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DIGITAL MARKETING IN MARKETING BOOKS
good news for me ...
but bad news for marketers and anyone they may work for

Time for a good rant; so if you are sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.

And I'll begin by suggesting that you read this musing of mine from 2007 - The future of marketing has no web ... Apparently because it has a strong connection with what I have to say here.

As well as teaching digital marketing, I also deliver a PG module on marketing strategy. All modules must have a core text book, and I have one. I do not wish to get into any kind of fight with the book's authors or its/their proponents, so I'm not going to name it or them. However, suffice to say that it is a 'generic' marketing book that covers all of the 'usual suspects' that you'll find in any book of its type. And as a representative of that type of text it is as good as any [and there are a lot of them about :-) ]

As you would expect, there is a chapter on Digital and Social Media Marketing - although snippets of aspects of digital do appear throughout the book in relevant sections e.g. in PR. So, let the review/critique begin.

  • Digital is one chapter out of 19 - is that doing the subject justice?

  • The chapter is called Digital and Social Media Marketing. This suggests that the two are different subjects, I would say that the latter is part of the former [other aspects, e.g. email are not listed in the title].

  • In the section that describes 'digital marketing activities' there is no mention of the role websites play in DM. Or anything on websites. Indeed, 'website' is not in the index. Bit of an omission, wouldn't you think? There was still space for a section on advergaming however. Go figure.

  • There is nothing on e-commerce i.e., the sale of goods and services online.

  • There is a lack of knowledge/understanding of the subject. For example, the section on Internet advertising does not cover such minor aspects of the subject as network advertising or advertising on social media.
    PS, I know a couple of good books that would have explained all of this :-)

  • In the section on search marketing only around a quarter of the content is on search engine optimization. That amounts to one paragraph that is factual incorrect [the role of SM in SEO] and suggests that SEO is all on-site - it doesn't mention the importance of in-bound links, for example.
    Oh, and what it calls contextual advertising [ e.g. Google's Adsense that delivers ads to websites - NOT SERPS] is included in this section on search marketing. It belongs, of course, in the section on Internet advertising as it is not a part of search engine marketing. Also in this section, is paid placement. That's what we used to call ads on SERPS - it's now called [yes] advertising on SERPS. And the description is, well ... poor. It says that paid placement and pay per click is the same thing. Which they are not.

  • The section on user-generated content makes no mention of online consumer reviews. I could put forward a strong argument that the biggest impact of the Internet on buyer behaviour and marketing is consumer reviews.

  • Many of the references are woefully out of date. Yes, I know this is an issue in writing books as it takes 6-12 months for the book to hit the shelves from when the final draft is submitted, but still ... this book was published in 2014 and it includes stats of SM use in 2011, which are, well - history.
    Another example is the identification of , and recommendation to read, an 'influential paper on social media'. The paper is in the Harvard Business Review, so it has merit. Or at least it did in 2009 when it was published. In 2009, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest etc etc did not exist - even Facebook carried nothing like the membership or power it now does. How relevant do you think the article's study of changes to a dozen firms brought about by social media still is?

  • Many of the references are to sources where the content is questionable, or just plain wrong. I have ranted about this elsewhere [see some academic papers are simply worthless in the real world]. However, I suppose I can't blame the authors of this book for that. Or could I? Maybe they should have done a better review of the literature available.

Oh - the good news for me ... but bad news for marketers and anyone they may work for headline? Good for me because folk will still need the likes of me and my books even after studying marketing - bad news for marketers and anyone they may work for because they won't really know what digital marketing is.

Of course - as is always the case on this site - this is just my opinion ... and what do I know?

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