Digital Marketing and the Emergence of Deep Specialization

It was not terribly long ago that "Digital Marketing Specialist/Analyst/Manager" was the job title that everyone who sat in front of a computer all day to sell things shared. Similarly, it was not terribly long ago that anyone searching for a job as a digital marketing specialist/analyst/manager was expected to be equally familiar with all available digital outlets (for example, demonstrating as much knowledge of SEO as social media).

As recently as five years ago, anyone who claimed to be a specialist in a single channel or aspect of digital marketing was more likely to be unemployed than an essential component of an effective team. While that thinking persists today in many companies, the most successful marketers and agencies have evolved as quickly as their platforms and customers’ behavior and have placed the appropriate emphasis on fostering deep specialization.

There are very few cases where armies of interchangeable generalists can accomplish what teams of collaborative specialists can. Until very recently, ‘digital‘ was focused on BROAD rather than deep expertise because anyone with some patience and an internet connection can launch digital campaigns. It takes practice and experience to make those campaigns perform. Deep specialization, however, is what it takes to make those campaigns outperform.

All Paid Clicks Are Not the Same Clicks

When marketers try to manage multiple products and campaigns across multiple platforms, they can lose focus on the platform – specific subtleties that are required to maximize performance.

For example, while it seems obvious that Facebook and Google Ads require different approaches, is it also obvious that Google PPC and Bing PPC do? They are, after all, both search engine marketing platforms that rely on text ads placed within relevant search results. The campaign setup and ad formats are almost identical. Why then, do we regularly hear stories of digital marketers who choose to ignore Bing entirely after finding little or no success there? Generally, it’s the absence of deep specialization. The benefit of that expertise, in this case, is that a PPC specialist knows you cannot simply import a SEM campaign to Bing and expect it to work as well as it does on other PPC platforms.

Deep specialization allows a marketer to recognize and adapt to differences in user behavior, platform behavior, audiences and algorithms. Because the digital landscape is constantly shifting, it’s simply not possible to learn, master and stay up to date on the differences between digital platforms when your responsibilities include everything that a potential customer sees on a screen.

Who Needs the A-Team When You Have the Equalizer?

The obvious downside to seeking experts for every channel is that it simply requires more people. Employing more personnel then multiplies the time and expense of attracting, vetting and managing them. However, in a business climate where success is measured one-tenth of a percent at a time, is it really a downside to have an entire team of dedicated experts collaborating? Of course, the alternative to employing specialists is to rely on generalists, but this is only a truly viable strategy if your company’s motto is something like, “We do very okay work that is basically totally acceptable to people who aren’t super picky.”

If you’re ready to take your digital campaigns from performing to outperforming the competition, consider working with BIG YAM’s team of digital media specialists. Contact us today to get started!