What’s the most important digital marketing channel for brands?

Your website.

I’m tempted to just end this article here…but I guess I’ll explain why.

Owning vs. Renting

As a business owner or a marketing team, you want to spend more time on the properties you own versus the ones that you rent.

You own your website. At no point will the Internet say to you, “You can’t do this on your site” or “The permissions on your site have changed” or “We are not going to promote content from you as regularly.”

SEO algorithms may change, which may affect your traffic and your rankings in subtle way. But for the most part – you own this property. An entity telling you what you can and can’t do here is limited.

You do, however, rent your space on Facebook. Facebook constantly changes their rules and algorithms. Just check out their very own Facebook Business page that has an overview in real-time of what’s changing and when. Already in 2017, they’ve introduced a new shopping collection tool and as of the writing of this post, changed their algorithm six times. And there are sites that track the changes you must know on a month-to-month basis, which is exhausting.

It’s hard to keep up with the changes and the constant changes should remind any Facebook Page owner – this is not something you control. The reigns are in someone else’s hands.

Those Likes are in their hands. It’s a non-transferable currency.

And at any point, Facebook could go the way of Vine. Or Google+, as another recent example of a channel that keeps changing and decreasing its offerings. All of your hard work on growing and maintaining this channel – gone in a matter of days or weeks determined by a team of people you’ve never even met.

Social channels are still useful

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all of the social channels that are active right now are still useful channels. But think about how that landscape changes month over month, year over year. Facebook may be a stable player in the space right now with over a decade under their belt, but the demographics have definitely shifted over their 10+ years as a social networking site.

A lot goes back to this post about setting business goals in order to set your marketing goals – you want to pick the channels where people already are for your outbound marketing. When it comes to inbound marketing, you want to make sure you’re communicating with them in ways they appreciate.

Which is also why retargeting (a marketing tactic we do not like) is a bad idea for the survivalism market, one of our three focus areas. Most people don’t appreciate retargeting but the survivalism market has an especially low threshold for it. You also, for example, wouldn’t try to communicate with this market via Snapchat (which is currently skewing heavily towards 13-24 year olds, but that may change in a few years – you never know)…

What else can I own?

The typical guidance here (the rent vs. own approach is not new and not mine, by any means) is to follow Pareto’s principle – 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts.

We can tweak this a little bit to our purposes and our time management strategy by following a general rule of spending 80% of your time and marketing team’s utilization on the marketing assets you own and 20% on those reach assets, the one you rent. That way, you retain the flexibility to experiment and possibly have great results within set time periods from rented channels but if it eventually disappears, you’re still in good shape.

Here are some very general examples of marketing channels you own compared to ones you do not:

It is a lot easier to rent. There’s less responsibility, less maintenance, and more importantly – it’s less expensive in terms of money and time. However, marketing is an investment. And as Jason Brewer notes, you want a diversified portfolio when it comes to renting vs. owning properties.

Why is this so complicated now?

Because owning is relatively new to marketing. There have historically been gatekeepers who are the owners, like TV channels and newspapers who have overseen platforms, that can now be bypassed more easily than ever. Business owners and marketing teams own more assets to keep track of now more than ever.

So when you think about your marketing, you want to steer traffic towards the assets you own as a brand. You don’t want to send people to your now non-existent Vine channel, you want to send them to your website. You know, that thing you own. Just like if you own a brick and mortar store, you wouldn’t want to send people elsewhere – you want to send them to your storefront (and in the instance of your website, your digital storefront).

You need to have goals with your marketing and our recommendation is typically to focus those goals more on the owned spaces rather than the rented ones. Especially for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) that have to prioritize where they spend their precious marketing budget and for the companies we partner with in our space – for the most part, people living in rural areas aren’t obsessively on some channels, like social media platforms, in the first place.

Hit us up if you’d like to talk about your owned marketing assets and how to use them more efficiently.

2 thoughts on “What’s the most important digital marketing channel for brands?”

Comments are closed.