Digital marketing - 10 trends, 10 models, 10 must-read books

Digital marketing - 10 trends, 10 models, 10 must-read books

“What is it, what does it do and what are best practices?”, I wondered when I heard that I was the designated jury member to chair the digital marketing session during the NIMA awards. I am familiar with marketing, but what exactly is this digital marketing? Just as in the days of Web 3.0 there is no definition in the Dutch version of Wikipedia. However, this time the American version does have one. By the way, there are over 35 new marketing definitions as well. Marketing is reinventing itself in this digital era. Time for an analysis! Time for 10 trends, 10 new models and 10 must-read books.

Luckily I could fall back on the knowledge and experience of the NIMA Awards finalists @ilonadebok and @bentevanderark of, @susanneferguson of Albert Heijn, @stekel of the NOS and John Post,  CTO of  IBM as keynote speaker. Susanne Ferguson – the winner of the NIMA award in the category digital marketing – provided me with good general definition of marketing, that should simply also apply to digital marketing: ‘Marketing is attracting or holding on to customers by offering them something of value for which they want to pay’ (Susanne Ferguson). The focus of this definition is on the activity of attracting or holding on to and the way this is done, i.e. the offering of a product, service or value.

In my opinion this definition makes sense, but something is still missing. The Dutch version of  Wikipedia did not give solace, it does not contain a definition of digital marketing. The international only emphasized the promotion via digital channels. Furthermore, even offered 35 different marketing types, of which many could be typified as digital. Reviewing all this, I therefore suggest the following definition: “Digital marketing is the targeted or target-searching attracting, fascinating and influencing of customers and stakeholders by offering them value. The customers or stakeholders pay in trust, commitment, action or money.”

10 trends

Six years ago (2004) the Dutch Socio-cultural Planning Agency (SCP) defined 5 important social trends as an underlying explanation for the changing behaviour of people and organizations. These 5 trends are: Individualization, Computerization, Internationalization, Informalization en Intensification (experience). These trends lead to what I consider to be the 10 most important trends that are important for digital marketing:

  1. New needs and their realization: Software as a Service (SaaS; ‘Appie’).
  2. Constantly growing transparency and justification: inside = outside, open and transparent (WikiLeaks), consumer generated content, CSR, image = identity, authenticity and real-time monitoring.
  3. Constantly growing (possibilities for) collectivity: shared ownership (, creating communities (Nike+) and user groups (Adobe).
  4. Other forms of influencing: recommendations, Word-of-Mouth (WOM; Old Spice; ‘Grappies van Appie‘), ambassadors and seeding.
  5. New forms of organizing and organizations: The New World of Work (HNW) and co-creation (Pickwick and Zwitsal).
  6. Other ways of decision making: peer reviews, democratization (‘Help’ by Youp), monitoring and web-care and reputation management (Kitkat).
  7. New forms of coverage (new forms of target groups that can be reached through new ways): long tail, niches (regarding need or coverage), social media, SEO, cross-media marketing (, buzzing, fans (coca-cola), seeding and blogging.
  8. New variables as a result of network enhancement (speed and numbers): viral (Tip-ex), exponentially increasing coverage, guerrilla, wildfire, for free culture, abundance and open source.
  9. New business models and ways of creating money or value: multi-sided (Google, i-Tunes), freemium (Skype), longtail (eBay), debundled (Amazon) and new combinations (
  10. New forms of computing: cloud intelligence, profiling, LBS (KLM and Foursquare) and the ‘web of things’.

* ‘the speed of light is only surpassed by the speed of a rumour’


10 models

Marketers are masters at drawing up lists of pros and cons and at providing credible blueprints. The attached presentation contains 10 marketing models and their evolution.

  1. Mass marketing → The Long Tail
  2. Traditional marketing funnel → the new funnel (the new marketing funnel)
  3. Traditional funnel → viral funnel
  4. Segmentation → Multi Level Marketing (MLM)
  5. Brand activation → Conversation (Conversation manager)
  6. Identity versus image → The learning organization (Social media spiral)
  7. Traditional business models → Dynamic modelling (Business Model Generation)
  8. Pyramidally channelled thinking→ Holistic and integral (el Hexagon)
  9. Separate models → Merged, multidimensional models (IBM Global Technology Outlook 2010)
  10. Hyper consumption → Collaborate consumption (The Big Shift)

10 must-read books

  1. ‘The Long Tail’ (Chris Anderson; info)
  2. ‘All Marketers are liars’ and ‘Tribes’(Seth Godin; info)
  3. ‘Always on: Language in an online and mobile world’ (Naomi S. Baron; info)
  4. ‘What’s mine is yours’ (Rachel Botsman & Roo Rogers; info)
  5. ‘Engage’ (Brian Solis; info)
  6. ‘Basic book cross media concepting’ (Indira Reynaert and Daphne Dijkerman; info)
  7. ‘Conversation manager’ (Steven van Belleghem; info)
  8. ‘Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers’ (info)
  9. ‘The Social Media Bible’ (Lon Safko, David K. Brake & David K. Brake; info)
  10. ‘Are we spiritual machines’ (Raymond Kurzweil; info)

The Marketing Mix reinvented

From time immemorial the Marketing Mix consists of the 4 P’s: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. These 4 P’s are subject to all kind of changes within the digital marketing:

  • Product. In the digital marketing the physical product becomes increasingly more separated from the value for which people pay, sometimes the product itself is the place or the promotion, the value lies in the link.
  • Price. More and more Price becomes a means of communication or a means of promotion instead of a separate element of the Marketing Mix. The Price inspires confidence or a good feeling. And the Price changes if it is bought together: ‘shared buying’. Influenced by price comparison sites and the resulting transparency, the Price instrument should at least be used differently.
  • Place. Place no longer seems to be of importance in digital marketing, because the web usually is place independent. How true this may be, it is also not true. Place in the sense of ‘convenience’ definitely is a motivation for action or purchase for people. And place as a geographical location also results in a ‘sense of belonging’ in the global village, namely: ‘I want to buy locally’.
  • Promotion. To an increasing extent promotion in digital marketing serves more as the stimulation of the conversation and the positioning of certain matters top-of-mind or the deliberate motivation to do business, than just informing people. In the process of deliberate motivation continuity and reputation play an important role.

These processes put a lot of pressure on the 4 P’s, and so by now many new P’s have seen the light, such as People, Process and Physical evidence. But still the P’s remain a straitjacket for many marketers. Therefore, instead of the 4 P’s Wehkamp came up with 5 C’s: Content, Convenience, Community, Contact, Connectivity. A categorization that closely resembles the 4C’s of communities: Content, Context, Connectivity and Continuity. Nowadays, in digital marketing, communities and marketing seem to be related to each other much more than in the past. In my opinion the Digital Marketing Mix should therefore be the following:

  • Promotion = CONTACT & CONTINUITY

Four levels of Digital marketing

Without saying digital marketing not only has an impact on the 4 P’s, it has an impact on the entire organization, its core business and the structure in which it has been organized. Indeed, in this modern time marketing (and communication) is a driving force for the process of developing and adapting to the changing context. Digital marketing results in the learning and living organization. Below I distinguish 4 levels of marketing, that are all equally important, but that still have been organized ranging from conditional to ambition:

  • Extension of channels and cross-medial use, extension of traditional marketing: better, bigger, more focused, more effective, etc, coverage (promotion), real-time assessment (price), better experience, user interface, ease-of-use, more specific, location based or personalized (place) and the correct assortment, design via for example co-creation and monitoring and customer reviews and rating (product). has made this into an art form, thus, like clockwork, letting them have their busiest day of the year every year on the same day – the Monday before the Dutch Sinterklaas festivity -, as predicted Ilona de Bok (@ilonadebok) and Bente van der Ark (@bentevanderark) of on 18th November last. And guess what,  indeed on 29th November they had their most sales ever, 3,5 products per second! It is not for nothing that the law states: ‘Everything that could be better, should be better‘ (Volkskrant).
  • New services and integration with real life and business cases: providing new services, thus enabling customers more, faster, easier or better consumption, could grow sales increase and loyalty. Just as Apple redefined the market by introducing iTunes, Albert Heijn set the standards for retail services with the introduction of ‘Appie’. According to the jury report of the NIMA awards: “The Appie app sets the new standard for mobile service provision, but also for an integrated cross-channel approach of the retail customer. The user-friendliness and functionality of the app is unequalled. The deliberately planned deployment of this service in order to achieve word-of-mouth marketing, has been risky but turned out remarkably well. The jury specifically praises the tuning of the shop aisles to the shopping list in the Appie app: this is really integrated marketing!” And in the words of Susanne Ferguson (@susanneferguson) of Albert Heijn: “You will only have loyal customers if you win your way into their hearts by offering them real value.”
  • Reinventing your brand and service, but this time digitally: in the new worlds with all of their dynamics, new (technological) possibilities and different (group) needs, it could be necessary to radically change your entire core business, organization, brand and service provision. Digital marketing could be the catalyst. This has happened with the NOS. This public broadcasting network, whose right to exist is questioned and that has no financial security, still has managed to redirect a downward spiral into a lively brand with a doubling of its coverage during the last four years: “The NOS has removed all loose formats (and websites) and now operates based on a brand and a value: to be in top position everywhere in the fields of news, sport and events. Now you can see the red ‘O’ in all our coverages instead of myriad of individual program names”, says Roeland Stekelenburg (@stekel) of the NOS. Instead of considering TV-programs and formats to be the product, the actual product consists of content and channel. A new definition and so also this product and subsequently the core business have been redefined and therefore also the organization. It is no longer the TV-programs, but multi-medial ingredients that are being broadcasted via the appropriate channels, dependent on the context. This is also the new way of creating a business model: ‘To take existing components and assemble them in interesting and important ways to create value.’ (Wouter Gort)
  • Reinventing humanity: a still more futuristic step is the redefinition of society or even humanity itself, as has been written by Raymond Kurzweil. Futurologists such as Kevin Warwick state: “Communication is so old-fashioned: Highly complex biochemical processes are converted into serial mechanical (simple) pressure waves. Let’s enhance!” and John Post, CTO of IBM, indicates that the future of marketing in a digital era is determined by the merging and multi-dimensional directing of the trinity consisting of human or behavioural models, the physical but ‘intelligent’ world and new business models. The digital marketer is the director of this trinity.


The Marketing profession is reinvented as a result of all new digital developments and trends. Digital Marketing is Marketing 2.0! Now we only need NIMA 2.0. Marketers not only strongly peddle the right product via the right channels. The can also help organizations to reinvent themselves again. And even humanity! Could they really…?


  • Interview with Ilona de Bok and Bente van der Ark, respectively marketer online and offline PR and marketer at
  • Interview with John Post, CTO van IBM
  • Interview with Roeland Stekelenburg, Innovation manager at NOS
  • Interview with Susanne Ferguson,  manager concept-development Albert Heijn and responsible for ‘Appie’
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Martijn Arts

Managing director, Total Active Media
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