How Marketing Elements Work Together and How Social Media Fits In

Marketing is a rather complex topic that can be difficult for many people to understand, even marketers. With new marketing methods and strategies popping up daily, it has become even harder to accurately classify things into the correct spectrum and clearly visualize how the various marketing elements fit together.

So one day I came up with this analogy for this. It seemed like a really good way of explaining how marketing works to someone who doesn’t quite get it, so I hope it helps.

By the way, if you’re wondering how this fits into my usual topic, social media, I explain that below.

Let’s use your home as a symbol to represent the current status of your business. Of course, you want your business to grow. So we’re going to use the beach to represent your destination or business goal (because beaches are lovely). The trip that you’ll be taking to get from home to the beach, that is, your current status to where you want to be, is marketing.

You have several options for transportation – these represent the various marketing activities you use to communicate and deliver value to the public. For the purposes of this article, you can take the:

These are just a few examples, not a full list.

A marketing channel is the medium you choose to execute the activity, i.e. the roads you use to get to your destination. Each road represents a different channel. For road options, you have:

Once again, there are many other marketing channels and more popping up everyday, for example, radio, email, billboards, etc.

So you pick a vehicle (your marketing activity) and then choose a road or network of roads (your marketing channels) to get to your destination (business goal).

Let’s say you choose to use the Public Relations Car and travel via Newspaper Mews. (In practice, this could be press releases or articles submitted to the newspaper.)

One activity can be done via more than one channel concurrently or simultaneously. You could take an Advertising Taxi and travel via Social Media Street, then on to Newspaper Mews. (In practice, this could be a campaign that starts with Facebook or Twitter Ads, then switches to ads on television.) You could also choose Instagram as a platform to advertise your product. Nowadays, millions of people across the globe are using IG everyday. Hence, it is considered as one of the best media to promote business. You can also see which is the top site to buy Instagram followers.

You can also execute several activities on the same channel or multiple channels. You can drive the Public Relations Car on Website Way (blogging about community outreach on your website), then transfer to the Sponsorship Bus and travel along Television Terrace (sponsoring a TV show).

Now why did I go through this Marketing 101 stuff on a social media blog? Well, social media is often referred to as a marketing activity, considered an equivalent to advertising, public relations and the like. Clearly, this isn’t the case. If it were, you wouldn’t be able to advertise or share press releases via social media, which you totally can.

I’m hoping that with this explanation, businesses can better see how social media fits into the larger marketing spectrum and use it accordingly, as a medium, rather than a separate activity. They’ll realize that any of the activities done offline – advertising, sales promotions, sponsorships, etc. can be done online too.