Introduction to Marketing in the Digital Age

Chapter Information

Reading Scale: 10.3   Read Time: 11 minutes   Speaking Time: 15 minutes

Siri, Alexa, and personal digital assistants. Augmented and virtual reality. Artificial intelligence, social influencers, and social media. Amazon, Google, and YouTube.

Digital disruption is the name of the game in business. Netflix made Blockbuster irrelevant. Smartphones made the Sony Walkman, Garmin GPS devices, Blackberrys, desktop computers, digital cameras, flashlights, and even laptops irrelevant to an extent. Digital evolution is quick and deadly. In business today, it’s eat or be eaten.

So how do you ensure you are the predator and not the prey? You let marketing lead the way.

No offense to other business disciplines, but without marketing, there is no business. Without marketing, salespeople have nothing to sell; accountants have no money to count; economists have nothing to analyze but gloom and doom.

Today’s consumer is more connected than ever. Consumers have more access to information, content, purchasing options and brands than ever before thanks to the proliferation of digital devices and platforms. It’s marketing’s job to make sure that consumers have a seamless experience with brands, products, and services at all touchpoints—digital, analog, and personal.

Effective marketing campaigns are the handiwork of skilled and trained marketing professionals. Created in the hands of a marketing pro, campaigns can be joyous and wondrous—they engage the customer, showcase products and services in meaningful ways, and communicate how different, better, and special they are compared to the competition. They delight, differentiate, and drive the customer to purchase.  

The strategies and skills used to develop these marketing plans—created in just the right way and executed at just the right times—are learned. In this book, I am going to teach you how to do it!

Created for Marketing Students by a Marketing Professional

This book is designed to give you the tools and knowledge to effectively brand, build, and execute marketing plans for businesses, products, and services. The skills and strategies you will learn are applicable across the spectrum of businesses—from large consumer product brands to small mom-and-pops; from insurance agents to dentists; for outdoor product designers to home designers to web-based businesses to candy shops.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Professor Eric D. Schulz of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. I moved to academia after spending 30 years leading marketing efforts for some of the world’s best marketing companies—Procter & Gamble, Disney, Coca-Cola, and others.

Through this wide and varied pool of experiences, I have brought together for this book the best practices and strategies that have been proven to generate customer interest and sales. The objective of this book is simple: to provide you with the tools and expertise to effectively brand your products and services, then build and execute effective marketing plans to drive sales.

Tactics Change—Strategies Do Not

While the tactics used to execute marketing plans constantly evolve—for example, the emerging opportunities with digital marketing, artificial intelligence, social media, social influencers, and mobile smartphone marketing are new tools that are still evolving—the strategies that lead to successful marketing plans, however, have remained surprisingly consistent over time. This class will teach you the fundamental branding strategies that have been proven effective at marketing products and services and blend those strategies with contemporary marketing tactics and digital innovation. Keep in mind that these strategies will certainly change as time goes by and more effective tactics and new opportunities will emerge.

Futurists say, as a rule of thumb, 60% of the jobs that will be available 10 years from now haven’t been invented yet. With that in mind, it becomes all the more important for marketers to steep themselves in the knowledge of effective fundamental strategies. The evolution of business and technology and the unseen and unknown opportunities that lie ahead will certainly affect how we market our products and services in the future. The most essential skill for marketers is going to be the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn new ways of applying strategies as the digital express picks up even more steam.

Blending the New with the Old

Marketing in the Digital Age brings together the marketing innovations created by the digital technology revolution with the sage and proven wisdom of time-tested branding strategies to offer a successful platform for winning in today’s marketing environment.

What Marketers Do

Great marketers perform the following four essential tasks for their business:

  1. They create a strategic, actionable plan to guide the branding, marketing, and communications of their products and services.

  2. They identify the essence of their brand story. Great marketers are great storytellers, and they know how to tell stories with passion.

  3. They develop and foster interaction with their customers wherever the customer is.

  4. They use creative ideas to build marketing plans to grow long-term profits.