Digital by default: the problem with online marketing

The Web has been touted by many as the ultimate measurable medium allowing digital marketers to assign value and resource to the best performing channel. However, the digital landscape and indeed the entire internet based consumer-to-advertiser relationship have blurred the view of marketers to other useful channels.

Marketing budgets are increasingly being spread over multiple channels. Within digital alone search is increasingly being seen as a separate budget item taking the helm for SEO, and PPC, and often social media. While these may be seen as subsets of digital, they are vastly different in terms of creation, production, and media purchase. Not only are their production costs different, but their intended target audiences also vary widely.

All too often marketers, agencies and communications departments calculate their ROI based on channel. However, calculating ROI like this misses at least two critical components: the specific role each channel plays and the interplay between the channels.

So often digital marketers guilty of holding onto a “Digital by Default” approach to marketing rather than taking into account how we can work together with alternative channels to build the most comprehensive strategy we can for our businesses or clients. Though we are not alone in our often ill-informed thinking that our discipline is the most beneficial to a brand, but we are one of the most stubborn when it comes to calculating ROI.

We focus on how SEO, PPC and social media interact so much that we often forget that offline media can be one of the best ways to attract new inbound leads and sales. We forget that television and radio advertising can drive social mentions, press coverage and branded traffic. We forget that PR and events can build better relationships with influencers than any twitter outreach ever could and we forget that as marketers we should go one step further to understand the interplay between our overall marketing efforts.

In order to do this, we can use media mix models to compare specified performance metrics for each media type when running individually to when they are running together to give some understanding of the interplay between different channels. Once we understand how channels interplay with each other it becomes easier to strategise complementary channels to achieve the best impact possible and return the best ROI.

Leave your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.