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 heath conference is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “A large heath 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 promotion. If the truck was well decorated and the local newspaper writes 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. Yup, it’s as simple as that – 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 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.
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
Digital is neither the technology nor the social networks, Digital is about 4 things; Speed, Agility, Competing differently & Making things easy. These things are powered by a range of technologies and computer sciences.
With the emergence of digital in all business areas, the era of digital transformation had begun with full focus on optimizing the customer experience through an omni-channel approach and integrating between all possible digital methodologies and strategies.
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.
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.
There are no More Silos of Marketing, Everything is connected,
Success Depends on the Integration of “Builders & Drivers” Solutions
The 4T’s concept consists of builders & drivers solutions; “Builders” solutions are designed to set the foundation and create the necessary base for future success, on which you will develop your digital marketing strategy, tactics and knowledge.
Once the foundation is in place, it will be the time for “Drivers” solutions to make things happen, represented by creating your online presence, differentiate your brand from competitors, expand online reach and track your performance on the way to reaching your goals.
There are no more silos of marketing, everything is connected, success depends on the integration of builders’ and drivers’ solutions.
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”.
This marketing concept is flexible and can be customized according to your business size:
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 have or a member of a big company with running digital marketing operations then “The 4T’s in Reverse” is good for you to benchmark & evaluate these operations.
Each “T” of the “4T’s” Answers a Different Question and Denotes a Group of Actions
Assuring the Success of Any Digital Marketing Operation.
How you should pave the road toward your ultimate goal?
The first pillar of the “4Ts” representing the base part of any effective digital marketing operation. It is the “how” of everything (who, what, where, when & why), simply it is your digital marketing strategy with a digital transformation twist which 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 you 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
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.
Which tools you should choose & how to use them effectively to have an automated customer acquisition system in place
Digital transformation is not only about tools, but these tools and technologies play a vital role toward a digitally transformed business.
The second “T” in the concept represents the needed digital marketing tools that can help you to achieve your company’s objectives.
One of the main problems businesses are facing today is that they are relying only on referrals and word of mouth not on the right digital marketing tools to generate leads.
That’s why selecting and effectively using the right digital marketing tools will help you build an automated customer acquisition system in place and no longer rely only on referrals and word of mouth.
But selecting the appropriate digital marketing tools to use is a tricky process, not like 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.
There are numerous ways to boost your business performance online and hundreds upon hundreds of digital marketing tools to choose from, that are listed mainly under the below categories:
• Organic Social Media Tools
• Social Media Automation Tools
• Social Media Monitoring Tools
• Paid Advertising Tools
• Email Marketing Tools
• Display Re-targeting Tools
• Website Testing Tools
• Video Hosting Tools
• Content Creation Tools
• Website Analytics Tools
• Search Engine Optimization
Technology also provides you with continuous data, helping you to learn what your customers like, don’t like, and even what they’re interested in from moment to moment. Social listening can reveal incredible insights into what they want.
The democracy in using these tools & technologies puts in your hands the needed resources to perform sales and marketing processes that were only accessible to big companies, so why not make full use of this privilege. Digital Marketing Tools can help your business despite its size to lead more conversions, generate better revenue and facilitate your engagement with your target audience, potential customer, and even your current customers especially if you select the proper tools to use with assigning their working module and the timeline for the operation.
Selecting the right tools with the needed budget to spend on marketing (around 10% of the yearly revenue), is one part of the magic, whereas translating your marketing strategy into words (copy-writing) and your messages into visually appealing communication (design) is the second complementary part, since it will be responsible for the positive perceptions your customers will have about your brand.
Therefore, it is highly recommended nowadays for brands to focus on their core competencies and collaborate with professional and well-experienced digital marketing agencies to prepare the required creatives and manage the necessary online campaigns for a better return on investment.
Every party has its superpowers and special skills to add to the company since marketing can’t be played solo, so collaborating on basis of shared responsibilities is the ideal solution, where missions will be divided between brand & agency in reference to what each party can handle more effectively.
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.
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.
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.
4TS MARKETING CONCEPT ACCORDING TO JOE GHANTOUS
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.