Discover an expansive new paradigm for the Digital Marketing universe!
This holistic and innovative framework focuses on tangible skill building to not only increase your digital IQ, but also allow you to assess your personal aptitude for integrated marketing in the areas of strategy, execution, budgeting, analysis and more.
Whatever your skill level, 7 Pillars allows users to quickly gain in-depth and actionable understanding of advanced marketing principles, tactics, and techniques through some of the following examples:
Books and eBooks
The 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing: A Comprehensive Marketing System (Print Edition and Kindle Edition)
The 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing Certification
This book introduces a complete, proven system for how to best find your place and thrive within the wide world of digital marketing. It is a hands-on guide that provides informative questions and valuable tools along the way.
Each section and element, while part of a bigger system, can be learned on a standalone basis. While you can easily jump around, going straight to the areas which you are most interested in first, I recommend that you read through the introduction pages and eventually touch on all elements of the program (i.e. all 7 Pillars, 7 Modes, 7 Angles, etc.) as this will give you a big picture comprehension of the marketing world. While reading different sections you can choose whatever path feels right, whether it is grasping ideas only or implementing an actual marketing campaign.
Want to expand your marketing knowledge base? Come join Arman Rousta, Blueliner CEO and Author of the 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing handbook, for this online certification course on his proprietary and proven methodology for the planning, execution and evaluation of digital and traditional marketing projects! This 15-year approach was developed by industry experts at Blueliner Marketing, and has grow service businesses, like Ajustco LLC, to new heights. It can be implemented by even non-technical business owners. You’ll be an expert marketer in no time!
The 7 Core Principles
The 7 Dimensions of Digital Marketing
TIME MASTERY: Proactive time management, self-knowledge, awareness, and respect for time – one’s own and others – is a cornerstone of 7 Pillars. A smart marketer (a) recognizes that momentum and inspiration are impacting variables to productivity, and (b) understands how to maximize a team’s’ time by matching skill levels to priority projects and tasks.
GOAL-DRIVEN: Productive and happy marketers are goal-oriented. Financial accountability is key but other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as social impact,
are also important. Therefore, every undertaking ought to begin and end with evaluating goals in mind. As the great Albert Einstein said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.”
HOLISTIC: 7 Pillars is holistic on both marketing and global levels (2+2=5); seeking value creation and synergies Pillars. Financial accountability is key but other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as social impact, are also important. Therefore, every undertaking ought to begin and end with evaluating goals in mind. As the great Albert Einstein said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.”
INNOVATION DRIVEN: Innovators win. Copy cats are just playing catch- up. 7 Pillars is about re-inventing and pushing the boundaries on best practices, which are changing faster than ever. You must try new things and evaluate problems from multiple angles in order to stay sharp and keep your problem-solving faculties fresh.
BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE BASED: When in doubt, analyze and optimize everything. You can always learn something new by revisiting things with a clear mind and a fresh set of eyes. Business intelligence goes beyond looking at numbers, it is about generating valuable insights and actionable recommendations from trends and data.
ORGANIC & AGILE WORKFLOW: This system encourages adaptive adjustments. Karate great and teacher Bruce Lee said “Be like water, always flexible.” High performers are focused but not fixated. They accommodate variations in work styles (Structure vs. Flexibility; Right vs. Left Brain synergy). Agile Project Management is the most effective way to tackle complex projects, which often have both evolving requirements and moving targets.
ACTIVE KNOWLEDGE SHARING: I believe in the principles of crowdsourcing, open source and anti-fiefdom, all of which are open, collaborative systems. In today’s world, the speed of change is faster than ever. Yesterday’s knowledge is dead while tomorrow’s is alive and kicking. The more we can bring together the collective consciousness of the more than 7 billion brains on the planet, the better off we will all be.
There are 7 Dimensions within the 7 Pillars system, which act as a master filtration model within which we may organize our marketing knowledge and practices. Whether we are aware of it or not, at any given moment of our work life, we exist in one or more particular locations within each Dimension. Understanding this model improves our awareness and performance at our current position.
Dimension 1: An Introduction to the 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing
The 7 Pillars (D1) encapsulate the whole Internet Universe, distilling it down into these vital categories that literally sustain “digital life.” The Pillars (see list to the right) are broad and all-encompassing, and have within them, many levels of sub-specialties, marketing tactics, associated technology platforms and strategies. The purpose of this book is to give a high-level overview of this Universe and will not provide a great level of detail. However, more detail is provided on the website/additional training materials.
Dimension 2: The 7 Modes of Marketing
Dimension 3: An Introduction to Angles
The 7 Modes (or Stages) of Marketing or Integrated Marketing represent the 2nd Dimension of the 7 Pillars System. The Modes apply to almost any consulting process or project, and certainly to all of Marketing, both digital and traditional. The Stages can still be referenced when it serves the purpose of a linear project progression, which is possible in very structured operations. The term “Modes” makes more sense as the official designation because “Stages” can (and often do) overlap, take place out of sequential order and be fairly continuous throughout projects.
The Modes are vital in the overall marketing process as each Mode is relevant to every Pillar. The Modes exist outside the Pillars and then intersect them, creating a 2-Dimensional grid called the 49er Matrix. The iconic 49er Matrix is one of the most visually intuitive and strategically effective tools that the 7 Pillars framework offers.
Dimension 4: An Introduction to Levels
Envision a large Pyramid laying on top of the 49er Matrix grid, the pinnacles of which represents the culmination of digital marketing knowledge. The Angles represent the sides or ways up the Pyramids. Individuals choose to ascend the Pyramid (developing their skills) up one of the main sides or one of the corners.
There are three Flat Angles which correspond to the four main sides of the Pyramid; and four Sharp Angles, which correspond to the four corners of the Pyramid. The Flats have more specificity to marketing, broader career opportunities, generally more tasks and are more conductive to a broader group of people. Meanwhile, the Sharps are critical components with more specialized skill sets that help to shape and organize the Pillars, and consequently, the Universe of Marketing.
Dimension 5: An Introduction to Markets
Your career – in business and marketing – is analogous to the journey that aspiring Samurai warriors embark upon as they seek personal truth and mastery of their craft. True progress is not easy. It is elusive, which represent the Levels are symbolized by Pyramids (or Temples), which represent the uphill battle required to raise oneself up. Only the most skillful and perseverant digital martial artist ascends to the top and achieves the vaunted Blue Samurai status.
Just like in the karate dojo, marketing practitioners progress in ability through the years, hopefully under the direction of one or more strong teachers, managers, mentors or role models. Everything moves faster in the Digital Age, including the skill levels of ambitious and hard-working Samurais. 7 Pillars breaks everything down into 7 Levels of skill (of the individual) and corresponding difficulty (of the task). For example, a Level 2 SEO marketer should be able to manage Level 1 and Level 2 SEO tasks without a problem. However, Level 3 tasks might present some challenges for this individual.
Levels apply to each Pillar, Mode and all Dimensions in fact, calling for the evaluation of team and campaigns, as well as individuals. This can be done quite effectively by using the 49er Matrix app or template.
Markets (D5) includes the vast field of the segmentation and targeting of various audiences amidst the global marketplace (i.e. essentially the 7+ billion people that we currently have on Planet Earth). Unless you are Coca-Cola, you cannot target the whole world. From 7 billion individuals, companies hone in on their target markets by three general methods: 1) Geography or Location, 2) Demographics or Consumer Profiles, and 3) Psychographics or Customer Lifestyle & Behavior. Effective audience segmentation leads to better personalization and a more satisfying user experience with brands.
Dimension 6: An Introduction to Industries
Dimension 7: An Introduction to Time – Eras of Marketing
Great marketing transcends industry-specific nuances. If you are a strong media buyer or copywriter in Healthcare for example, you should be able to port that skill set over to a Financial Services account. 7 Pillars best practices are generally agnostic and hold their value across the board. That being said, there are particulars including terminology, tone, trends, regulations and a power structure (i.e. politics), within each industry that take time to get in sync with. The failure to study and comply with this domain knowledge can be detrimental to a company and its marketing.
The number of Industries (D6) can range from 30 to over 100, depending on whose list you use and how granular you get. Most top level industries have five or more sub-sectors; so the filtration and associated potential for specialization goes very deep. As it relates to marketers, we must strike a balance between finding our niche industries that inspire us and maintaining perspective on big picture, transcendental marketing principles. For my agency – Blueliner – we have serviced clients in almost every industry since 2001. My philosophy has been to remain agnostic, in general, while building our teams around several core industries where we have had the most success (i.e. Travel & Tourism, Healthcare, Startups).
In simplest terms, D7 (Time) can be broken down into Past, Present and Future. It’s easy to forget that today’s most indispensable tools didn’t exist until fairly recently. Before 2010, most people didn’t have smartphones and mobile apps. The Internet itself is less than 25 years old! Every 5 years is like an entirely new Era, with new players, rules and requisite survival skills. Change is constant and the pace of it is ever-increasing. As marketers, D7 helps us organize our goals, teams, campaigns and knowledge base around specific periods of time, be it quarterly, annually or multi-yearly. You also need to know how long things take to get done – which brings back CP1 – Time Mastery and self-knowledge. In producing business plans, timelines are paramount – covering the Past (Company & Management History), Present (Current Ideas & Status), and Future (Capital Needs & Goals).
What is Integrated Marketing?
The 49er Matrix: How Do The Modes and Pillars Interact?
Like any true holistic approach, we do not simply draw a line in the sand and say “everything on this side is digital and the other side is traditional.” This is a classic mistake that some agencies and executives make, leading to inefficiencies, unnecessary competition between factions and frequent restructuring of marketing departments. While sensible divisions can be made, it’s necessary to put more emphasis on the numerous connection points – on Integrated Marketing – which if strategized effectively, can bring about unexpected benefits and marketing success to companies.
At one point, there was a time where digital marketing had to prove itself worthy of getting a piece of the marketing budget. However, in today’s marketing world everything is integrated into digital. With that being said, the pendulum has unfortunately now swung too far in the opposite direction. Too many practitioners have declared traditional media “dead” and aren’t paying attention to some very important facets of marketing that are fundamentally traditional in origin and nature.
Once you’ve mastered the pillars and modes you’re ready to delve into how they intersect along the digital marketing continuum. We will explore various ways in which they interact and why it is crucial to consider these interactions to improve your marketing strategy and execution.
An Introduction to the 7 Pillars of Traditional Marketing
Which Marketing Personality Type Are You?
It is very important to consider offline or Traditional Marketing (TM) theory and tactics as part of the overall 7 Pillars framework. Therein lie the roots of the Marketing field.
Comprehending Traditional Marketing requires a sense for the history of Marketing. Marketing Communications as an industry has gone through a number of Eras (see chapter discussion on Dimension 7). Marketing has been around in some form or an- other since essentially the beginning of time. The term – “Communications” – started as far back as the ancient Egyptians, who used hieroglyphic symbols to tell stories and record important data. Ever since human beings could speak, they gathered to hear clan leaders discuss new ideas or traveling merchants pitch their products. Town bazaars and the old Silk Road of the Middle East and Asia reflect the oldest forms of Traditional Pillars 5 (Sales) and 6 (Events).
Pillar 1: Content
“Know Thyself”. One of the keys to success in life, and for one to achieve happiness, is knowing who you are. The same goes for your marketing career. The Marketing Personality Types (MPTs) represent a subset of Mode 4 (People). From over twenty years of working with all types of characters, I have distilled the archetypes down to, you guessed it, 7 distinct MPTs.
Everyone has some percentage of all 7 qualities in varying degrees. It is critical to have a general sense for what areas you (and your collaborators) are strongest in and most aligned with. This is analogues to our Astrological makeup, whereby we have different degrees of all the planets and horoscope signs operating through us. There are also different levels of each quality. For example, an L1 (White Belt) Farmer (one of the MPTs) can be a top notch Administrative Assistant, keeping things in order; whereas, an L7 (Blue Belt) Farmer can be a great CEO or General Manager of a big group of people.
Pillar 2: Design
Traditional or Digital Marketing alike, content is still (and always has been) King! Content is the lifeblood of all marketing, which is particularly apparent online. After all, the entire web is comprised of searchable content. If it weren’t for content, Search Engines would be non-existent, as would Social Networks.
Content is a prominent Pillar and works through the other Pillars in a more interdependent manner than any other. Content covers all forms of copywriting, including website, blog, social media and online ad copy. Photography (both stock and original) is also an important form of content for website properties and video assets for digital usage. So we have 1) Text, 2) Audio, 3) Video and 4) Graphical forms of Content.
This Pillar covers all aspects of digital UX, including Web Development, App Development, Web Design and even Web Hosting & Maintenance. Every element on every page of a website calls for well thought-out UX, including creative assets, like banner ads, forms, calls to action and header graphics. Heavy interaction with other Pillars is shown here, as these marketing assets take direction from Design’s par- allel Traditional Pillar 2 (Branding) and utilize Pillar 1 (Content).
Pillar 3: Search
Search highlights a quantum leap that the Internet has enabled marketers and people in general to enjoy. Thanks to the power of this mighty Pillar, finding what one seeks and much more has never been so effortless. Mastery of Search has yielded billions of dollars in revenue for many entrepreneurs and online companies. Meanwhile, our collective dependency on “The Search Gods” (a.k.a. Google) has everyone scrambling to crack the code, spawning new industries, namely Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Pillar 4: Media
Pillar 4 comprises all forms of Online Advertising, essentially any paid media placement including banner ads, PPC ads (Pay Per Click), endorsements, sponsored emails and Social Media advertising. This Pillar’s core concept of paid media is present in various forms across several other Pillars (i.e. Social, CRM, Search etc.) again highlighting the interconnectedness of this system.
Pillar 5: CRM
Customer Relationship Management (CRM), in the context of the 7 Pillars model, refers to all forms of customer or lead interaction and the associated tools that organizations use to manage their contact data. Segmenting user databases by various demographics and characteristics is a core CRM function. Email Marketing, to either prospective or existing customers, is another key CRM tactic. As of late, there is a big trend towards Marketing Automation and Lead Nurturing, both of which fall under the Pillar of CRM. CRM is a very close cousin of its Traditional Marketing counterpart, Sales. Customer Service is also an aspect of CRM and one that is often undervalued.
Pillar 6: Social
Pillar 6 includes all forms of organic Social Media activity. This includes communications within all social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat and the plethora of others), relationship building with prospective customers and industry influencers, as well as content distribution. Online PR, an extension of Traditional PR, falls under Pillar 6 as well since it is a form of Social Media, in a sense.
Pillar 7: Mobile
In 7 Pillars, Mobile covers everything from mobile apps to mobile websites and mobile advertising. It is almost big enough to require its own distinct category from the whole of Digital Marketing. More so than any other Pillar, Mobile is in the center and all other Pillars can be viewed through this lens.
Applying the 49er Matrix (7x7) to Your Business
The 49er Matrix can be thought of as a 7-Dimensional Chessboard, upon which we play out the strategic game of Marketing. It is a multi-purpose visualization tool that provides a map of the Digital Marketing universe. The first two dimensions (7 Pillars x 7 Modes) generate 49 blocks or marketing elements, which marketers and executives should account for.
The 49er Matrix provides an effective structure for the organization of marketing knowledge. It has many practical uses, particularly as a template for Marketing Audits and Plans for individuals, companies, agencies, campaigns, projects, websites and products.
- Leveraging 7 Pillars Methodology to Increase Organizational Effectiveness
- (M2) Building an ROI Driven Marketing Plan
- (P4-M5) IP Targeting and Buyer Intent Network
- (P2-M7) UX Analytics and Conversion Rates
- (P3-M7) SEO Competitor Analysis
Mobile and Desktop Application
The 7 Pillars Mobile and Desktop Applications