4Ts® Of Digital Marketing Operations
By Joe Ghantous, founder of Right Service
n March 1950, Willie Sutton, a prolific American bank robber, was asked by a news reporter about why during his 45-year criminal career he only stole banks. Willie simply answered, “Because that’s where the money is”.
When it comes to business, the reason why you should focus on marketing is the same, that’s where the money is!
People missed the real meaning of marketing, they thought it was advertising, branding, or promotion. Here below is a simple way to understand the meaning of marketing.
Imagine a health conference is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “A large health care conference is coming this Saturday” that’s advertising. If you put out the sign on the back of a truck and drive it into town that’s a promotion. If the truck was well decorated and the local newspapers write about it, that’s publicity. If the town citizens go to the conference, you show them how much knowledge they’ll get, explain to them how prevention being better than cure and push them to register to this conference, that’s sales.
But if you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing.
Marketing is the Strategy You Use for Getting Your Ideal Target Market to Know You,
Like You and Trust You Enough to Become a Customer.
The modern marketing era started in 1960 when Jerome McCarthy came up with the “4P’s of Marketing” concept (product, price, promotion, place) that sets up controllable variables to help brands influence their buyers’ response. After 7 years, Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing, had popularized this concept in his book & make it the marketing bible. In the late 70’s it was widely acknowledged by Marketers that the “Four Ps” should be updated. This led to the creation of the Extended Marketing Mix in 1981 by Booms & Bitner which added 3 new elements to the 4 Ps Principle (People, Processes & Physical Evidence)
The digital age took off with the coming of the internet and development of the web 1.0 platform (1989) when users were allowed to find the information they wanted but not allowed to share this information over the web. During the late 1990s, simple company websites that were text-based began to flourish. They were initially utilized to provide information about a company’s products or services.
The first company to have a digital marketing campaign was Bristol-Myers Squibb to promote their Excedrin product.
Today, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year on the marketing business and marketers start to readjust their strategies to meet the progressive changes in consumer needs, similar to what a football coach does to win the world cup.
Imagine that you are the coach of the national football team participating in the world cup.
Your job as a coach is to create a winning team that will hold the world cup trophy. You’ll need first to build a great strategy, to win this international championship, that may lead your team toward the right timing, the right passes, and the right sprints toward the goal.
A professional digital marketer should do the same when it comes to growing his businesses in the digital age.
Where he needs to start with having a clear vision, precise tactics on how to empower his team, look into each possible solution, predict the possible outcomes, and pick the wisest choices through a well-formulated digital marketing strategy.
But as a smart coach you can’t win the world cup alone though, you need a team including the best players and substitutes supported with assistants, someone focusing on the defense, another guy for the attack, another again trains the goalkeepers.
Digital Marketing players are the channels & tools marketers use to achieve their goals. For instance, Social Media Marketing is a Channel whereas the actual networks — Facebook, Instagram, etc. — are the tools. They will help to drive the team to perform at its best and score goals.
There are infinite options in both Football and Digital Marketing yet you don’t go for every possible solution, you choose the smartest solution and you push through it as you go.
As experienced football coach, you must be aware that not all football legends are born some are formulated by hard will and professional training. You as a coach should continuously evaluate your team and work on potential star players to become legends.
Whereas digital marketers should follow the same plan, always evaluate their available resources and empower the potential capabilities of their team, to reach their goals smoothly and quickly.
To win the world cup, your team must out-perform other teams and to do so you must be of course going throughout each game and tracking your team’s performance by looking at your teams’ possession rate, the number of passes and shots, fouls, and cards. These are your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
Smart digital marketers follow the same analogy by continuously tracking their strategy, used tools, and team’s capabilities to be aware of any future bump or shift.
In brief, whether a football team needs to win the world cup or a business needs to grow in this digital age, they both should have a clear plan/strategy, select and use the right tools, work on developing available capabilities and track the performance throughout the way.
This success formula was combined in my marketing concept the “4ts of Digital Marketing Operations”
On January 9, 2017, I Came Up With the 4Ts® Marketing Concept
After more than 50 years from the introduction of the 4P’s, I think the time has come to create a new marketing concept that meets the digital age & allows brands to simply manage & implement any digital marketing activity.
On January 9, 2017, after 17 years of experience in digital marketing and studying the market requirements and analyzing the active digital marketing campaigns, I have come up with the “4T’s of Digital Marketing Operations” a Lebanese marketing concept that can be implemented internationally.
The 4T’s of Digital Marketing Operations is a new marketing concept that combines and derives benefits from its 4 factors of success (Tactics, Tools, Training & Tracking) to cost-effectively accomplish the operations’ desired goals and objectives.
This marketing concept is flexible and tailored to meet all business sizes:
1- If you have a small & medium-sized company that is operating without a digital marketing strategy, then the “4t’s of Digital Marketing Operations” is your solution.
2. If you are an individual with a free profession (Doctors, lawyers, Public Figures….) then “The 4t’s of Personal Online Branding” fits you, especially that nowadays the personal branding becomes the company brand.
3. If you are a member or have a big company with running digital marketing operations then the “4T’s in Reverse” is good for you to benchmark & evaluate these operations.
Think Of “Digital Marketing Operations” Like Flying A Plane!
Would a pilot take off without a flight plan, inspecting the plane, and ensuring that it has enough fuel to make it to the final destination? (Tactics).
– When taking off, would the pilot shut down the instrument panel and silence the radio while flight? (Tools).
– Can anyone fly a plane without learning how to drive it? (Training).
– When taking off, would the pilot turn off the radar? (Tracking).
Of course not, without a flight plan, training, radar & the instruments, especially the radio the pilot wouldn’t be able to detect any threat, know how the plane is functioning; and communicate about the flight plans. He could look out of the window (similar to what most digital marketers do today) but would not have enough scope of vision to keep the plane safe. Eventually, the pilot would be flying blind.
The same analogy shall be also followed nowadays in creating your effective digital marketing operations, representing the main pillars of “The 4T’s”.
A CEO of a successful business in the digital age must have the “4Ts-CEO” mindset in which he says:
“I need a new planning model that helps me to create a never seen before digital marketing strategy for my business”. (That represents the first T – TACTICS planning Model)
“I want to build an in-house automation customer acquisition system” (Representing the second T- Tools)
“I want to create an in-house all-stars team with digital skills” (Implementing the third T – Training)
“I want a real-time tracking solution measuring the performance of my online operations and their effect on the offline conversions” (Using the forth T – Tracking)
Opening Moves in the 4Ts® Marketing Concept
You can think of your business as a chess game.
To win a chess game, smart players use unexpected chess opening moves, the same analogy must be followed by businesses, where their marketing team should start with preparing a competitive business strategy, or outsourcing it to an agency, denoted in the 4Ts® marketing concept as TACTICS ® planning model, in order to tap into unseen opportunities and set them apart from their competitors.
This powerful lesson used in the 4Ts® marketing concept was embedded in Netflix’s latest hit series , where we were taught that successful chess players know that a strong opening can become the difference between winning and losing the game and this is what gives them an early competitive edge over their opponents.
4Ts Concept Pillars:
STRATEGY PLANNING MODEL
How you should pave the road toward your ultimate goal?
“Will Rogers” once said, if advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn’t have to advertise them.
A very profound observation, especially in the digital age, where it’s so much easier to talk about a product, while the priority is for preparing an innovative digital marketing strategy that can create and develop sustainable competitive advantages for your products and then keep to the technological tools and word of mouth to advertise the good job you did.
That is why the “TACTICS® planning model” is mentioned as the first pillar of the 4Ts® marketing concept representing the basic part of your brand’s digital marketing transformation and development. It is the “how” of everything (who, what, where, when & why), simply it is your digital marketing strategy with a digital transformation twist that aims to boost your business growth and succeed in the digital transformational age, help you achieve your business objectives & generating more online & offline leads.
TACTICS is made of the below ingredients that are the building blocks for your 30-day transformational journey:
• T: Target Audience: Define the kind of people you’ll be talking to, how to speak to them, where to find them, and what they want from your brand.
• A: Approach: Determine your main digital marketing operations’ goal with the date of its accomplishment, review your brand ideology and amplify your brand’s competitive advantage.
• C: Coordination: Synchronize between online and offline marketing activities.
• T: Trajectory: Assign your customers’ buying journey to understand their purchasing behavior (before, during & after)
• I: Innovation Strategy: Plan to grow your market share & profits through product and service innovation to gain new competitive advantages.
• C: Communication Strategy: Set up the methods of your online activities including what your organization wishes to share with the public based on your market sophistication level and your client’s sales journey.
• S: Situation Analysis: Review your brand’s current situation, capabilities & activities to discover its strengths and overcome the weaknesses online in addition to gaining a complete picture of what’s influencing profitability in your industry.
A lot of marketers forget that marketing strategy is a living document that should be updated and reviewed constantly. You can think of strategy renewals like pruning trees!
Pruning will lead trees to grow faster and produce better fruit. The same happens when renewing your strategy, it clears your mind and redirects energy toward real priorities.
Therefore your company’s digital marketing strategy should be renewed at least once a year as an average.
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES & TOOLS
Which tools you should choose & how to use them effectively in order to succeed in the digital age?
The second “T” in the concept represents the needed digital tools that can help you to achieve your company’s objectives whether it’s to streamline customer interactions, transform how users or customers purchase items and make payments, create new business models, increase sales and revenue or others.
One of the main problems businesses are facing today is that they focus on using digital tools only to generate leads, without knowing the several advantages they are missing from using high-performing and innovative digital tools, similar but not limited to: time optimization; faster time to market; increased return on investment; improved internal and external communication; information centralization; enhanced employee experience; customer retention; and new sales.
Nowadays, hundreds upon hundreds of digital tools out there make selecting the appropriate tools a tricky process not as simple as Christmas shopping, you should take some time to narrow down which tools would be most beneficial for your business to use, and that matches your exact business model and operational requirements.
To help you select the best digital tools, I prepared for you the below list of top categories with the best tools for each:
Email Marketing Tools will support you in crafting beautiful emails, creating automated journeys, and delivering personalized messages that improve your relationship with customers. Here are the top tools to choose from:
Customer Relationship Management Tools are tool that are designed to help your organization offer your customers a unique and seamless experience, as well as build better relationships by providing a complete picture of all customer interactions, keeping track of your sales, organizing and prioritizing your opportunities, and facilitating collaboration between various teams. Here are the top tools to choose from:
The low cost of these technologies & tools makes them more accessible than they’ve been in the past thus supporting the democracy in using them which puts in your hands the needed resources to perform digital marketing transformation & its operations that were only accessible to big companies.
Selecting the right tools with the needed budget to spend is one part of the magic, whereas developing the internal learning and capabilities toward an effective usage of these tools is the second complementary part. That’s why I considered training a vital pillar in the 4Ts concept with an aim to develop internal digital capabilities.
DIGITAL CAPABILITIES DEVELOPMENT
How to effectively use the available tools to fulfill your goals?
Digital transformation is not just about organizational change, it’s also about personal change. The entire organization cannot be transformed if you fail to change and develop your own/team skills and habits.
In sport you can’t coach speed; you were either born fast or you weren’t. Training and technique can develop and refine speed but can’t make a slow athlete fast. That’s not the case in business.
In July 2012, Marissa Mayer was named CEO of Yahoo after its tragic annual revenue dropped from 7.2 billion USD to 4.9 billion USD in four years Mayer’s goal was to bring Yahoo to the level of big four and achieve double-digit annual growth in five years along with eight additional highly challenging targets.
But in summer 2016, after 4 years, Mayer had fallen and not only remained flat at around 4.9 billion USD, but the firm had reported a loss of 4.4 billion USD.
The main fault that Marissa Mayer did was overlooking the Yahoo team’s low capabilities and resources resulting from the companies tragic drop and setting in return stretch goals that are hard to achieve.
These are the main reasons behind assigning “Training” as the 3rd pillar of digital marketing operations. By training we mean the capabilities development that brands need to transfer the prepared strategy into reality.
Our great Information Age, also known as the Digital Age, is characterized by the ability of individuals to transfer and communicate information freely all over the digital platforms, and doing so is way different from face-to-face communication. You need to know the fundamentals of using digital marketing tools and how to effectively pass your company’s messages all over the needed digital tools.
Training Program must be an ongoing process that refers to acquiring, applying and constantly updating the knowledge gained. But of course, training can’t produce results alone. There are other non-training factors that are requested from stakeholders after any training.
They should encourage, reinforce, and reward their employees for the gained knowledge and skills they are applying to their jobs. The main issue here is getting more managers to support the training program and more trainees to apply what they learned in order to get concrete and valuable results.
MEASURING THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR ONLINE OPERATIONS
Where to look to keep track of your route of progress to your ultimate goal?
John Wanamaker (1838-1922) is credited with the saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” While this was understandable a century ago when it was first said, it is a crime to say that today. Not measuring where your leads and sales come from and not tracking the Return on Investment of Digital Marketing is the mark of an amateur since what gets measured gets managed.
That’s what triggered me to think about “Tracking” as the fourth pillar of the “4Ts” marketing concept, that will support your business in measuring results, modifying your future actions to fulfill your assigned goals smoothly.
When thinking about digital marketing tracking, the first thing that comes to marketers’ minds is tracking the performance of digital marketing tools and campaigns, similar but not limited to, website visitors, Social Media engagement, App downloads… Especially that they can be ridiculously aroused by what we called the “pornography of change” which makes them quick to dismiss history as irrelevant and declare anything that is not of the moment to be dead!
What they miss is a vital part of tracking that covers the tracking of strategic goals and objectives and evaluating the capabilities of their resources.
To have a well-formulated tracking operation, you should first define your strategic goals and assign the measurable aspects to measure their success along the way to your desired result, and then select the appropriate digital tools with the target numbers responsible for the coming phase success. Finally, determine what measures you’ll be evaluating your training program to maintain and develop the needed capabilities and resources to achieve your goals in the first place.
4Ts® Board of Professional Consultants
On June 1, 2020, we were proud to launch the “4Ts® Board of Professional Consultants” that is founded by a group of notable university instructors and academics, having the main role of continuously developing the “4Ts® of Digital Marketing Operations” concept and introduce it to the international landscape.
WATCH JOE GHANTOUS TALKING ABOUT HIS MARKETING CONCEPT THE 4TS® OF DIGITAL MARKETING OPERATIONS
This Session Was Live on January 13, 2021
During this session, Mr. Joe Ghantous, Founder & CEO at Right Service for digital marketing, covered the main main goal of marketing and how it had developed through out the years, along with covering in details his own concept the “4Ts of Digital Marketing Operations” and its role in companies digital transformation.