What Is a Marketing Platform? Definition and Types
A marketing platform enables businesses to promote their products and services. It also allows companies to create an interactive system of communication between their business and customers. It’s necessary to have a basic understanding of marketing platforms to compete efficiently in the online marketplace. In this article, we discuss what marketing platforms are, why they’re important and several basic types of marketing platforms.
What is a marketing platform?
A marketing platform is a tool that links marketers and consumers and builds awareness, engagement and community. The first goal of an effective marketing platform is to enable companies to build relationships with consumers. The second goal is to enable companies to convert their prospects to customers and provide products or services. A marketing platform also offers companies the ability to target individual consumers and personalize marketing messages to them.
Digital marketing tools enable businesses to reach large numbers of consumers and potentially expand their reach through public comments and shares. Examples of platforms include email applications, tools for creating websites or other content and social media sites. These platforms provide organizations with the ability to perform multiple business and technology tasks such as online purchases, optimization and performance data tracking.
Why are marketing platforms important?
There are several reasons marketing platforms are important for modern businesses, including:
Guiding the buyer’s journey: Platforms allow companies to guide the buyer’s journey by identifying where the customer is in the sales process. They can customize messaging to address a specific phase and simplify the decision process for the user by promoting relevant products and services at the appropriate time.
Allowing for growth and scalability: Marketing platforms bring producers and consumers together via existing networks and may allow companies to grow their audience rapidly. These platforms can enable businesses to reach more markets, grow brand awareness and increase their sales.
Attracting technology users: Many consumers use online marketing channels like email and social media platforms. Consumers also use cell phone technology for researching and purchasing products. Some users prefer interacting with brands via online messaging tools instead of physically going to a store.
Creating technological leverage: Artificial intelligence (AI) advancements provide the technology for marketers to reach consumers digitally. It can also target specific groups of consumers, increase value for consumers and improve the results of marketing efforts for brands.
Related: The Definitive Guide to Internet Marketing
Types of marketing platforms
There are multiple marketing platforms available to help marketers improve the sales process and increase visibility, such as:
Email marketing platforms
Email marketing gives brands the opportunity to build a community of interested prospects and customers and offer sales and promotions. This makes it an effective tool for building brand awareness and increasing conversion rates. Email marketing platforms may also give companies detailed data analysis to help them evaluate the effectiveness of individual marketing efforts, such as email open rates, customer conversion rates and split testing.
Read more: Q&A: What Is Email Marketing?
Social media marketing platforms
Social media platforms enable brands to promote highly targeted marketing messages and ads to prospects, build community and share interesting testimonials. They also let businesses engage directly with consumers to build customer loyalty and a referral base. Brands can use social media platforms to create engaging content for users to share, which may increase brand recognition.
Content marketing platforms
Content marketing platforms enable companies to address all stages of the buyer’s journey in their marketing messages. For instance, blog or social media posts can inform consumers in the early stages of the buyer’s journey about the products and services of a company. Other posts can offer testimonials and share purchase links for consumers who are interested in the offers. This can make marketing more efficient for companies since they can target prospects through a single marketing channel.
Search engine optimization marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO) may improve the results of content marketing. Marketers use highly targeted keywords in their online material and other SEO tactics to optimize content and increase ratings. The highest-ranked sites usually perform better with online searches, so investing in SEO marketing may lead to increased sales.
Read more: Definitive Guide to SEO Marketing
Video marketing platforms
Video marketing is a type of content marketing focused on the production of video content. Video marketing can enable businesses to make a deeper connection with their customers. Using responsive videos may enable companies to develop more engaging and effective video marketing strategies.
Brand collaboration and influencer marketing
Brands can partner with other brands, celebrities and experts to promote products and affect purchase decisions via social media and online methods. Targeting the audiences of two or more businesses may double the marketing impact of each company involved. For instance, a digital camera company may partner with a sports product supplier to promote their products. Users might create and share videos of sports products with the brand’s digital camera, allowing both companies to gain brand awareness and potentially increase their sales.
Related: A Guide to Influencer Marketing
Online marketplaces are e-commerce sites that connect sellers with buyers. Some online marketplaces are extremely large and sell products from distributors to consumers. Other online marketplaces make it possible for small business owners to produce products, offer them for sale and find customers to purchase their products. They may also enable companies to sell both physical and digital products.
Some platforms connect service providers directly to consumers and contain the necessary back-end server components for fulfilling sales. This type of service platform allows organizations to outsource the complicated technological architecture to complete complex transactions. For example, consumers can rent apartments or hotel rooms using service-oriented platforms. The platform may enable property owners to connect with people who want to rent rooms. Another example of a service-oriented platform is a food delivery service that connects restaurants and delivery drivers, allowing restaurants to offer food delivery without hiring additional staff.
Pay-per-click allows marketers to purchase ads on other websites or search engines to attract interested consumers. Algorithm changes don’t affect PPC ads, which can make this marketing tool resilient. There are several other benefits of PPC advertising, such as:
Providing organizations with the opportunity to have more website traffic
Making customizable ads, which is a cost-effective way of reaching target audiences
Allowing companies to use real-time comparison checks to test and revise ads while they’re running
Platforms That Every Digital Marketer Should Learn
A wise digital marketer once said, “it’s all about the platforms, baby.” Ok, that was me. And maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not a huge one. The digital role in marketing and advertising agencies is arguably more about being an expert on a multitude of platforms than any other position (even the creatives).
It can be overwhelming for new digital marketers to know which platforms are necessary to handle the planning, creation, execution and attribution of digital marketing campaigns. We’ve compiled a list of the platforms that every digital marketing agency should be well-versed in and explain why they’re essential to the process. Without further ado, here are the core digital marketing platforms that you should learn.
The Search Engine Optimization Discipline (SEO)
Ok, search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t really a platform. However, understanding keywords, ranking algorithms, ranking factors and what it means to have a mobile-friendly website is the best starting point I can recommend for a new digital marketer. So much of what digital marketing agencies and campaigns do is focused on building an organic presence. Digital marketing agencies need a strong foundation in SEO to help their clients’ websites rank highly on search engine results pages.
Learning SEO doesn’t take long, and there are some great resources out there to help you. Once you know the basics, it’s important to stay current. Google releases algorithm updates very often and staying abreast of these updates is critical to keeping your clients current. When it comes to staying current, I can’t recommend The Moz Blog and Search Engine Land enough.
Every digital marketing agency should be well-versed in SEO crawling tools. SEO crawling tools help you research competitors’ SEO presence, discover SEO issues with your clients’ websites, build a reputable backlink profile, and so much more.
There are a lot of SEO crawling tools out there, but Moz and SEMRush are the most well-known. And for good reason. These tools are easy to learn, have good report generation capability, and are relatively inexpensive. You can extract a ton of value from them in the long run.
Google Search Console & Bing/Baidu Webmaster Tool
Google, Bing, and Baidu have platforms that allow websites to communicate with each search engine’s web crawlers.
It’s not enough to control your presence on one search engine—they’re all important because every visitor counts. Moreover, different demographics tend to use different search engines. For example, Bing is particularly important for b2b marketers because its users tend to be older and wealthier than users of the other tools. These tools allow you to submit sitemaps, test site speed, see organic search term traffic, and more.
Google Analytics is the best free website analytics platform out there. With Google Analytics, you can learn how audiences get to your site, what they do while they’re on your site, which pages generate the best engagements, and which resources they interact most with.
A digital marketing agency is only as good as the results it can produce, and Google Analytics is a cornerstone of showing results. Google offers a free course for those looking to learn how to use Google Analytics, so that’s a good place to start.
Google Tag Manager
Once you’ve learned the basics of Google Analytics, you can move on to learning Google Tag Manager. In a nutshell, Google Tag Manager allows digital marketing agencies to track more granular website interactions than those that are available with Google Analytics.
For example, when you want to see which content is most engaging on your site, you might want to track how far down the page a user will scroll. Tag Manager is a simple way to be able to track those events and import the data into Google Analytics and digital marketing campaigns.
Another important role of Google Tag Manager is creating remarketing audiences. A remarketing audience is a set of website users who you want to advertise to after they’ve left your site. Google Tag Manager allows you to create more specific lists than just targeting viewers of a page.
With Google Tag Manager, you can place a tracking cookie on the browsers of users who have shown a particularly high level of interest in your site (like users who have downloaded marketing materials). Obviously, this is an essential capability for any digital marketing agency, so learning Google Tag Manager is a must.
Content Management Systems (HubSpot and WordPress)
Knowing these tools will allow you to make the day-to-day changes that are required for operating a website. As you get more advanced, you can work in plugins, marketing automation, and other more complex features.
Customer Relationship Management Systems (Salesforce, HubSpot, & Others)
One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is attribution, and the first step in building an end-to-end attribution model is establishing a connection to a client’s customer relationship management (CRM) system. Uploading contact lists to digital marketing campaigns, creating custom forms for individual campaigns, and reporting on the number of new customers that advertising campaigns are bringing in are only possible if you have a fundamental understanding of how the information is collected and stored.
Additionally, being familiar with the capabilities of these platforms will help you understand how your clients operate on a daily basis. As digital marketers, we need to understand our clients just as well as we understand their audiences. Knowing how to use the platforms that they use will let you converse with them in a productive way.
It’s a good idea to learn Google Ads while you’re learning SEO. A Google Ads campaign’s performance is inseparably linked to the target site’s SEO picture. Being proficient in both skill sets will give your digital marketing agency a strong foundation for success.
As a Google Ads expert, you can run search campaigns, display advertising campaigns, video campaigns, app promotion campaigns, and shopping campaigns. I would argue that it’s the most important platform to be an expert in. Digital marketing for b2c, eCommerce, healthcare, and b2b clients is always possible to some extent with Google Ads.
Google’s unique targeting features allow you to target users based on their browsing behavior, demographics, or traits that make them similar to your own website visitors. You can also add remarketing lists to your Google Ads campaigns. These targeting features allow digital marketers to attract qualified leads in large numbers on a pay-per-click basis.
One last benefit of learning this digital marketing platform is that you will simultaneously be learning how to use Bing Ads. The two platforms are pretty much identical in their capabilities and components.
With nearly 2.5 billion active users, Facebook is the largest social media network in the world. Most audiences are on Facebook in large numbers.
Marketing on Facebook—and on all social media, really—is more of an art form than SEO, PPC, email, etc.
Miki Abraham sums it up perfectly in her social media marketing article on JRNI: personality and swagger are a big deal. Even if you are short a couple of hashtags, your great content will be shared and find your audience. But you can have all the right hashtags and fall flat if your content is weak.
However, technical excellence is still important. Facebook Blueprint is a great place to get started. Once you’ve digested those courses, you can move on to the advanced courses.
While studying the Facebook Blueprint courses, you will find that there are Instagram courses as well. That’s because Facebook owns Instagram. Instagram inventory is automatically checked as a placement for paid digital advertising campaigns on Facebook. For all other intents and purposes, however, the platforms are separate.
Audiences gravitate to Facebook and Instagram differently. Instagram’s visual focus means it has a particularly strong appeal for the audiences of certain types of clients. Restaurants, travel companies, fitness companies, fashion companies, beauty companies, and companies involved in other niches where imagery is key are all good fits for growing an Instagram presence.
As a digital marketing platform, Twitter is easier to learn than Facebook from a ‘components’ perspective. But it’s just as much of an art. The key difference is the importance of hashtags when marketing on Twitter. Savvy digital marketing agencies can create a buzz around a hashtag that can drive business for their clients.
In my experience, though, Twitter just doesn’t offer the same ROI that Google and Facebook do for most marketers.
There’s no substitute for experience, but the next best thing is learning from the greats. If you have the time, I’d recommend checking out the Twitter profiles of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey teams. They’re not just funny—they have a thumb on the pulse of their audience. They make the comments that their audience is thinking. The Knights’ account has fallen off recently, but it played a large role in helping grow the team’s following when it joined the league.
LinkedIn is a very important social network for recruiters and B2B marketers. Users have twice the purchasing power of your average user. It’s the best way to reach C-suite executives in large numbers.
Moreover, LinkedIn is a godsend for recruitment marketers seeking to hire highly educated employees. With LinkedIn, one has the ability to search for competing companies, job titles, schools, and content that pertain to their audience and directly message them with InMail campaigns. The best talent is usually already employed, so the ability to deliver high-volume recruiting messages on LinkedIn is something that all recruitment marketers should take advantage of.
Social Management Tools (Hootsuite, AgoraPulse, Tweetreach, etc.)
Social management and listening tools make the research, creation, management, and scheduling of social media campaigns a breeze. Companies need their social media messaging to be consistent, and these tools bring the posting of content on all networks under a single roof. Without them, social media marketing would be a complete mess.