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What is Digital Marketing?

Question mark by Horia Varlan on Flickr

By  - Head of Digital Marketing. 

A little reflection on 2013 and 2014 to start with...

First of all, on behalf of the whole team at Orantec, I would like to wish you all  a Happy New Year, may it bring you everything you wish for, and more: good health, good cheer, joy and happiness, success, but also good SEO practices, catchy titles, beautiful meta descriptions, nice backlinks and many RT's, shares and +1's.

2013 has been a very busy and rewarding year for us at Orantec: two members of staff left for new adventures, four more arrived, I became Head of the Digital Marketing Department when it was created and we have been happily busy with current and new clients. May 2014 be as successful!

Many of my fellow marketers will be writing about the umpteen things we can expect from 2014 – I would bet on many new algorithm updates by Google with new animal names to fight black-hat SEO, the ever-growing importance of unique content and the increasing power of social media with new examples of great use and poor use of Twitter etc. (one such example right before the Christmas holidays was the pub head chef who got fired and used his ex-employer’s Twitter account to announce the news). So to avoid falling into the same trap, here is a personal reflection on Digital Marketing.

Same as marketing, but online?

Well, in some ways and for some digital marketing / SEO companies, digital marketing is probably just that, online marketing. For us at Orantec, it’s a bit more than that. Firstly, you may have noticed that we’re no longer ‘SEO consultants’, we’re digital marketers. Due to black-hat SEO, Search Engine Optimisation sometimes has too negative a connotation for us, and frankly, we’re doing much more than just optimising websites for search engines. Yes, at the end of the day, one of our goals is to see our clients ranking in top positions for keywords relevant to their domain of expertise. But our real aim is to have happy clients and to generate more traffic and more conversions. If this means doing more than you would expect from digital marketers, well what’s wrong with changing your routine and exploring new horizons?

What about (Digital) PR?

Let’s face it, our role as Digital Marketers goes further than using all (online) available means to promote products, services, and brands. Whether we want it or not, we also manage our clients’ online public relations; we give them a voice through social media, share other people’s updates and reply to some on their behalf – with our clients’ approval and trust. When we do link-building, we contact other people and create relationships with other companies and like-minded individuals on behalf of our clients, in order to get backlinks (although that is a bit passé) and guest blogs. As a consequence, we truly represent our clients in the online world.

Real-life and Digital Marketing

Sometimes, Digital Marketing can be the starting point of real-life projects with unexpected consequences. For instance, my asking one person for a guest blog for a small company with a couple of employees led to a worldwide campaign involving over 50 volunteers and counting. I even met the guest blogger in real-life and am invited by our clients to different events revolving around this campaign, which allows me to meet new potential guest bloggers and to live-tweet said events. Who would have thought a simple invitation to guest blog would have gone this far? I wouldn't have! And no matter how much I like working online, I still think, and find, that meeting someone online and then in real-life gives relationships a new dimension that you wouldn’t have if the relationship remained just digital.

I think Digital Marketing is a very powerful thing and a double-edged sword which can make wonders if used the right way, and can be harmful if not. I mentioned above the perfect example of this, with the pub chef in charge of Twitter who got fired: with thousands of RT and mentions who hasn’t heard of the small Oxfordshire pub? Also, the chef’s new employers are playing on this online fame on their own Twitter account.

So if, like me, you are sending e-mails to every client to plan for the New Year, make sure you mention how important it is that they get involved if they aren’t already, and be sure to earn and keep their trust.

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