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Simple question, but I still see people getting this wrong. Marketing is primarily about communicating with your customers. It's the things that happen away from the website, such as on social media, with influencers, or in their inbox. While you may think an on-site pop up is "marketing," it really falls more squarely under Conversion Rate Optimization, as it's designed to capture information and close sales. Marketing is that top of funnel component that drives them to the site.
Obviously marketing tools are a necessity for every merchant. From tracking and engaging across the customer journey, all the way down to managing partners, affiliates, and influencers. You need the right tools to personalize and convince, as well as just straight keep in touch with your customers.
Every merchant needs at least an email marketing solution and I highly recommend some form of product catalog integration (for easy Facebook and Google retargeting at the minimum). After that, things get a bit more "optional," but I still consider SMS nearly mandatory. Live chat is highly valuable. And if you're a social brand, you may be looking for influencer or cause marketing opportunities as well. The possibilities are vast, but your time is limited, and the success of the tool is dependent on your ability to execute, so don't spread yourself thin. Fully execute on one marketing channel, one tool, then bring on the next. Or you'll find yourself failing at everything all at once.
Typically your head of marketing, marketing team, or just you as the founder. If you're an inexperienced marketer, consider bringing in an expert or consultant. If you're a great marketer, then you probably don't need to be reading this section right now. :-D And look, marketing sounds easy, but its the few brave companies that really stand out with an astonishing brand that have that skyrocketing success we are all looking for.
Marketing has many facets, but the main ones are Channel - Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. - Influencer marketing, Email Marketing, SMS Marketing, Messenger Marketing, Push Notifications, Content Marketing, and SEO. Some other things do fall under marketing as well, such as marketing analytics and retention marketing.