One way marketers can reach out to consumers, and understand their thought process is through what is called an empathy map. An empathy map is a four step process. The first step is through asking questions that the consumer would be thinking in their demographic. The second step is to describe the feelings that the consumer may be having. The third step is to think about what the consumer would say in their situation. The final step is to imagine what the consumer will try to do based on the other three steps. This map is so marketing teams can put themselves in their target demographics shoes.[69] Web Analytics are also a very important way to understand consumers. They show the habits that people have online for each website.[70] One particular form of these analytics is predictive analytics which helps marketers figure out what route consumers are on. This uses the information gathered from other analytics, and then creates different predictions of what people will do so that companies can strategize on what to do next, according to the peoples trends.[71]
Search engines are expanding – When someone mentions search engines, do you automatically assume they’re talking about Google? The tech giant has such a big share of the market that 'Googling' has become a verb. However, a significant portion of searches takes place on alternative sites, such as Microsoft’s Bing. Make a point to search for your site on Google alternatives to see where you rank. Just improving social media engagement and adding meta tags might be all it takes to boost you a couple ranks on Bing.

To begin with, you will have to start liking data, analytics, statistics, and other similar technicalities. As a digital marketer, even though you will not be creating websites from scratch, you most certainly will be communicating commands to others on a regular basis. These commands will consist of your specific requirements coupled with some basic technology needs. 
Brand24 - Brand24 is simple online monitoring application. Use Brand24 to identify and analyze online conversations about their brands, products, and competitors. Brand24 provides a reliable, easy to use, and affordable solution that allows you to both track and engage online conversations relevant to your business. They also offer an influencer score insight to help you identify people with the most social influence. 
Ever heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs? It's a theory of psychology that prioritizes the most fundamental human needs (like air, water, and physical safety) over more advanced needs (like esteem and social belonging). The theory is that you can't achieve the needs at the top without ensuring the more fundamental needs are met first. Love doesn't matter if you don't have food.
Search engine marketing - Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. SEM may incorporate Search engine optimization, which adjusts or rewrites website content and site architecture to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages to enhance pay per click (PPC) listings.
With offline marketing, it's very difficult to tell how people are interacting with your brand before they have an interaction with a salesperson or make a purchase. With digital marketing, you can identify trends and patterns in people's behavior before they've reached the final stage in their buyer's journey, meaning you can make more informed decisions about how to attract them to your website right at the top of the marketing funnel.

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The Nielsen Global Connected Commerce Survey conducted interviews in 26 countries to observe how consumers are using the Internet to make shopping decisions in stores and online. Online shoppers are increasingly looking to purchase internationally, with over 50% in the study who purchased online in the last six months stating they bought from an overseas retailer.[25]

Content research and curation are often the most difficult and tedious processes of content marketing, and Frase—although it’s a relatively new tool— has assisted me so much in these processes. With Frase, I can focus on actually creating the best possible content that is better than my competitors instead of spending my energy on the research process.
Video advertising - This type of advertising in terms of digital/online means are advertisements that play on online videos e.g. YouTube videos. This type of marketing has seen an increase in popularity over time.[51] Online Video Advertising usually consists of three types: Pre-Roll advertisements which play before the video is watched, Mid-Roll advertisements which play during the video, or Post-Roll advertisements which play after the video is watched.[52] Post-roll advertisements were shown to have better brand recognition in relation to the other types, where-as "ad-context congruity/incongruity plays an important role in reinforcing ad memorability".[51] Due to selective attention from viewers, there is the likelihood that the message may not be received.[53] The main advantage of video advertising is that it disrupts the viewing experience of the video and therefore there is a difficulty in attempting to avoid them. How a consumer interacts with online video advertising can come down to three stages: Pre attention, attention, and behavioural decision.[54] These online advertisements give the brand/business options and choices. These consist of length, position, adjacent video content which all directly affect the effectiveness of the produced advertisement time,[51] therefore manipulating these variables will yield different results. Length of the advertisement has shown to affect memorability where-as longer duration resulted in increased brand recognition.[51] This type of advertising, due to its nature of interruption of the viewer, it is likely that the consumer may feel as if their experience is being interrupted or invaded, creating negative perception of the brand.[51] These advertisements are also available to be shared by the viewers, adding to the attractiveness of this platform. Sharing these videos can be equated to the online version of word by mouth marketing, extending number of people reached.[55] Sharing videos creates six different outcomes: these being "pleasure, affection, inclusion, escape, relaxation, and control".[51] As well, videos that have entertainment value are more likely to be shared, yet pleasure is the strongest motivator to pass videos on. Creating a ‘viral’ trend from mass amount of a brands advertisement can maximize the outcome of an online video advert whether it be positive or a negative outcome.
Coursera offers MOOCs (massive online open courses) created and taught online by universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California system. These courses start at various times throughout the year, so browse the catalog to see when one lines up with your schedule. Below are a couple courses that are perfect for content marketers -- here's what a module for #4 looks like:
As for what should your sandbox be, you have a few options. The easiest is to start a blog. That’s what this site was started as: a sandbox for learning content marketing, and it only became my full-time job on accident. A blog is a perfect sandbox for learning digital marketing since you can test almost all of the tactics on it, it’s low-cost, and you’ll improve your writing in the process.
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