What are the most effective tools for digital marketing?

Choosing top digital marketing tools depends on the area of marketing you’re active in. In theory, digital tools should be able to boost your performance and help you focus on the creative side of things, instead of performing manual tasks endlessly.

I’ve tested out a few digital marketing tools and eventually picked my top five:

Social media tool: Kontentino

Kontentino. Mostly because it has some additional features that are extremely useful to me when managing social media, such as client-friendly approvals (within the app, without the need to exchange countless emails), not to mention the intuitive calendar that lets the whole team handle all profiles across social networks from one place. It really makes a difference if you manage a lot of accounts.

Link tool: RockerLink

RocketLink.There’s no social media marketing and content promotion without shortened links. RocketLink definitely proves to be a great solution for this purpose – it doesn’t only let you shorten URLs but also customize them by adding many elements to them, like chat boxes. Speaking of…

Conversational marketing tool: Live chat by LiveAgent

Live chat by LiveAgent. Somehow, conversational marketing is still not leveraged by many marketers out there. I find LiveAgent’s live chat very intuitive to use and make good use of, which I definitely recommend.

Programs manage tool: Post Affiliate Pro

Post Affiliate Pro. If you rather dig into affiliate marketing, it doesn’t get easier than with Post Affiliate Pro. It has a truly intuitive dashboard for both merchants and affiliates, which makes the programs easy to manage.

Files manage tool: Filecamp

Filecamp. It makes storing, managing and sharing all my files and visuals easily, no matter their size. This way, I can keep all my assets well-organized and find whatever I’m looking for in an instant.

That’s my toolbox in a nutshell. Still, when choosing yours, think of your needs first before you start giving some tools a try. Only then you can truly establish what works best for you and make an informed choice in the end.


How smart, connected products are transforming Elon Musk net worth?

Driven by Tesla, Elon Musk net worth have been a super hot search query. Since a year ago on March 18 2020, Tesla share price has gone up from $71 by 10 folds, making him once the world’s richest man.

Tesla cars exemplify the Internet of Things technology. But how this piece of smart, connected product can generate such an unrivalled fortune? The marketing theorists of competitions and competitive advantages have given the answers.

Thus spoke Porter and Heppelmann

Michael Porter and James Heppelmann wrote in 2014 in Harvard Business Review that the technologies such as IoT have revolutionised old types of products composed solely of mechanical and electrical parts to become complex systems that combine hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors, software, and connectivity.

They used a farmer’s tractor 🚜 in the original version of the infographic adapted below to show the revolution process. The “complex systems” reside in Stage 4.

Smart, connected electric cars using IoT technology drive the auto industry into new boundaries of competitions.

Replacing the tractor with an electric car, we can see that a smart, connected car forms a product system involving at least, but not limited to, manufactured deliverables, energy and maintenance services, plus data and connectivity capabilities.

But neither the Porter & Heppelmann’s tractor nor an electric car would stop at Stage 4. These complex product systems will cruise into Stage 5 – the “system of systems”.

A Tesla car in the near future will be a product system in a larger transportation system. This Transport System must also have a sustaining network of, for example, the GeoData, Energy Supply, and Communications systems.

The automobile industry today is in Stage 4. But stock buyers invest in the future. The rising Elon Musk net worth indicates investor votes of confidence in Stage 5 when Tesla would take an upper hand in competitions.

Change of heart

The two authors also suggest that smart, connected products not only change the competitions within industries. They also redefine industry boundaries in which the competitive dynamics are completely different.

Take another look at the infographic. In stages 1 to 4, the basis of competition shifts from discrete products to product systems.

In Stage 5, the systems of systems link an array of product systems together. Tesla will find itself competing in the broader driverless transportation industry.

Why would it have a competitive upper hand? That’s because automobiles will have a change of hearts to work their brains.

In the stages when auto companies competed on the product level, the internal combustion engines were the heart of cars. Carmakers spent tens of millions to design viable engines to be planted in different models and product lines.

Electric car engines are not that expensive to design and less difficult to build. In electric cars, batteries are the heart. More importantly, for self-driving electric cars in the era of the automated transportation system of systems, data processing and connectivity capabilities will be the brains.

The big tech companies like Tesla are more competent in building the hearts and brains of the new auto industry. They leave the traditional auto brands chasing their taillights from far behind.

American cars great again?

The smart, connected electric cars may rebuild the former glory of the American automobile industry because of the country’s power in the interlinked technology industry systems.

The American cars basked in the glories of the Ford Model T till the 1970s Oil Crisis. After that, global consumer preferences shifted to fuel efficiency. Japanese and German cars were the biggest winners of the shift, beating American peers badly.

But Elon Musk’s Tesla is leading the changes in the competitive landscape. It may eventually disrupt the world order of the auto industry because the smart, connected cars in the future run on the new battery hearts and the data-processing brains.

A new formation of American Big Techs, with Google and Apple in it, is joining the competition by becoming carmakers. They are set to make great American cars, knowing better how to programme the chips in them.

Elon Musk’s net worth today is because of the prospects of Tesla in the new global competitive landscape of tomorrow. It all started with cars becoming smart, connected. The magic of IoT.


To clear confusions about marketing technology, use this guide

Marketing technology can be confusing because there is too much. A marketer with a Swiss-based sports federation recently told your Clicademist that she had to learn to use Figma, Miro, and Notion in the past few weeks, thanks to her new agency’s preferences. She confessed being an Office 365 user, she had not heard of any of these productivity tools weeks before.

The famous Marketing Technology Landscape infographics at its 2020 edition, has been struggling to be more informative than intimidating. All people can see is an agglomeration of logos to represent 8,000 plus technologies.

The problems of marketing technology

The rapidly growing multitude is one of the problems. Categorising the technology items as in the diagram below helps. But deep diving in even the smallest group of 601 Management solutions would not be practical.

Martech Category Growth 2019-2020
Marketing technology solutions 2020 categorised by Click here for source.

The bigger problem lies in the interconnections between the technologies that every marketer deals with daily. There are at least three levels of connections. On the macro level are the technologies that come into our world. Next are the technologies as products and services provided by various companies and the competitors. On the operational level are the marketing technologies.

Your Clicademist uses the infographic below to demonstrate these relationships. The two moons stand for the marketing technologies in question.

There are three levels of interconnected relationships between technologies in marketing.

But imagine a star system with 8,000 and growing number of moons? No infographic can draw this massive scale of interconnections. We need a simpler solution to understand the relationships better.

Impacts of technology in marketing

Thankfully, we found the solution from the academians. George Day of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in a 2018 writing listed several technological forces that transform marketing. Three of those are particularly useful to guide people through the marketing technology maize.

We found a pattern of the marketing technology landscape by focusing on the impacts and leaving aside the issue of multitude. Let us examine these three impacts.

First, new ways of understanding and connecting with customers

Technology expanded marketers’ connections with consumers and clients. Social media alone have enabled such connectivity on a massive scale. The connectivity in turn has enabled data exchange. The data result in analytics to generate customer insights. The Clicademy data dashboard is such a prototype example.

Technology has also created more marketing touchpoints for businesses to engage with customers. These touchpoints provide connections for marketers to use some of those 8,000 technological solutions to engage customers with advertising and promotion, content and experience, and social relationships.

Second, advances in decision tools

Data and management categories of the marketing technology solutions embody this type of impacts. Marketing managers have always relied on data to make choices and solve problems. The differences today are the amount of data, the process of analysis, and the growing reliance on data.

Marketers also increasingly rely on technology to make and implement decisions. Human beings delegate this responsibility to computers. Automation is set to further disrupt the marketing industry in the days to come.

Third, new capabilities and competitors

This type of impacts is most exciting. A few years ago nobody would imagine the Apple Inc. to challenge BMW and Mercedes in the business of driverless cars. The creator of Amazon is compet IMG against the creator of some electric cars in an outer space race.

Technology brings new products and services to change companies’ business scopes as well as how people work. The cloud computing technology has brought about the three new tools which the Swiss sports federation manager has to work with. Those productivity tools are also commercial SaaS products.

Seeing these three impacts guides us to understand the myriad of technology in marketing. The first two have resulted in the marketing technology stacks used by the practitioners. These martech stacks are only to keep growing with the unstoppable third impact.


Five things you must know about API in digital marketing

Over the past few years, the API has become a common digital marketing term. But marketers do not seem to take ownership of it, leaving it exclusively in the IT rooms. This is not right.

There are five things that every digital marketer today needs to know about APIs. So that they can take a proactive approach to command and use APIs in digital marketing.

First, what does API do?

We live in a world today with connected computers. These computers run applications, just like your phone runs the Apps. API stands for the “application programming interface”. It is a set of programming codes to tell the Apps to exchange data with each other in a controlled manner.

A common analogy is to compare APIs to restaurant service as this MuleSoft video does. Another example is that hotel marketplaces such as the uses APIs to enable room providers (hotels and individual BandB owners) to share inventory and pricing in real-time.

Marketers can see the APIs as software that automatically collects data from other companies’ databases provided that the other companies also use APIs to allow such data accesses. With mutual consents, companies use APIs to let their computers talk to each other and exchange digital data.

Second, APIs share crucial data in business ecosystems

Why do companies want to and need to share data? It is because companies nowadays need to build business ecosystems in which partnerships are vital. Data owners need to give limited data access to clients, suppliers, and agents, to name a few. For social organisations and governments, automation in legitimate data sharing with the public is an obligation.

APIs are mainly business-to-business data exchange programmes. They are functionalities written into digital applications, therefore, has an indirect relationship with consumers. Consumers never download and install an API. Rather, they use applications with APIs running behind the scene.

Partly because APIs do not face consumers directly and partly because they are computer codes, marketers have not assumed responsibilities for them. This needs to change. Today advertising managers reselling Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, MailChimp inventories must take a look at these platforms’ API development documentations to at least have an idea about the next point.

Third, what data are exchanged?

The short answer is all kinds of data. But two types are more relevant to marketing than others.

The first type is about the capabilities of the systems. For example, marketplace and advertising websites use APIs to manage transactions with advert agencies. Video hosting platforms allow developer APIs to detect the system and content specifications. YouTube provides API references and snippets for websites to embed videos and to track and control the playbacks.

YouTube embed and API reference
Video sharing sites like YouTube uses APIs for video embedding.

Another type is the performance data for analytics and consumer insights. Google and Bing analytics provides all developers with API accesses. Clicademy chooses to use Analytify to use the API access to create our site’s traffic dashboard with real-time Google Analytics data for registered members to view.

The scope of data access and exchange depends on the data owner’s need to build the business ecosystem. Data owners decide what and how much data to share. The data fetchers may have various level of bargaining power to request specific accesses.

Marketers must be aware that when it comes to accessing and sharing consumer data, ethics become a matter of concern.

Fourth, how should digital marketing staff take ownership of API?

Marketers do not have to be all capable. Coding APIs is an IT engineer’s job. Marketers should work with a team of software coders and involve themselves in deciding what data are needed and for what purposes.

It makes sense to advise marketers on how not to work with the IT developers. Please do not just ask them what are possible and available. This question is OK if you are asking them to help you choose between a Mac or Windows laptop. But when it comes to APIs, the answer will be a long list of technical possibilities, of which 90% are incomprehensible for laypersons. So your IT colleagues would respond to you with a more pointed question, “what do you need?” If you could not answer this question, a chicken-and-egg chase would start.

Marketers should command and use APIs as technological tools to assist decision making. They should ask for the API functionalities based on the need for insights and the decisions to make. If marketers are clear about their data needs, they are in the position to own the APIs created to serve those needs.

Fifth, how can you start to learn digital marketing API?

It would be difficult if you have never seen a digital marketing API in action. To use an API-enabled application would be the best way to learn the technology about its capabilities and results.

For this purpose, Clicademy recommends TAGS, which stands for a Twitter Archiving Google Sheet application created by Martin Hawksey, a learning technologist from Edinburg, Scotland.

TAGS uses Twitter API access to collect data from the social network and present the data in Google sheets. Digital marketing learners should try this application to get the first-hand experience of API-enabled social data collection and analysis.

Please register with Clicademy and subscribe our email newsletters to stay tuned for our future discussions on using TAGS as one of the first steps of learning digital analytics for marketing.