Wow, did I just say that? Yep, I think I did and I would guess hearing those words from a digital marketing expert (humble brag) would seem a bit odd even confusing, however I mean it 100%, You absolutely do not need a digital marketing strategy in 2016!
Let me tell you, I love digital marketing, it’s my passion and every day I get to work in this field is a blessing. I’ve spent many years obsessing over search engines and how they work and as the owner of an agency that provides digital marketing services I can assure you that marketing your business online is critical to your long term success, and that brings me to my point, that is you absolutely need digital marketing, but like the title says it’s a “digital marketing strategy” that you do not need and in fact if you have one you are as they used to say in my uncle’s car dealership “on a one way trip to Cleveland” I’m still not sure what they meant but it always sounded like a bad thing. Anyway I digress.
Search marketing has evolved many times since that Y2K bug was going to wipe us all out and DVD’s were finally telling VHS to take a back seat. The biggest evolution to occur since then was the emergence of “Causality”. Meaning quite simply for the first time ever if one strategy was not executed and maintained, it could have a negative effect on another strategy and so on. This monumental shift in the way search engines looked at you altered the digital marketing landscape like a runaway glacier.
A Business Strategy for a Digital World!
So 2016 is well underway and everything you do in digital marketing has a huge impact on your online successes. With that said there is another huge shift happening right now and flies under the radar because it actually isn’t within the digital marketing eco-system at all, no this big boy is about what the digital marketing eco-system connects too and this is where giant mistakes are happening now.
Traditionally, advertising and digital marketing had been different functions that each had their own departments. Today, however, more companies are combining these departments. A digital marketing strategy can be perfect but disconnecting it from your overall business marketing, messaging, branding etc. is like those five lion robots running around but never coming together to form Voltron (just had a nerdgasm). And on the flip side thinking that traditional advertising is dead is a big mistake and if you think it is just look at Pepsi losing a ton of money by dropping to third in terms of market share when the company moved its ad spend from television to social media. In fact, even calling it traditional marketing is not accurate as it’s all still marketing and advertising. We as digital marketers like to think of ourselves as new and hip but the truth is that the Internet is just a new set of communications channels over which marketing is executed. “Digital marketing” is really just doing direct marketing via what we call the Internet.
So what does this mean, well for starters it means Netflix is bringing back Voltron in 2016, but is also means no longer can your digital marketing strategy be down the hall from your overall business objectives, you must develop a cohesive business strategy that works in a digital world.
By creating an overall business strategy and not a separate digital or traditional one your planning becomes cohesive and your data jumps out of the vacuum and begins to paint pictures that weren’t there before. It’s important to remember that no marketing strategy is always best for every purpose. Sometimes TV advertising should be a part of the promotional mix; sometimes not. Sometimes content marketing is more appropriate; sometimes not, it’s all about knowing if your audience can be best reached online or offline and setting up shop where they lie.
So now more than ever it is imperative that your business ensures that all messages are consistent among all audiences and channels. The reason it’s important to understand this concept is that, as Google’s algorithm becomes smarter and thinks more and more like a human, it’s becoming imperative to think more about building a brand over the long term. To truly do well with digital marketing a business must start thinking about marketing as one entity.
Having a business strategy that is built for a digital world is how you set your business up for marketing success in 2016 and beyond and anyone telling you different is selling something or has never seen Voltron before and either way you shouldn’t trust them.