This common digital marketing mistake. Are you making it?

4 years ago by Arek Estall

The first 18 months of running a marketing agency has been really interesting. After nearly 10 yeards of client-side marketing experience and a CIM postgrad in marketing, stepping away from that has been really enlightening - interesting - and invigorating as a marketer. 

Over time of running a digital-focused marketing agency, I came to realize that there was one thing often missing from client' digital strategies. It's an issue that we see again and again. 

Could your digital strategy be suffering the same fate? 


But digital marketing is just marketing right?

There has been a rallying cry and general consensus in marketing circles of late - "digital marketing is just marketing!"

The argument - and it's a good one - is that digital activities are so intrinsically important to marketing strategy that they can't be separated. 

But if studies which suggest that fewer than 50% of marketers are confident in their digital skills, and over 90% of companies lack digital skills are true, then maybe there's more to it than just that. This gap in digital skills needs to be plugged somehow. 

Rather than accepting "digital marketing is just marketing", perhaps we should turn that argument on its head. 

Could the problem be that much of digital marketing isn't "marketing" enough?


Missing the big picture?

A lot of companies are digitally immersed now to at least some level - either they have digital in-house, or outsource their PPC, SEO, social, content, website, etc. 

And a lot of the time they manage agencies or in-house digital functions on KPIs such as enquiries, traffic or awareness. 

But that can mean missing the link to the overall business strategy, marketing strategy and messages. The marketing basics!

The problem with not linking digital to the big marketing picture - is digital communications become off-point and disjointed. How can you ad copy work, if your agency or in-house team hasn't thought about your value proposition and messaging first?

We work hard on linking our work to the overall business goal, and we now build brand, messaging and value workshops into the digital marketing process. Most digital agencies either don't take that into account, or even when directed aren't positioned to understand that. 

Or if you have an in-house team the same can be true. They need marketing leadership and close collaboration to keep things consistent. Even the biggest, best resourced companies face this challenge. Not wanting to step on specialists in-house members' toes isn't a good enough excuse for inconsistent communications. 


3 things to consider: 

1. Marketing leadership. For starters you need a marketing leader. Whether that's internally, an external resources like us, or your straight up traditional marketing agency, you should keep the lines of control over strategy clear. This person needs to be strong with what is to be achieved and ready to manage everyone who is putting external facing communications.

2. Communicate with your team. Make sure your digital agency or in-house team understands your business and marketing goals. If they talk about your digital strategy separately - not considering your marketing communications goals - that should ring alarm bells. This need to be addressed. 

3. Invest sensibly. Be prepared to invest - time and money. If you want a joined up approach you need to invest your own time in managing your agencies or in-house team. Trying to squeeze big outputs out of limited resources won't be the best approach. 

What are your thoughts on achieving a joined-together marketing and digital strategy? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 


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