In this episode, Jasmeet Sawhney talks about the ongoing debate in the marketing world. On one hand, there are folks who think that Digital Marketing is not a separate marketing function. On the other, there are folks who argue that Digital Marketing should continue to be a separate function, it should continue to be a silo within the broader marketing organization. Jasmeet provides his views on why marketing organizations should stop treating digital as a separate marketing function, why it is all just Marketing – Integrated Marketing. Watch the video for more..


Hey Guys! So, today we are going to talk about Digital Marketing, and why it’s not a separate function. Now, there is a lot of debate going on in the marketing world, where a lot of folks think that it is not a separate function because it doesn’t make any sense to keep digital marketing as a separate function, and a lot of other folks who think that digital marketing should continue to be a separate function, it should continue to be a silo within the broader marketing organization. I strictly believe it is not a separate marketing function, and here’s why.

Just look at your customers – how their lives have changed in last 5 – 10 years. They are using many more digital channels, and they don’t differentiate between which channels you are using to deliver your messages, or to reach out to them. All they care about are the messages, and whether they are relevant – whether you are able to provide them the experiences that they expect from your brand – whether you are able to build relationships with them.

It is kind of the same argument that the retail world had when online shopping was maturing, and a lot of retail executives continued to think that online shipping should be a silo within the broader retail organization. And, customers didn’t care about that. They didn’t care where they were shopping, whether it was online or in-store. It was all about the shopping experience. Finally, there is acceptance in the retail world that it is all about the experience that you provide to your customers, it is all about providing an integrated seamless experience across stores and online.

It’s not any different for marketing, because your customers cannot differentiate between digital and traditional because they cannot remember the channels, if you ask them a day after. They only care about the messages and the experiences that you provide them. And, it is highly likely you are already using digital in any form of marketing that you are doing today whether it is print, TV, radio, or trade shows. You are likely promoting your website, your social media, and hashtags. Even if you are not; let’s say you do a radio ad and you are asking people to call a toll free number. But, guess what – before they pickup that phone, highly likely they are going to check you out on web and social media, and if you are not ready with those channels, if they are not integrated into the campaign, your marketing is not going to be effective.

A lot of executives at large companies continue to argue that you need to have a digital function as a separate function because they need to make a case for more investment in digital channels. And, that’s a flawed argument because as I said, you are already using digital in all forms of marketing, so some spent is already going into digital channels. It’s already integrated in some way or form, and if it’s not integrated – you have a larger fundamental problem to solve.

And the biggest issue that I see is training. The unwillingness of marketing leaders to accept that it all has to be integrated marketing is leading to the fact that their teams are not getting trained on these new channels, on these new technologies, on all the data that is coming in, and their ability to analyze this data, and come up with insights. And, it is a big risk that these marketing leaders are taking, and maybe because they are themselves fearful of learning these new technologies because they are going to become irrelevant, their teams are going to become irrelevant, and their marketing is going to suffer. And, that’s all about larger companies.

What about SMBs? Small, Medium Businesses, Startups? They don’t even have an option. They have to digital first because highly likely those are the most effective channels that they have at their disposal. That’s one reason small companies and startups are doing way better in digital marketing than most of the large companies.

And, just for fun sake – I want to flip the question. I want to ask who wants to be a traditional marketer in today’s world. Just imagine this scenario – you are in a meeting with ten other people, and an executive walks into the room, and you introduce them as the traditional marketer at your company. Who wants to be in that position? I don’t really know.

So, my humble request is to stop treating digital function – digital marketing function – as a separate marketing function, stop treating it as a silo, and focus more on things that are more important. On how you would reach out to your customers, how you would engage with them, how you would build relationships with them so you can sell more. Focus on the creative, on storytelling, on building emotional connections with your customer, providing them the right kind of experiences. And, guess what, a lot of traditional folks are really good at this stuff, and they are going to get wasted if they don’t adapt to this new world. So, stop treating digital as a separate function – that’s my request today.

Please share your thoughts in the comments, and thanks for watching!


Recommended Posts