Are social media and content your most effective marketing activities?

It is often suggested that social media is either a waste of time for businesses (not a view we'd ascribe to!) or relatively ineffective as a marketing channel,...

Effective digital marketing activities

UK digital marketing consultants cite content marketing and social media as their most effective marketing activities. Surprised? We were.

We recently published the findings of our research into how UK digital marketing agencies and consultants promote themselves. You can download the full report here. One of the key findings – that content and social media are seen as the most effective marketing activities, surprised some of the research team (see chart below).

It is often suggested that social media is either a waste of time for businesses (not a view we’d ascribe to!) or relatively ineffective as a marketing channel, largely because of the time it takes to build momentum and the trouble many organisations have in measuring the outcomes.

Effective digital marketing activities

Similarly, while content marketing is currently the darling of marketers, especially in B2B, a lot of organisations say they experience significant challenges in implementing an effective content marketing strategy. A recent research report from The Content Council (see below) highlighted issues with creating high quality engaging content, finding the budget to spend on content, finding the time to create great content and, inevitably, how to measure the ROI of content marketing.

content marketing challenges

In spite of these hurdles, it’s clear that most digital marketers are committed to combining social media with content marketing. As Dr Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights pointed out at the launch event for our research report, to some extent social media and content marketing are the perfect partners: one delivers valuable information while the other facilitates a conversation around it, giving companies the ability to show they’ve got brains and personality.

The beauty of content and social media is that you can showcase your personality as well as your knowledge @DaveChaffey [click to Tweet]

It’s worth pointing out that our research, which invited 130 UK-based consultants and agencies to provide their insights into the marketing techniques that worked best for them (not their clients), PPC – once an essential element of digital marketing – was considered the least effective activity. Online advertising came a close second from last.

Ironically, PPC adverts are incredibly good if your goal is creating a ‘funnel’ that can be measured accurately and honed to deliver results. It seems that the modern digital marketing consultant is less concerned about sheer numbers and more focused on demonstrating value and making genuine connections.

To my mind this is step forward, but I suspect my PPC-oriented colleagues might not agree. Social and content marketing is certainly powerful, but should we be ignoring other, tried-and-tested channels?

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