Marketing tools — definitions and examples
The right marketing tools can help you develop better marketing strategies, increase efficiency, and spur business growth in uncertain economic times. But there are many marketing tools available today, and it can be confusing and overwhelming to keep track of them all — especially if you’re just starting out.
Learning about marketing tools will help you better understand how the right tools can help you build and improve your overall marketing strategy. Our guide defines marketing tools and gives examples to show the wide variety of options available to help your next marketing campaign succeed.
This guide will cover:
- Marketing tools defined
- Traditional marketing tools
- Digital marketing tools
- Social media marketing tools
- How to get started with marketing tools
Marketing tools defined
Broadly speaking, marketing tools refer to tools, techniques, or strategies used to help develop, improve, and promote a business’s products and services. You’re probably familiar with some of the more commonly used tools for marketing, such as:
- Social media
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
Most businesses choose to take an integrated approach to marketing, which means they utilize several marketing tools at the same time. This can be beneficial because different tools serve different marketing purposes.
For example, social media can be a great marketing tool for building connections and spreading awareness of new products or promotions, which then helps boost sales. Surveys and analytics, on the other hand, are better suited for gathering and collecting data.
Understanding which marketing tools are best suited for different marketing tasks is an important part of strategy development and key to reaching your business goals. Let’s explore a few examples, starting with the broader categories of traditional and digital marketing.
Traditional marketing tools
These marketing tools category includes anything that has been traditionally used to market to consumers offline. Some traditional marketing tools include:
- Billboards. Stationed along busy highways and in heavily traversed areas, billboards are used to convey short, simple messages to consumers in a few seconds. This is a great way to increase reach and brand exposure.
- Print ads. These physically printed advertisements — such as newspapers, magazines, direct mail, or fliers and brochures — have long been an effective way to inform consumers. They can also be used to boost sales if the ad is about an ongoing promotion or includes a coupon that consumers can redeem in store.
- Events. You can use events to build awareness of your brand or product by giving potential consumers a chance to interact with brand representatives and products in person. Events include conferences, workshops, seminars, pop-up shops, and other live activities.
- Merchandise. From shirts and hats to press kits and business cards, merchandise can provide information about your business or even just showcase the logo. It gives consumers something tangible to serve as a frequent reminder of your business and brand.
- Surveys. Only in-person and over-the-phone surveys are considered traditional marketing tools. They’re used to gather information, help you decide where to focus business resources, and show how you compare to your competitors.
One of the biggest advantages of traditional marketing is the physical, tangible aspect. Nothing quite compares to an honest conversation with a real person face-to-face or the repeated exposure you get when a consumer sees your logo every time they write something down.
The downside to traditional marketing methods is the lack of customization. Traditional marketing tools deliver one message to a very diverse audience and don’t have the ability to deliver tailored messaging or unique experiences.
Digital marketing tools
Digital marketing tools are designed to reach people online and in targeted ways that are personalized to their interests. Some common digital marketing tools include:
- SEO (search engine optimization). SEO involves refining and developing website content based on keywords to help you appear higher in web page results for searches related to your business.
- Email lists. Email marketing uses information provided by subscribers such as their name, birthday, or preferred products to personalize content and messaging. Rather than getting a generic letter addressed to “Resident” at a specific address like with direct mail, you can use email to create personal connections by addressing every recipient by name.
- Digital analytics. These metrics can tell you where website visitors are coming from, how long they stay, and what’s holding their attention the longest. Digital analytics also make it possible to quickly and cheaply perform A/B testing on different headlines, titles, and images, giving you valuable insights to improve ad performance.
- Surveys. Online surveys are easier to prepare and send out en masse than traditional ones. In the time it takes a person to complete one phone survey, you could receive 100 responses to a digital survey completed by users online.
The biggest advantages of digital marketing tools are the relative ease of use, lower cost of production on a large scale, and the ability to customize ads to personalize content to consumers.
While the world is becoming increasingly digital, there’s still value in observing real-time, in-person reactions to products and services through more traditional marketing tools. It’s also important to consider the demographic you’re trying to reach as older demographics generally tend to respond better to traditional marketing tools than digital ones.
Social media marketing tools
Though part of the digital marketing tools category, social media has become so integral to marketing strategies that it needs to be given its own special attention. The main goal of social media marketing is to create connections and develop relationships with customers. Some social media marketing tools include:
- Posts. Posting means creating and sharing your own content and messages on a social media platform.
- Hashtags. Tagging content with related words or phrases using the # sign makes it more searchable on a platform so it can be found by people seeking similar content.
- Influencer marketing. Partnering or contracting with popular celebrities or well-known users to endorse or promote your brand can be highly effective, especially on video.
One of the greatest advantages of using social media marketing tools is the level of loyalty it can build among followers. By connecting directly with your audience, you create memorable experiences and a strong, authentic bond.
Brand loyalty and meaningful relationships unfortunately aren’t built overnight, so social media marketing is often more time-consuming than other digital marketing tools. However, for those who are willing to put in the work, the rewards can be significant.
How to get started with marketing tools
Now that you’re more familiar with the different types of marketing tools available, you can start building your own marketing strategy. Remember to think carefully about what mix of marketing tools is right for your business. The best marketing strategies use a combination of the tools discussed above with other techniques across various platforms and channels.
Once you have a strategy ready to execute, Adobe Marketo Engage can help you coordinate your online and offline efforts in one accessible platform. With tools to generate leads, segment your audience, and analyze data, you’ll have everything you need to launch a successful marketing campaign right at your fingertips.
Request a demo to learn more about how Marketo Engage can help you achieve your marketing goals.