One of my excellent former students wrote me recently asking for advice. How should she handle a client who took her (very good) advice about managing an integrated digital marketing program and turned it into a separate ‘silo’ for each channel?
Particularly among small businesses that don’t have time to become digital marketing experts, it can be easy to see the various marketing channels as stand-alone operations. I need a print ad; I’ll call my graphic designer. I need more online traffic; I’ll call the AdWords specialist and the SEO provider. I should probably reach out to my email list; I’ll call the email provider.
This has often happened organically. Business owners get advice (or decide) to embark on something new that their existing provider(s) don’t offer, so they bring someone else in. And then someone else, and someone else. The problem is that no one is really coordinating it all.
Small Businesses NEED To Integrate All Their Marketing Efforts
But that has to stop. If you need Internet marketing (and you probably do), then you need to see the bigger picture. That doesn’t mean that you may not have different providers for different things, but you (or someone on your behalf) needs to see how all those efforts fit together into a cohesive whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. As long as someone is steering the ship, it can get to where it’s trying to go.
Part of the problem for smaller businesses is that they frequently don’t have an ‘agency’ to coordinate all their efforts. Much of the marketing success of many big organizations should be attributed to their outside advisers – advertising agencies, marketing consultants, etc. But small businesses can’t afford the services of big agencies.
However, there are providers who can help SMBs build a comprehensive strategy AND implement it, and you should take advantage of their services. (Oh, hey… have you met me?)
Shameless self-promotion aside, I think small businesses really are going to need to focus more on strategy instead of just tactics. If you have a solid strategy that will take you where you want to go, your tactics can easily be outsourced (if you want) while you still maintain control of the overall direction your marketing efforts take.
On the other hand, without an integrated marketing strategy, all your well-executed tactics may not be working together to maximize your success.