The 8 Pillars of Digital Marketing

A recent survey by the Online Marketing Institute found that many agencies and Fortune 500 companies lack employees with the skills necessary to achieve digital marketing success. By evaluating the digital marketing skills that a company should have, and comparing them to the company’s actual internal strengths, the study was able to measure the gaps between the necessary skill and what can realistically be attained.

The following eight skills were considered to be the foundation for digital marketing (the numbers in parenthesis indicate the percentage gap, or the talent gap, as calculated by the Online Marketing Institute study):

  1. Analytics (37%)
  2. Mobile Marketing (29%)
  3. Email Marketing (27%)
  4. Content Marketing (27%)
  5. Social Media (27%)
  6. Marketing Automation (24%)
  7. SEO (19%)
  8. Digital Advertising (12%)

If you’re in B2B marketing, these skills should sound familiar. After all, these digital marketing skills also form the pillars of B2B marketing, and can have a huge impact on marketing’s contribution to sales. Take a look at the list below to see how today’s marketers can use each of these skills in tandem to create holistic, integrated marketing campaigns.


Without analytics, there’s no way to know what you’re doing right or wrong  — and more importantly, how you can improve. When it comes to digital marketing, there’s a whole host of analytics data you could be measuring to gauge your success, from cost-per-click on PPC ads to open and read rates on your emails. Take a look at this article to see which metrics top-performing companies are choosing to track to stay up to date on their successes (and failures).

Mobile Marketing

When it comes to marketing, you want to be wherever your customers are — and today, they’re on their smartphones. If you’re not optimizing your website, emails, and landing pages for mobile, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to catch your customers while they’re on-the-go. Salesforce1 is a great example of a platform that’s embracing the mobile trend by connecting customers, companies, and data across mobile devices. Make sure you don’t get left behind!

Email Marketing

According to Experian, for every $1 spent, the average return on email marketing investment is $44.25. Your buyers are constantly plugged into their email accounts (91% of consumers reported checking their email at least once a day), so skimping on the email component of your integrated marketing campaign can be a costly mistake. Check out our extensive Guide to B2B Email Marketing to get a complete look at the email process, and make sure you’re not skipping any important steps.

Content Marketing

According to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Trends Report, 71% of B2B tech marketers cite lead generation as their top content marketing goal. That’s right — content marketing isn’t just about writing blog posts and sending out white papers via email. By positioning content as a helpful resource to buyers, it becomes a valuable lead generation tactic, capable of enticing buyers to provide their own personal data in exchange for something of value, and also of moving buyers through the stages of the sales cycle without any additional work from sales.

Social Media

Without social media to help spread the word about products and distribute helpful content, many marketing campaigns would fall flat on their faces. B2B marketers should be making a point to engage with their audiences on whichever channels they use most frequently. In fact, with social media monitoring tools and easier access to social analytics, it’s even possible to associate social media with ROI, making it an even more valuable channel than it was in the past.

Marketing Automation

When it comes to integrated marketing campaigns, marketing automation has the ability to tie every facet of a campaign together. From the initial import of a lead into a database, to every touch point a lead has with a marketing campaign, marketing automation can provide insight into every phase of the digital marketing process (even paid search results and social media reporting).


Creating content and integrated campaigns does you little good if your hard work never gets found. Without a solid SEO strategy in place to ensure that you’re bringing traffic to your site, the analytics that you gather and the reports you run in your automation system won’t reflect the maximum results that you’re capable of seeing. If you’re unsure what steps you should be taking to start building out your SEO strategy, check out our Essential SEO Checklist.

Digital Advertising

No digital marketing strategy would be complete without digital advertising, which goes hand in hand with SEO. For companies who have a hard time getting one of those coveted spots at the top of the search engine results page, or for companies who are looking for other outlets to augment their search strategies, digital advertising (PPC) is a great solution. Use digital ads to target your audience across the web and support your digital marketing campaigns.

Are you incorporating all of these aspects into your marketing? Let us know in the comments!

Image source can be found here.

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3 thoughts on “The 8 Pillars of Digital Marketing

  • A pretty good sweep of critical skills! So much to learn and so little time!… I guess even so, for a digital marketer!

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