"There is no law except the law that there is no law" (John Archibald Wheeler), could not be more true in the digital marketing industry. Sure, there are guidelines, best practices and policies but that isn't to say that the industry as a whole is, and will always be, a science.
What is more important than achieving more online visits, sales, leads and brand amplification? How do you achieve these goals when a true theory has yet to be proved and to be followed? With so many blogs, resources and even credited educational courses how will we look back at our profession?
Early on we were hackers and lowly linkers. Paid Search gave us a vertical to establish credibility. Social Media and Digital PR made us cool and put us on stage instead of behind the scenes. And analytics put us in the board room.
Well rounded digital marketers that achieve results usually aren't evangelists, industry news reporters or anyone we have actually even heard of. They are experts in thinking, trying and learning. Across all mediums of digital marketing we experiment based off countless variables; history, trends, expectations and knowledge.
Digital Marketing as a Science is experimenting and observing. In organic, the major search engines are our physical and material world. But what general laws have we concluded to date? The mass reports of the SEO practice continue to be speculation, conspiracy related to patents and their implications, small test models and algorithm update publications.
Marketing Scientists don't have sanctioned (and controlled) associations for publishing advancements in the field. We are at the mercy of a top ten list of for profit publishing platforms.
Even more alarming is the Paid Search space. Once the golden child in digital marketing filled with transparency and data but now subject to enhanced campaign modifications, lost keyword data and a sheer layer of complication forged in an algorithm set in place by publishing giants. Easily, Paid Search does allow for better experiments and production of tangible documentation. But, still no sanctioned (and controlled) association for publishing advancements in the field.
While still young, Social Media and Digital PR are not in a point in their evolution (or may never be) to be able to set forth general laws. And Analytics is merely a mechanism for observing all experiments. But then again, "If your experiment requires statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment." (Ernest Rutherford).
We may come to a point in the very near future where there are truths. Where facts are published as laws. But the art of marketing is still an evolution and to be evangelical about any of our practice is a business to itself.
January 13, 2015
Todd Bailey is Director of Search, Media and PR with Gen3 Marketing and US Brand Ambassador for Majestic SEO. Also, Founder/Editor of pushStar.com