Mapping the Way for the Digital Marketer

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Navigating the complex digital marketing space can be daunting. Gartner's recently introduced Digital Marketing Transit Map aims to help marketers successfully traverse the often convoluted digital marketing space. The Map details the “neighborhoods,” “tracks,” and “stations” to guide marketers to the types of digital marketing solutions that will best support their marketing strategies.

“You start at the bottom where there are more connections to the internal organization,” explains Andrew Frank, VP, distinguished analyst at Gartner. “[The map] signifies where most people start from when they're coming into the [digital marketing] space. Going into these connections, their first stop may be the hub—that area in the middle where everything comes together. You then plot their journey along the different tracks depending on what your focus is.”

The “neighborhoods” represent the functional regions of an organization. The “tracks” then connect these regions and signify the application services that share common objectives and information. Finally, the “stations” represent the interaction points.

Click on image below to see the full map.

Frank says the map is useful in addressing the general difficulties navigating the digital marketplace, rather than focusing in on any one particular area specifically. Though the neighborhoods—which include general areas of marketing such as ad ops, design, and mobility—may not apply directly to all marketers, Frank recommends that marketers understand all of them and then apply  the appropriate information to their specific field.

“The main difficulty is coordinating all of the different neighborhoods…sharing the right kind of information, keeping score with a common set of performance indicators.” Frank says. “I think that companies have been fairly good at developing specialized skills in one area or another, but it's more difficult to keep coordinated across all channels.”

A major concern among marketers working in the digital marketplace is the integration of technologies. Frank says that even though large corporations such as Adobe, IBM, and Salesforce are developing fully integrated suites, the marketplace hasn't advanced to that point yet.

“We're still in the early stages of working together,” Frank says. “On the other hand, thanks to Web technology, it's a little easier to integrate things than in the past…. In general, there's a lack of standards and a lack of common integration best practices; that means it's still going to take time [for these technologies to] work together.”

Frank says that it is not necessary to have discipline in all of these neighborhoods and technologies. Rather, by understanding the key paths, organizations will be able to make smarter marketing decisions.

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