In an internet age that is already filled with acronyms (LOL, OMG, BTW, to name a few commonly used ones in our online communications), digital marketing has introduced its own alphabet soup of acronyms.
SEO, SEM, SMM, SERPs, the list goes on. It is too easy to get caught up in these new developments when it comes to online engagement for businesses and brands. Before you jump onto any of the bandwagons, we recommend doing your own research and due diligence.
The development of these new fields in digital marketing has led to the rise of specialists and experts in each area. Under usual circumstances, the employment of an expert to deliver results in his field of knowledge can only be a good thing. However, when it comes to the alphabet soup of digital marketing, there is a downside to employing “ad hoc” services from a specialist in one specific field.
What is the downside of “ad hoc” services?
Here’s the main concern: a lack of vision of the overall picture.
If you or someone on your staff has sufficient overall knowledge about the different aspects of digital marketing, this might not be a big issue for you. When you have a working knowledge of the various parts, you can hold the reins when it comes to the vision for your entire digital marketing strategy.
Let’s say that you have a marketing manager that has working knowledge of the various aspects of digital marketing. In this case, outsourcing the execution of certain strategies to freelancers or specialist agencies could be a good investment.
The situation becomes fraught when you enter the fray with zero working knowledge of digital marketing. Specialists in each field can easily overwhelm you with jargon and convince you that you need their services. Your website copy and design needs to be optimized! You should invest in search engine marketing in order to get a leg up against competitors! You don’t have a social media presence and are losing out on a vast audience of potential customers!
The problems also usually occur when you are fully leaning on these experts, and inadvertently lean too much in one direction or on one strategy without thinking about the overall picture. And with your lack of knowledge, you are unable to course-correct.
What happens then?
Don’t get us wrong: in an ideal situation, you should have search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and social media marketing. But more importantly, you need a holistic strategy for marketing communications in the digital sphere.
Let us put it this way: taking on digital marketing services on an “ad hoc” basis is akin to going the supermarket and just pulling random items off the shelves. You have no recipe in mind, no idea of what meal you hope to make once you get home. You’re just thinking, “Oh, this sounds good, let’s try it.”
Hiring experts who specialize in only one field carries much of the same risk. Their services are merely off-the-shelf and are likely not to be integrated with other marketing efforts in your business. They don’t provide a “recipe”; all they can offer are the ingredients that they can then put together in a way that makes the most sense for people in their field.
Such a scattered approach means that you bleed money and time, and you may not even get the results you wanted anyway.
Let’s break it down:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves website optimization tactics that aim to drive more traffic to your website. With the changes in Google’s algorithms, a lot of SEO tactics have lost their effectiveness.
Search Engine Marketing (SMM) aims to make it easier for users to find your website through the use of paid advertising on search engine results pages (SERPs). The use of paid advertising may not yield the best conversion rate.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) leverages on social media activity to attract attention to your business or brand. With social media campaigns, it is difficult to measure the return on investment and the effort expended may not be worth the results.
Each of the above has its own role to play and should work in synergy in order to help you achieve your marketing goals. And how can you get synergy? Through having a holistic strategy for marketing communications for your business or brand.
What do we mean by having a “holistic strategy for marketing communications”?
At the end of the day, we believe that the tenets that have served businesses well all these years will continue to play important roles. They may need to be tweaked or expanded to encapsulate the multi-channel, multi-media and content-saturated world that we have live in today, but they are still relevant.
In our view, a “holistic strategy for marketing communications” will ideally include public relations, marketing communications, and branding and marketing. SEO, SEM and SMM activities should be subsumed under this umbrella and integrate with traditional public relations and marketing efforts.
Why? Here is our stand: at the end of the day, the relationship between your business and your customer relies on the power of communication.
A holistic strategy for marketing communications will give you the birds’ eye view of all your marketing efforts, traditional and digital. This perspective is invaluable in letting you see how all the pieces fit together and how they interact in the best way to get your message out to your audience.
So, we implore you: resist the lure of “ad hoc” digital marketing services! Instead, invest in an employee or a team who can help you navigate both the traditional and digital marketing communications sphere. Design a holistic strategy for marketing communications for your business or brand.
Integrating your efforts will go a long way in streamlining and optimizing your communications with your customers. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Ensuring that your customers receive the message that you intended them to receive, via the medium that was most accessible for them.