Which Comes First - Content Or Channel

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Digital marketing.  Everyone’s doing it, but here’s a question….does everyone know why?

Talking to many companies about social media, e-shots, online newsletters, blogging and website development has made it very apparent to me that for some, the answer is no.  Their approach to digital marketing is ‘we have to do it because everyone else is doing it’.

Certainly, that’s a compelling reason to invest in digital marketing, but it’s hardly a digital marketing strategy, is it?

The rise of specialist digital agencies hasn’t helped with this in-it-to-win-it attitude to digital marketing. Offering distinct digital services as a shopping list of online tactics, digital agencies can sometimes foster the impression that digital marketing is all about the channels you use rather than the messages you communicate.

It isn’t.

Rather than digital marketing, at CME we prefer to focus on content marketing.  We don’t start by selecting the online channels that we’re going to use and then work out what we’re going to say; we start by understanding our client and their marketplace, developing a strategy, defining the messages and then - and only then - do we choose the platforms by which we’ll communicate.

Importantly, your online marketing not only needs to be strategic, it also needs to be fully integrated with your offline marketing and your business strategy.  The growth in social media and the power of new online content to drive SEO has led some companies to all but abandon more traditional marketing tactics because they see them as old fashioned and outdated. In fact, printed brochures, events, mail shots, media relations…the full traditional marketing toolkit is still just as effective as it’s always been; it’s just grown to include new, digital tools too.

In just the same way, the effectiveness of a marketing campaign doesn’t simply depend on the quality of the delivery, but also on the quality of thinking behind it. That thinking needs to be joined up, strategic and aligned to clear objectives, which is why working with both a ‘traditional’ agency and a digital specialist in tandem often means duplication of effort or even misalignment of strategy and messaging.

The bottom line is that the digital revolution has been game changing on a tactical level but the best marketing agencies have upped their game, not switched it.

To build a marketing programme that really works it still pays to put in the plumbing before you start shopping around for WiFi.