Another organisational obstacle in the path of effective online marketing

In previous posts I have detailed some of the organisational obstacles in the way of online marketing – such as why aren’t there any Directors of Online Marketing? – and having thought even more about it, I have come to the conclusion that online marketing is such a new field that most existing marketing directors (who are almost always offline marketing experts) are scared and initimidated by the new field.

Anyone who is an expert in their current field absolutely hates to be made to look like a newbie in any related field.  So people who have invested a lot of time, effort and expense to become experts in their fields and more importantly to get seen as experts in their field will absolutely hate online marketing simply because they are not experts in it.

As a result they denigrate and marginalise it for perfectly understandable reasons – but nevertheless they are still marginalising it.

My solution to this issue is (I hope) characteristically direct: stop requiring them to be experts in a field they are not and give responsibility to people who are experts in online marketing… – just separate the two disciplines as they are so fundamentally different as to be utterly unrelated apart from the word “marketing” in the title.


  • offline marketing is a megaphone monologue: it works on the assumption that if you shout the same message often enough it will get through: it is interruption marketing, actively trying to impinge on customers consciousness
  • online marketing on the other hand is about permission: your best customers actively seek you out – they come to your site and are interested in buying from you: the best sites ask you what you want and then give it to you
  • offline marketing is fundamentally an ego-driven activity: people in it design and create and take decisions based on their experience and expertise
  • online marketing on the other hand is about removing your own ego from the equation and asking “what is best for the customer here?” – and then testing that concept and implementing the results and iterating.

But as long as we insist on masters of one discipline needing to be seen as masters of both we are asking for trouble.  From now on I cannot refer to marketing without qualifying it with one of it’s two constituent sub-disciplines of online or offline…

…. – and why don’t more companies follow suit?

Online, digital and social media marketing expert in Birmingham

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