And while we may call our services Digital Marketing, it is more accurate to call it Internet Business Management. The Elephant Parable is a useful analogy to understand why businesses struggle with the intangible characteristics of marketing on the Internet.
The Elephant Parable is a story of a group of blind men who have never come across an elephant before and who imagine what the elephant is by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant’s body, and then describes the elephant. Their descriptions are all very different. They come to suspect that the other person is dishonest. The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited, subjective experience while they ignore other people’s limited, subjective experiences, which may be equally true.
This parable is an analogy for the business principal to understand the advice they receive. That advice will be dependent on the experience of the individual. The more specialized the role of the individual, the less scope that advice may embody. A web-developer see a website, IT staff see servers and the SEO see keywords. The elephant in the room is much larger, and since we really don’t have a single word to describe it in whole, you can simply call it “business that exists on the Internet” – a mirror image of a real-world business enterprise.
Simple enough then to understand that Internet businesses have digital assets, just as real-world businesses do. An Internet “Store” is a website, a real-world store is a building, etc. The only thing that they both share that is not mirrored is the product for sale.
Internet Assets are all those things required to form a whole (elephant) path to sell that product online. It begins with people seeking your product online. The person exists in the real-world and the product exists in the real-world. That person will come to your website to purchase your product via a Channel. A Channel is the source of customers such as a search engine, a social media platform, or your newsletter. But around 90% of them will use a search engines to find your product. It follows that a search engine must know about your product by indexing your website. Your website (an asset) will require several features to compete, so that the search engine indexes (promotes) your product over a competitive product. Those features are keywords and pages and semantic structure (assets). Your website lives in a server (an asset). And all of these assets require logins so that many people can manage them, since few individuals possess the many esoteric skill-sets to do it all. The more people involved, the more difficult it is to manage and the more fragmented the vision of the whole online business.
Who is going to help all those individuals see and work in the interest of the whole business? Who is going to keep track and secure those many assets?
So while we call ourselves an Internet/Digital Marketing firm, we are really helping the real-world business manage all those Internet Assets and optimize the whole path between the customer and the product.