Lure of digital marketing overshadows core principles

More businesses are concentrating on digital marketing at the expense of marketing's core principals, according to an industry round table.

With its transparent nature enticing businesses away from using a healthier mix of traditional and digital marketing, engaging and understanding your customers, marketplace and competition have never been more significant.

Rob Smith, digital director at Blueleaf Digital, said, "From an educational point of view, the foundational marketing principals should apply to all channels, digital or not. As digital marketing shortens the communication path between you and your audience it enables you to engage with the consumer."

Paul Harris, marketing director of UKFast, added, "People focus on digital because they can see the return in investment but that can suppress the whole effectiveness of their marketing strategy. Online opportunities should be evaluated using the core principals and incorporated into the marketing mix as and when they are appropriate.

"In all instances, content has to be relevant and it has to be targeted. Everything else is merely tactics and strategy."

Digital marketing, in particular social media, has encouraged power to shift back to the consumer and provided a critical public arena where a company's product, services and actions are fundamentally exposed. While this is great for building a rapport with your audience, this should not only be limited to the digital sphere.

Paul Harris added, "Standards have been raised and marketers need to respond throughout the business. Just bolting on a social media strategy isn't enough. A holistic approach is required."

Brendan Keegan, senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, also offers some hope for the future with the latest crop of marketers. He added, "As part of our digital marketing course there is a core unit. In all areas of marketing that we talk about the core is based on these principals. You have to run before you can walk."

The round table discussions are held in association with UKFast with the aim of uniting business leaders to share advice and provide a wealth of ideas for other developing companies. The panel was completed by Rachel Combie, director of strategic marketing at Marketing Manchester.

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