The Digital and Social Silo

April 22nd, 2013

Why is social media and digital marketing still considered a “thing”?

Let me know if this sounds familiar: you are either working for a client or working on your own marketing strategy, coming up with all the goals and objectives, creating the plan … and then adding on your social media strategy and/or digital strategy to fit. If this is your process and thinking, you’re not alone. Well, you’re not alone in the advertising world, either. But, unfortunately, this kind of thinking just isn’t relevant anymore and it’s time we, as marketers, evolve.

The idea that the internet and mobile is one discipline that sits in one silo is short-sighted and small thinking.

Moving On
It’s time we stop treating digital marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, mobile marketing, email marketing, and every other digital tactic you’re using to drive business, as its own silo. By now, you’re most likely aware of the facts regarding smartphone adoption, social media users, or digitally savvy user segments. Just know that digital and social media marketing are done being the flavor of the month, as well as being looked at as just something cool. The internet, digital marketing and social media are no longer a thing – they’re everything. Or, in other words, they’re a permanent part of our brand experience, so you should consider and incorporate them in your overall marketing efforts.

Change Your Mindset
The first step to embracing this mentality is getting away from describing digital or social media as one platform, because this is stifling your thinking and hurting your strategy. Digital is not a platform – again, it’s everything. The idea that the internet and mobile is one discipline that sits in one silo is short-sighted and small thinking. TV now integrates with digital, print entities have digital offerings, radio has digital properties. And that’s what the consumer expects now. In fact, consumers no longer even really think about the technology they’re using. It’s now just a part of what they do. And to continue to segment social media and digital strategies is like having a silo dedicated in your team to “electricity” or “paper” and “ink” – it just doesn’t make sense.

Customer Comes First
Integration of digital or social media is an absolute must if you want to meet your customers where they are actually experiencing your brand. Segmenting up several different strategies and hoping they all roll up into one nice puzzle
no longer works. Start thinking in terms of your customers experience, rather than how you’re going to deliver it.

It’s important to remember that consumers switch from in-store, to online, to mobile – sometimes all at once during the same shopping experience. Having separate budgets and strategies for each is counter intuitive to what customers are actually experiencing. Smart brands and marketers will join all of these together in a functional way in order to deliver the experiences customers expect from them. The budget should focus on the experience and outcomes, not on the tactical approach. This integrated thinking and approach will create one voice for the brand, regardless of the media on which it is delivered.

Start thinking in terms of your customers experience, rather than how you’re going to deliver it.

Digital marketing is no longer about merely adding online channels to the media mix, so it’s best to drop that kind of thinking. Start considering how to work with your customers in order to integrate the flow of their experience – open up new lead sources, support sales and create new models for service. That is a shift in how we’ve typically done things in the advertising industry, but our customers are already there, and it’s about time we caught up.

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