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How do you explain Digital Marketing to a 4-year-old?

“Why would I want to explain Digital Marketing to a 4-year-old?!”

I have no idea. But now you’re here. So bear with me.

As part of my online class on content marketing by CXL, there’s a module taught by Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios. As part of the SEO section, he presents this brilliant little illustration which would make every 4-year-old understand the basics of Digital Marketing (which means you and all of your clients should also understand it).

What is Digital Marketing (“the boring version”)?

The American Marketing Association defines Digital Marketing (DM) as:

[…] any marketing method conducted through electronic devices. This includes online marketing efforts conducted on the internet. In the process of conducting digital marketing, a business might leverage websites, search engines, blogs, social media, video, email and similar channels to reach customers.

Yes, I get it, unless your 4-year-old is like THIS GUY, you would probably have a hard time explaining DM using this definition. That’s why you should try the following:

The Digital Marketing Boat

When it comes to marketing your products or services online, it all boils down to traffic. You want to get as many people as possible to visit your website/profile/shop, right? According to Google, there are a few default traffic sources for this. The most common being:

  1. Paid Search (PPC)
  2. Organic Search (SEO)
  3. Social (SMM)
  4. Email (EDM)
  5. Direct (people that directly type your URL)

Are you struggling to figure out the differences between PPC, SEO, EDM, and SMM and how they could work for your business? Please take your seat in the metaphorical boat of digital marketing:

Orbit Media Studios came up with this illustration which brilliantly explains how digital marketing works. Your digital marketing efforts (the boat) are propelled by four power sources:

  • An engine aka PPC: the petrol for the PPC engine is money. The more you are willing to invest, the faster and farther you’ll go. But once you run out of money, your PPC engine stops immediately.
  • Oars aka Email & Social: very effective but only as long as you keep putting in the consistent work. Stop paddling and your boat stops as well.
  • A sail aka SEO: if you know how to set it up and maintain properly, a sail will continuously provide you with propulsion for your boat. This means once you put a proper SEO strategy in place, you might be able to sail for months and months (sometimes even years). The best thing, it’s free (once you put in the initial effort of course)!

So, do you understand the basics of digital marketing strategy a little better now? I loved this metaphor and will probably use it many times more to explain the intricacies of Digital Marketing to 4-year-olds… or clients.





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Xander Wegscheider

Xander Wegscheider

On a mind-bending quest to comprehend the relevance of selfies with deep captions 🕵

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