Digital Marketing: The Promise of Precision and Measurement
December 6, 2016 by Bill Rosenthal

Marketing is usually defined as the sum of activities involved in transferring goods or services from a seller to a buyer. It includes research, advertising, shipping, storage, and even selling. But the phrase “sum of activities” makes it sound simpler than it is. Effective marketing means identifying potential customers, communicating with them, and establishing your business as a feasible means to fill their needs. 

Marketing probably started when the first merchant noticed that a sign over the door drew more traffic than no sign. But even since then, it has been notoriously difficult to quantify the effects of marketing. A famous quote attributed to marketing pioneer John Wanamaker (1838-1932) captured the essence of this difficulty: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

The limits on the ability of marketing’s practitioners to quantify the effects of their work has allowed some hocus pocus to seep into the field. In the 1940s and 1950s, some marketers attempted to measure the influence of ads by measuring the galvanic skin response of viewers. I am sure you can learn something from galvanic skin response, but I’m just as sure that it won’t tell you with certainty whether a person will actually put money down to acquire your product. Even if galvanic skin response effectively measures a person’s response to an ad, it still doesn’t say anything about whether that person will buy, and that’s the only real test of marketing’s success. 

In the end, marketing is about offering ways to fill human needs. Today, when we have needs, the first thing we do is check the internet, and this is changing marketing dramatically. All but the most trivial purchases (and even many of those) begin with a web search. You feel a need, you go online to research how to fill that need. The task of the marketer is to be there persuasively when the consumer shows up to do a web search. Tests for galvanic skin response look quaint next to search engine optimization (SEO), contextual advertising, and content marketing (such as this blog!). Marketing has begun to shed its hocus pocus. 

As marketing becomes more precise and more measurable, it has become possible to evaluate and certify the knowledge and skills of its practitioners, at least those who work in the online realm. I am proud that Logical Operations is associated with the movement to certify digital marketing professionals. We are a partner of the Digital Marketing Institute, which offers an industry-recognized, expert-facilitated training curriculum that is geared to help marketing and sales professionals gain the skills needed to succeed in the digital world.

Our offerings include the training curriculum for the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, the DMI’s most widely taught digital marketing certification, as well as the Professional Diploma in Digital Selling training curriculum, which helps equip students with the skills needed to drive more sales. Each is a 5-day instructor-led training program with extensive hands-on activities and a real-world approach to gaining the skills needed for marketing and sales professionals to be more successful in their jobs. 

Unsure about whether you’re ready for marketing in the digital age? There is a link to a free diagnostic test of your digital marketing skills on this page.