A few days ago I wrote an article on why the online marketing vs offline marketing debate is totally pointless. One of the main ideas was that you shouldn’t have a separate marketing budget or strategy for your digital activity.
But I hear you: how are we supposed to work otherwise if we don’t have the required online marketing capabilities in-house? After all, according 72% of digital marketers in a just-released Marlin Software industry study, digital marketing is more complicated than ever before.
Of course you should – and in some cases must – engage the services of a digital marketing agency if the need arises: online marketing moves at such breathtaking speed that it’s often the only way to engage the specialist knowledge required for complex campaigns.
However, whether your online marketers are in-house or in an agency, make sure you understand what they are doing and why they’re doing it.
Talk to them: about your campaigns, but also about the big changes happening in digital and how they can impact your brand. Your online activities must be in line with your overall marketing plan, and the only way to know is by speaking to the guys that are rolling them out.
(By the way, they will receive you with open arms: the same Marlin Software study points out that 67% of digital marketers say that online needs to be better integrated with offline).
In some cases the scale of the project will make digital require its own budget, and that’s ok, but you should always see it as a component of the larger campaign you’re working on as a brand – never as a silo.
A digital marketing agency (and certainly a competent digital marketer) will provide you with valuable reports and insights, but again you should always look at them in the context of the wider marketing picture.
This is not a big deal in itself. Just as you would keep an eye on what your accountant is doing, make sure you grasp what your digital experts – either in-house or in an agency – are up to. You want to make sure you understand what’s going on.
It’s your brand after all.