Is Search & Social Media Just Integrated Marketing in Disguise?


You will remember the children’s story Hans Christian Andersen wrote, that has been published in over 100 countries, about The Emperor who is wearing no clothes? That is us, all of us.

We have been through an intense few years where we have all been brainwashed by “gurus” that Social Media and SEO are dark arts best practised by specialist departments, agencies, and experts, and it is the only way forward, or you are stupid.

It turns out they were wrong, and so were those that followed them. Google and Facebook etc. have evolved very quickly, and so have we, as editor/consumers, so now the previously mysterious SEO black hat and link building scams and practises do not work, rubbish tricks to get us to “like” stuff does not work, and we ignore a bunch of irrelevant hashtags. Someone has shouted “The Emperor is wearing no clothes!”

It turns out that the thing that works best on social networks and for search engine optimisation is (pause….and wait for the jaw dropping revelation!) lots of brilliant communication, well targeted at the consumers it is designed for, at the right time, in the right place via the right media.


That seems to have been exactly what the best marketers have been doing all along, but perhaps more so.

The old skills are the new skills, and vice versa.


E-CRM subject matter line

Twitter feed 140 character headline

Facebook/Pinterest image

Google+/LinkedIn content

Video content

Blog content

Public Relations/Customer Service

Advertising that has social currency

Great Websites


Direct Mail First line of mail

See above

Brilliant photography for brochure

Great writing/great film/great photography

Film and advertising

Advertising copy and PR

Public Relations & Customer Service

Advertising that has the “water cooler” effect

Great stores & brochures

So, has nothing changed?

Well clearly it has. We have many more departments at clients, many more specialist agencies, more technology rather than “physical” media, less time, and many more typologies of consumer, in a global market, and far, far, far, more competition for our attention.

What does this mean?

Well our content has to be brilliant, truly brilliant. There is a premium on creativity that we all sometimes forget as everyone is talking about data/SEO/Social/Mobile, and the creative has to work brilliantly together, to punch through (or pull through) the noise, and to do this we all need to be brilliant integrated marketers.

Who is doing this brilliantly?

At the “Flock Forum: The Great Integration Debate” we recently ask the assembled audience and here are some of the answers we heard:

If you actually look at these examples, and compare the old and the new skills comparison above, it is interesting to see how many of these have a crystal clear understanding of their consumer, have a rock solid consistent positioning, have a defined “organising idea”, and great execution that all works together in the right media, at the right place, at the right time. It is not about social, or SEO, it is about Integrated Marketing brilliantly executed.

And, then we think again about Hans Christian Andersen who wrote “The Emperor’s New Clothes” as part of his third volume of stories for children, in 1837. It was regularly repeated by actors and parents at the time of its publishing and the brilliant story has subsequently been told as animated film, musicals, countless books, and was recently launched in 2013 as a board game on kickstarter with a blank box, blank board, blank tokens, and blank cards as life imitated art.

That, kind of, sounds like Integrated Marketing to us.

If you would like to talk about how to bring your story to life, you can contact us here.

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