When Gartner released its intimidatingly beautiful Digital Marketing Transit Map to the digital public a month or so ago, I imagine many jaws dropped at its complex, but thorough analysis of the digital space as we know it.

Click to Enlarge!

Even Scott Brinker covered the transit map – describing it as, “pretty breathtaking in scope.”

Gartner’s Transit map does force us to ask a lot of questions about our own understanding of digital marketing. Apart from Gartner’s own marketing team, do marketers truly understand the way in which these trails weave in and out of each other?

I’m reminded of the traditional fundamentals of marketing when I think about how we interpret the digital marketing space today. If you’ve ever been in a Marketing 101 class, we’re all taught the 4 P’s: Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement. There’s the argument that a 5th P exists: People. Some even claim there are technically 7 P’s.


But where does digital marketing fit in to any of these?

Based on its definition, Promotion is where marketing via the Internet fits best. Promotion is described as “all of the methods of communication that a marketer may use to provide information to different parties about the product. Promotion comprises elements such as: advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion” according to Wikipedia.

Digital marketing, however, is a component of just about all of the 4 P’s. It works with Placement thanks to online storefronts. It also has to speak to Price at some point – prices online are usually significantly cheaper than prices in-store. Gartner’s Transit Map, in many respects, recognizes the fact that digital marketing fits into many different sections of traditional marketing (note the “Off-line Connections” in the map).

If you really study the map, however, you’ll notice that digital marketing breaks down into three main fundamentals:

  • Acquisition
  • Conversion
  • Analysis
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Every single track in digital marketing has to do with one of these three components. You are working to acquire visitors, convert them into either customers or brand advocates, and analyzing their behaviors and who they are. All of the fields mentioned along the tracks can fit underneath one of these components.

All three of these branches also work towards the greater marketing goal within your organization.

If your organization has a digital marketing effort that does not fit into any of these branches or does not help your organization get closer to its goals, cease that effort immediately!

We marketers love to follow the shiny object. Any time a new digital marketing tool comes out to play, we all flock to it and we flood it. But there’s a good chance we’re spending valuable resources on a technology that we don’t quite understand yet and that doesn’t exactly help us in the long-run.

Ask yourself if your digital marketing assets are helping you acquire, convert, and analyze. If yes to all, are they also helping you accomplish your business goals?

Asia Matos was the Director of Marketing at ARKE Systems where she oversaw all of the marketing channels and operations for the organization. In her role, Asia managed lead generation-focused content strategy, traffic acquisition, campaign execution, and event planning. She worked daily with content management systems like Sitecore and Wordpress, the analytics platforms of Google Analytics and the Sitecore Experience Platform, and contributed her extensive experience with email service providers like Silverpop and ClickDimensions. Asia was the editor and writer of ARKE’s blog MarketingTechnologyInsights.com. Asia is now the #FlipMyFunnel Demand Generation Manager for Terminus.