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Basic Principles of Online Marketing

This is the first post in a series that outlines the basic principles of online marketing and proceeds to deep-dive into each concept. 

The first concept that should be understood is that online marketing offers options and possibilities as broad, extensive and varied as offline marketing.

When I hear “I want to be on the Web” or “We have to get into mobile,” the hairs on my arms stand on end (I’m bald, so nothing moves on my head). It’s akin to someone telling me “I want to communicate with people,” without specifying what type, tactic or platform will be used to do so.

I will therefore describe in simple terms what is involved in the world of interactive marketing. There are three types of marketing, three types of communication and three types of advertising. Let’s start with the different types of marketing.

Paid Owned Earned

Owned marketing

What do you really control? The first aspect over which you have full control is your website. You control its content, how often it is updated and the search engine optimization (SEO) efforts put forth to improve the chances of it being found by search engines. You also have full control of your newsletter. Lastly, you have 100% control over your social media presence. It’s up to you, and only you, to choose what messages you convey, share and comment on, as well the frequency of your posts.

Owned Marketing

Earned marketing

Earned marketing is everything you do not control. People talk about your products and services both online and offline. The discussions and comments exchanged online remain permanently on several sites, including user review sites (such as Yelp), blogs and social media sites. The “noise” generated about your brand can sometimes be significant enough to help boost your campaign (when positive).

Although you can’t control the tone or content of discussions, you can incite people to talk about you by helping them share and comment on information, which will, by extension, help increase your visibility among people who don’t necessarily know you.

Earned Marketing


Paid marketing

Paid marketing refers to all kinds of paid advertising that appears on the Internet and other interactive platforms. This includes display advertising (banners) on the Internet (content, service and social media sites), on video game consoles, mobile devices (sites and applications) and digital displays; video advertising; email advertising (advertisement integrated into a publisher’s newsletter); directories and classified ads; and marketing on search engines (purchase of text advertisements by words/key phrases).

Some of these tools are more “glamorous” than others. Some have instant results, whereas others offer more long-term advantages. Each tool has its place in the consumer purchase cycle (reach, awareness, appreciation, consideration, intent to buy, acquisition/purchase and relationship optimization/management).

Paid Marketing & the Purchase Funnel

This post was previously published on Samuel Parent's personal blog on October 4th, 2011.

To be continued…

Upcoming blog posts will discuss paid marketing in more detail, since this type of marketing drives the other two. These informative articles will help you learn everything there is to know about best practices, helpful tips and common pitfalls to avoid.

Questions? Feel free to join the discussion!

Join The Conversation

  • Samuel-F Parent's picture
    Feb 21 Posted 5 years ago Samuel-F Parent

    Yes, I'll start from the top or generalities and work my way down to more granular levels.

  • Feb 16 Posted 5 years ago wedofordo

    Great article. It bothers me when people talk about online marketing and assume that they will just have an "online presence." Particularly when they add it into their marketing plan and do not end up taking the time to research and understand what it is they will need to offer. I think you've covered the paid portion on a basic level but have done it very well. There are some great articles I've read about online marketing on within their resource center. The portion about optimizing your website for SEO has never been more revelant, give Google's new approach to indexing for content and relevant information. Anyway, just my 2 cents. Hope that helps

  • Feb 16 Posted 5 years ago Kenny Smith

    Great post.  You mentioned that future posts will cover paid marketing in more detail. Will this include creating paid marketing campaigns?


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