store again. Today the mass has a big demand for individuality. One can use the internet as a steamship, but also as a small boat to serve niches quickly. In blogs and forums you get responses to a product or service very fast and mostly honest. It is also a great tool for a small budget to figure out what the preferences are. Love “word of mouse” marketing.

  39. Emily Olson

    I enjoyed reading your blog regarding “What is marketing?”, especially since its easily misunderstood by many. I too, look at marketing from the relationship building perspective – not only do you want to continue to appeal to your current “market” or clientele, but you also want to be appealing to your potential clientele. Whether you’re pitching a product, offering a service, or simply trying to generate activity to you site or company, it all involves branding and relationship building. Marketing serves as the communication between you and your target audience – through email, TV, banner ads, social media, radio, magazines, mass mailers are all to the portals you use to present your product/idea/view/service/etc.

    Knowing your target audience is one of the most important components to creating a well laid out marketing planning. And mixing media is a way to connect with all different types of people; especially now with our world at the tips of our finger tips, there are far more cost effect ways to connect with people from all different walks of life. Marketing allows you the creativity to explore ways and options to reach and build relationships with these people.

  40. Meg Barbour

    Thanks, lots of great information in this blog post. The biggest takeaways for me are that marketing is about relationships – not the tech/tools; and marketing is about serving before selling. Big ‘Aha!’ moment.

    RE: having a “clear strategy and purpose” — if you have more than one purpose, does that dilute your message. Also can you address two distinct audiences in one message? Or is it better to address one audience and one purpose?


  41. Jen

    Hi Laurie,
    You left some really great links from some of your online social media courses given in 2009. Will we also be recieving these lectures from you? I hope so they sound great!

    Jen Stekkinger SBCC

  42. Camila Carnielli

    Small business owners tend to think marketing is about spending money with ads and even forget the main purpose of them. Marketing is really about building relationships and keeping them. Customer service is part of marketing, and most people ignore the power it has! Small business owners should take advantage by simply training their employees on answering the phone in a proper way. So much can be done towards serving people the way they expect to be served. Think about the Maslow’s pyramid: people want to feel loved, they want to feel important. So what about follow-up on how your customers are doing… Why not remembering customers you’re still there… You may even have a chance to “save” a relationship with a customer that is not happy with your product/ service. Building relationships doesn’t have to be expensive. Business owners should keep in mind that keeping a customer is cheaper than getting a new one. So they should put some effort on keeping those relationships healthy.

  43. Catherine

    This is a great example of how to keep people engaged on your website. I especially like how some of the links go to outside sources to add further credibility (not that it needs it!). I think the one big “a-ha” moment from the reading this week was that in marketing one really has to focus on the content, which contradicts everything they told me in my web-design class!

  44. Vishwesh Tendolkar

    Thanks for the great info in the blog. Clarified a lot of questions.

    A couple of questions btw

    1) How to find out the target audience?
    2) How to initiate the marketing process for a new firm? Is it a good strategy to flood the market or go in stages?

  45. Rajesh Rijhsinghani

    This is a very interesting and thought provoking blog. The beauty of the blog is in its simplicity of explaining the nuts and bolts of web marketing. It is clear, concise and can be used as a handbook in getting started with online marketing. I really like the section which highlights that ‘Marketing is about serving before selling’. Because I would always think that Service is not an important aspect of successful marketing as it is a post-Sales activity. It has been very rightly said that marketing is all about building relationships and online tools help build “virtual” relationships.

  46. Eva haese

    As a person who is being newly introduced and educated in the field of marketing, i have to say I am excited to be living in a time of the ‘new rules,’ where there is constant and consistent conversation on the web between business and consumer, blogger and reader, satisfied customer and hesitant consumer, and through web marketing I can watch and help this interaction. As interested as I am in traditional methods of marketing and public relations, this whole new world of web marketing seems to change and evolve to include fascinating new concepts, opportunities for niche markets, and ways to build new business relationships everyday.


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