As happens in any job market, Communication and Marketing actions in the digital market emerged without anyone saying ‘now!’. Professions and activities are born from market demand and gradually become formalized; there is no exact starting point. The difference with the web is that everything happens at the speed of light.
When theory is overtaken by practice, as has been the case since the mid-90s with the digital market, professionals – you and me – often have to grope in the dark in search of theories and evidence to help base their work. There was a time when only experience was accepted by customers as an argument.
The good news is that, over the past decade, the area has been flooded with good bibliography, be it books, blogs, groups, etc. After all, those who accumulated the road understood that the only way for the market to advance is to share knowledge with others.
Amid the evolution from self-teaching to market professionalization, basic concepts of Social Communication were left in the dust, however. When we lose track of where we came from, the immediate consequence is the creation of noise in the actions we plan and execute, whether they are the most advanced or intricate. Without a base, we take a hundred steps forward but at the risk of taking a thousand steps back.
For starters, how about we drink from the fountain then? How do you define, in light of the digital environment, what Communication is and what Marketing is, for example, or point out their differences? For market professionals, knowing how to answer these questions is essential.
What Is Communication
Imagine a tennis game. On opposite sides of the court, there are two players – and the ball, the reason for everything. In Communication, as well as in tennis, the role of player 1 is to make the ball reach player 2, and that’s it. We then have the sender and the receiver – and the message. Until two decades ago, what mattered to Communication was getting the ball to the other side of the court. Whether it would be hit (and how) was secondary. Since then, with the digital medium, everything has changed.
What seemed like a game with two participants – and let’s be honest, it wasn’t – turned into a real game in which more important than getting the message to the receiver was being prepared for the next move. The same ball that goes around comes back differently, and the message changes throughout the game. In this process, everyone wins.
In Digital Communication tennis, there is no winner – especially because, for those who started the match, the interest is to ensure that the game never ends. What was a simple interaction became interactivity. What would have been a nightmare for Communication decades ago has become a ‘daydream’ for today’s (good) brands.
What Is Marketing
You didn’t know, but my objective when inviting you to play tennis was to convince you to become a member of the club – of which I am the owner. Quite a function for a tennis ball, right? But this is the reason for Marketing’s existence: using the message for something more ambitious. The goal might just be to sell you a box of tennis balls, but it might also be to convince you to buy the entire club. Therefore, in Marketing, seduction is the centre of everything. It has the mission – almost magical – of instilling the desire to purchase in the message.
In Marketing, what a brand has to do goes far beyond informing; information exists as a bridge to a more significant objective: meeting or creating needs.
In the digital environment, the dynamics become much more complex. The message undergoes metamorphosis in the hands of the person we want to reach: the receiver. He takes it for himself and, just like modeling clay, creates a new message that is passed on. The brand then stops being something ‘one’ and becomes collective. The public analyzes, questions and even changes the message itself.
Brands then must be side by side with the receiver of the message, polishing it as it multiplies on the network, preventing noise from undoing it and working so that the ‘north’ of conversion to purchase continues in the public’s field of vision.
Communication and Marketing
In an environment like digital, where Marketing is vital for the survival of brands, is it still possible to focus on pure and straightforward messaging just as a Communication vehicle? For the unwary, no.
Once the concepts of Communication and Marketing in the context of the digital environment are understood, it is then possible to criticize the opposite way: in no way is it possible to work with information in the area without understanding the peculiarities of the media. Just being conceptual is not enough. It is necessary to work on theory and practice.
Anyone who understands the intricacies of the online environment knows the value of pure and straightforward information and puts its dual function into action. The first is at the root of hypertext: the almost infinite capacity to serve as a source of knowledge for the receiver, deepening the information and clarifying doubts along the way.
The second is the fact that the web is formative, capable of ‘preparing’ users for consumption. The more informed you are, the more qualified you are to purchase. With knowledge, a bridge to consumption is created. When analyzing a purchasing process, one often concludes that information without the purpose of stimulating consumption was the primary motivator.
Also Read: Best Practices For Companies On Social Media