An hieroglyph depicting how digital marketing can be like a foreign language

Can Your Account Executives Really Talk Digital Marketing?

by: Mike Kleckner

I find it increasingly important to have a basic understanding of digital marketing language. I’m not saying you have to know how to code using HTML, but at least understand what it does and how the technology is used.

Selling DigitalThis same idea applies to terms such as CSS, JavaScript, SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), CMS (content management system), social seeding and Google Analytics. As the call for digital marketing services becomes more prevalent, the ability to have a knowledgeable conversation with a client about digital marketing tactics is in higher demand.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the various terms, platforms, software, & technology. The key here is to at least have a fundamental understanding about what these things do.

For example: you don’t have to know how to:

  • Use Marketo, but at least know that it is a lead management system.
  • Master Google AdWords, but at least know the difference between online display ads & text ads.
  • Analyze Facebook data, but at least know what a ‘share’ & ‘like’ is.

Chances are that a CEO or CMO at a large company does not have a deep understanding of this area of marketing either; getting into technical details about it might not be the best approach (plus the last thing you want to do is come off as condescending). The real skill here is being able to offer up digital marketing strategies in ways that a CEO can understand. Here are some examples of how to get your point across in layman’s terms:

  • NO: So Jim, what we can do is place a cookie on site visitors to retarget to them
  • YES: So Jim, what we can do is show online advertisements to people who we know have visited your site within the last 30 days.
  • NO: 30% percent of your online traffic is organic
  • YES: 30% of the visitors to your website searched for a term that did not include your brand name
  • NO: Your website was built in WordPress
  • YES: Your website was built in a templated content management system called WordPress that allows for easy site maintenance
  • NO: Your landing page is not optimized
  • YES: With the inclusion of certain keywords in your copy, people will have an easier time finding your page through a search engine
  • NO: Do you prefer swfs or jpgs?
  • YES: Do you prefer your online banner ads to be animated or static?

A functional, working knowledge of digital marketing and its unique vernacular can be learned over time. Plus, it takes some of the weight off your web designer’s shoulders.
Alright, so that’s my philosophy – where do you go from here? Here are a few of our favorite resources for learning about digital marketing:

SEO: seomoz.org, searchengineland.com
SEM: PPChero.com, searchenginewatch.com
Social: Hubspot.com, socialmediaexaminer.com
Web Development: AListApart.com, catswhocode.com

Image via kipbot

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