There was a time when companies would specifically hire a digital marketing specialist to handle those aspects of a marketing plan – and rarely would that person have much to do with the rest of the marketing team. Things have changed a lot in the last few years, though, because digital marketing is no longer a mysterious, unrelated strategy. Instead, all aspects of modern marketing are interwoven into the same digital world, and there is simply no reason to try and keep them apart.
The more traditional forms of marketing now include digital extensions because almost all forms of media involve some sort of digital or online aspect. Instead of dividing the department into those who use digital tools and those who don't, try dividing them in one of the following two ways:
• Strategy vs. Execution
• Marketing vs. Technology Specialists
These divisions make a lot more sense because of the way business is done now.
Strategy vs. Execution
There are two very different parts of a marketing plan – strategy and execution. The strategy team usually consists of people who are much better at looking at the competition’s tactics and any trends in the market. This side of the team should also have the ability to look at the big picture of a situation and brainstorm ways to help the company achieve its goals. These team members should also be able to find ways to make the entire project fluid across the offline and online border.
The other side of this team – those who deal with the execution of the strategy – is going to be better at paying attention to the details. They are the people who carry out every stage of a campaign until it is done. When one side of the team takes a big picture approach to the project, they can often overlook details that may cause more problems that need to be solved. The details are sometimes more obvious to someone who has more experience putting plans into action.
Both teams rely on digital tools for ideas, creation, and follow through. These teams are going to have the most success when they come together and bounce ideas off of each other and work to make the offline and online components deliver the same, effective message and branding.
For example, the strategist may develop a plan that involves a sign on the side of a bus, television commercials, and print ads. On top of that, they may want to incorporate paid advertisements online and a big social media push. The question becomes how, exactly, you can tie them all together into a unified campaign. There was a time when the traditional marketing team would send some basic outlines to the people in charge of the online aspects. Now, though, every element of the offline campaign can incorporate the digital assets from the very beginning.
Dividing a team along the lines of digital and traditional can leave you with a campaign that lacks the kind of cohesion necessary to deliver your brand message. Instead of traditional vs. digital, think in terms of planning vs. follow through, and you will start to see better results in the modern marketing environment.
Creative vs. Analytics Specialists
A marketing team is only as good as its members’ abilities, but these individual skills should translate across both the modern and traditional strategies. Typically, there are a couple different types of degrees that lead to a career in this field. One is related directly to creative marketing while the other focuses on the numbers and architecture of a successful campaign.
Those who seek a marketing degree are usually specialists in different theories for solving problems and creating successful campaigns. The principles that are involved in marketing help to navigate competitive markets and reach their ideal markets. A spread of data is easier to interpret if you know what you are looking for as well.
Someone who specialized in the technical side will have a greater understanding of complicated systems, statements, and the analytics of the markets. They may have a better understanding of the economy than their marketing counterparts, which is very beneficial to a company when trying to come up with a way to sell their products to a certain audience.
Both of these aspects are vital when creating a marketing plan no matter where it is shown. One side might have more ideas on how to present a product or service to an audience, and this must be balanced on the other side with demographic and studies about the market place and consumer behavior.
If the economy is down and more people are shopping online, the technology specialist can recommend some effective ways and places to put an ad while the marketing specialists find the best ways to make it applicable and appropriate. It doesn’t matter if this is online or off, the two sides of this team need to work together to generate the best results.
How Does That Work for Agencies?
If it’s true that modern marketing requires a completely integrated approach, then what does that mean for companies that use agencies? Is this saying that there is no place for outsourcing to a specialized agency anymore?
The simple answer is: no. While we talked about the importance of integrating digital media with traditional marketing and how companies shouldn’t separate the digital marketers from the rest of the team, that doesn’t mean the only option is to have online marketing specialists in-house.
You can take advantage of the specialized knowledge and experience of an agency without drawing those distinct lines between digital and traditional marketing. You simply have to realize that while the agency may be remote, it is still an extension of your team – and you need to treat it that way.
In other words, if you’re hiring an agency just “to get rankings,” or, worse, just to “build links,” then you’ve missed the point. Find an agency, work closely with the team, and keep them informed on your other marketing initiatives. They’ll be able to consult with you and ensure that the campaign carries across everything that is done to build your brand.
A More Cohesive Department
You shouldn’t be thinking of your digital marketing person as a separate entity from the rest of the marketing team. Online/digital marketing is woven into almost every aspect of the modern marketing world. Focus on building an effective marketing team by looking at the different personalities and abilities of the individuals and let them play to their strengths. Working together is always going to make a better team which makes the outcomes better for everyone involved.