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Towards a holistic digital marketing model

The ascendancy of digital content and engagement strategies to the marketing throne has posed a problem in recent years.


With the online realm becoming more and more vital to any and all marketing campaigns, we have also seen the rise of a new, distinct form of marketing: “digital marketing”—and with it, a trend of compartmentalisation in the marketing world.

Put simply, different areas of marketing are now being separated up into different departments or disciplines. This is in part due to the level of personalised, microtargeted engagement that many consumers now come to expect from brands.

In this way, attention, time and resources are falling unevenly across marketing departments. The issues this poses are numerous. Firstly, there’s the problem of expertise. If you were to ask a surgeon, a GP, or a nurse to recommend treatment for an illness, you’re likely to get three different answers. Similarly, if you’re looking for a marketing solution and ask someone in each different marketing ‘discipline’ for an answer, it’s likely you’re going to get different responses there as well.

All too often, people are tempted to automatically go with the digital marketing response, such is its primacy in marketing today. However, this can deprive you of a range of important expertise and second opinions. As the Pfeiffer Report argues, “digital marketing excels at sophisticated delivery of marketing messages, but so far does not manage or integrate the complete range of creative intelligence that drives marketing and advertising.”

Furthermore, the division of digital marketing from other types too often results in disparate, disjointed solutions and responses, leading to inefficiencies, mistakes, and ultimately, an unclear strategy.

We’re faced with a question: how can we balance different areas of marketing, without losing sight of the importance of digital engagement?

Holistic, bespoke marketing

What really needs to unfold and be mobilised in the marketing world is a new, holistic model of marketing that takes cues from all across the discipline. Just because concerns about digital engagement are number one today doesn’t mean we need to cut ourselves off from the expertise and experience of the past.

So what does digital marketing offer other forms of marketing, beyond a powerful means of engagement? Most importantly, it offers a unique model of data analytics which should not be restricted just to digital marketing.

What different forms of marketing ultimately have in common is a need to understand and interact with group- and target-specific consumer behaviour. So-called ‘big data’ gives us the means and opportunity to empower all other forms of marketing, without sacrificing expertise. Data analysis can really be the thread that ties together all the ‘departments’.

By borrowing the tools, but not always uniquely the lessons of digital marketing, it is possible to pave the way for a bespoke, holistic marketing model that triangulates the best expertise from across the board. It’s possible to start by conducting a data-driven digital marketing audit, analysing “channels, creative, consumers, conversions and competitors”—find out what works, what doesn’t, and throw out the things you don’t need. Once you understand your target audience with the power of data analysis, it’s then possible to move forward by creating great content, strategy, and hopefully, sales—by drawing from a broad field of expertise, and not just that of digital marketing.

photo by mkhmarketing