Digital marketing business models are in a constant state of flux as technological advances continue to shape and re-shape how customers engage with companies online and off. If you compare current marketing strategies to even just a few years ago, a lot has changed. When considering marketing channels, it is imperative to think broadly. The distinctions between digital channels are increasingly blurred.
In most cases, within an organization, digital marketing is performed in silos. Integrated marketing strategies -- you know the ones that incorporate the best of both worlds -- are often dismissed or poorly devised through no real fault of their own. How does a company shift gears in a landscape that is vast and in continuous cycles of change?
If you take a quick look back at Google's history with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the question "Is SEO dead?" is a continuing topic of conversation. Because of advanced algorithm updates and Google penalties, web masters have had to adjust their SEO practises accordingly. Although the term SEO has been dragged through the mud over the course of Google's usability clean up, SEO among all other marketing practices is vital to the growth of any company. More importantly, SEO is best practiced in an integrated marketing strategy, having all areas of digital marketing complement one another.
The goal of SEO, in the narrowest sense of the term, is to ensure a website is visible in search engine result pages (SERPs). This is achieved through the use of strategically placed keywords, well written site content, website citations across the web, and plethora of other techniques. And while the end goal of SEO may always remain to be increase SERP visibility, the strategies are becoming more aligned with other siloes of digital marketing: content marketing and social media marketing. This is of course because the way that we use the Internet is changing. Searchers are engaged in the social web where their friends, followers, and networks influence the ways they find websites. And websites may be a misnomer; it is brands that searchers are looking for.
The inbound marketing company, MOZ recently published an extensive guide outlining the basics for understanding social media for businesses. They note it is no longer possible to ignore the content sharing activity and abilities of social media, "Just as your customers' behavior has shifted, so have their expectations for yours. Whether your business is listening and engaging or not, customers are having conversations relevant to your operations. It's better to be part of the conversation, right?"
The biggest misjudgement of current marketing - especially for those long standing companies who have been successful for decades using old, trusted methods -- is that you don't need to update your techniques. SEO has become content driven. relying on sharable, likable, and readable content that directs traffic to websites and engages loyal customers. The most successful digital marketing strategies are the ones that practice strategic SEO, create high quality and engaging content, and connect with an audience of site visitors and loyal customers.
MIT's Sloan Management Review recently published the results of a study on technological adoption in business where it outlines the biggest challenges that companies face. It says, "The world is going through a kind of digital transformation as everything - customers and equipment alike - becomes connected. The connected world creates a digital imperative for companies. They must succeed in creating transformation through technology, or they'll face destruction at the hands of their competitors that do."
So, as marketing evolves so do its users. Appearing in search rankings no longer suffices as a digital marketing strategy. Companies must dive in head first, integrating a strategy that incorporates SEO driven content and an engaged online presence.
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