A man goes to his family physician and says, “Doctor, I can’t sleep at night.” The doctor says, “Take some Ambien.” Three sleepless nights later he consults with a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist says, “Take some Lexapro.” Now three sleepless weeks pass, and the man — going crazy — consults with a surgeon. The surgeon says what the man feared most: “You need back surgery.” But, you guessed it: three sleepless months pass. The man finally goes back to his physician. This time the physician asks, “How’s your mattress?”

The man says, “Mattress? I sleep in my Laz-Z-Boy chair.”

cobweb-4193_640Marketing in an Interconnected World

Digital marketing is not modular. That is to say, you can’t have a box and say “this is my social media box,” “this is my owned media box,” and “this is my paid media box.” Marketing is a web. Each campaign connects with the others — and can either strengthen or subvert them. If you aren’t considering the whole marketing campaign — the holistic view of the marketing campaign — you aren’t going to be getting the most out of any of the individual components. A single tear in the fabric of your campaign can bring the entire thing tumbling down.

chain-257492_640The “Weakest Link” Theory in Marketing

Take this very simple concept, an integrated social media campaign: your blog pushes readers towards your social media pages while your social media pages feed your followers back to your blog. New visitors enter in at either side, becoming part of this cycle, slowly building both readership and followers and creating a closed circuit loop of engagement and integration.

But what happens when one part of this cycle — one link in this chain — is weak?

If your blog isn’t reliably sending traffic to your social media audience, your social media followers may languish. This doesn’t just decrease social media engagement, it also reduces your blog traffic, which, in turn, even further reduces the amount of social media followers you gain. The system as a whole has become weaker because of a single issue.

If you’re looking at your marketing campaign from a modular perspective, you will see your traffic going down — but you might not realize that it has to do with your social media presence or your social media integration, because “traffic” and “social media” may be two separate boxes in your strategy. You might try to bolster your search engine optimization — which will help, but won’t address the real problem.

links-01

audienceIntegrated Marketing through Entry Points and Links

To better integrate your marketing, you need to concentrate both on entry points and links: where your audience is finding you and also how your audience is moving between your marketing. Followers are gained through search engine optimization, social media marketing and content marketing, but they also move between these platforms, which need to be appropriately integrated.

A common problem is integrating websites with email marketing campaigns. If the transition isn’t seamless, the audience can be lost even when they attempt to convert. Companies can also establish significant social media presence but be unable to drive traffic to their website; their social media reach ultimately has limited value as far as revenue generation is concerned, though it may still have a significant brand-building component.

cube-689619_640Succumbing to the Chaos

There’s some resistance to the term holistic. When your headache could be caused by anything from stress to high sodium, it can be easy to imagine connections, some of which are unlikely at best. You can find yourself chasing weird diets or making radical changes to your sleeping schedule. Marketing can be the same way. You see a jump in conversions or traffic and you look for any little thing that could have caused it… even if it might be something completely unrelated to your marketing campaign.

You roll the dice often enough, eventually you’re going to hit upon a winning combination.

The danger of a whole approach to marketing is that it’s overwhelming. It is always tempting to try to drill down to a few specific strategies or techniques and attribute all of your success to them. In other words, the holistic marketing approach can feel so complex that there is a tendency to become reductionist — which ultimately defeats the entire purpose. This is another reason why having a campaign strategy is of such vital importance. By approaching things in a controlled, systematic matter, even very intricate webs of data can become manageable.

Jenna Inouye
Jenna I. is a freelance writer, programmer and web developer, focusing on the areas of digital marketing, technology, gaming and finance. Hire Jenna through WriterAccess or contact her directly.

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