In the world of social media, it’s really easy to get caught up in analytics or mobile or PPC or tone or linking or display or Facebook or image choice or SEO or… just about anything else.

But the key word there is or. Most people tend to take one aspect of social media marketing and cling to it like it’s the only thing that matters, but it’s just not true.

By taking a look at the popular TV series The Walking Dead (which we have a special love for because it’s filmed in and around Atlanta), we can draw some powerful conclusions about the importance of these various functions and how they work together. Furthermore, we can see, based on the actions of our favorite zombie-hunting crew, the kinds of actions we need to take to survive in the realm of social media.


Last Night on The Walking Dead

Spoiler alert: If you’ve just recently jumped on the zombie-laden bandwagon of AMC’s The Walking Dead, you may want to jump to the next section.

Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead was a doozy. The prison has fallen, and our heroes and heroines are scattered across the countryside of Georgia. They’ve lost all their supplies, most of their weapons, and — most importantly — each other. They don’t know where their loved ones are or what fate has come to them. At the end of the episode, Michonne has reunited with Rick and Carl, but nobody else has surfaced. Some of our most beloved characters may even be dead.

And that’s just it — it makes perfect, logical sense for a lot of them to die now. Will I cry into my pillow if so much as a hair on Daryl Dixon’s head is harmed? Yes. But would it make sense? Absolutely. There are young, sick, injured people trying to make it on their own now, and it wouldn’t make any sense for all of them to make it out alive.

Drawing Connections to Digital Marketing

The same principle here applies to digital marketing. There are so many important aspects to it that people would claim are the end-all-be-all, whether it’s SEO or social media; guest blogging or mobile display ads. But the truth is that without each other, their lifeline is shortened.

Let’s look at the roles of the characters in TWD. There’s Rick the farmer/decision-maker, Hershel the doctor, Daryl the hunter, Michonne the warrior, Glenn the master sneak artist, Beth the caretaker, Carol the teacher… every person has an important role in making life at that prison and survival amidst a sea of walkers possible every day.

Now let’s look at digital marketing. There’s content the thought leader, social media the friend, SEO the regulator, branding the definer, rich media the enabler… every part of digital marketing serves a different purpose, and it’s silly to suggest that one is better or more vital to a holistic campaign than any other.

Now, it’s possible that not every community needs every role filled. If there are no young people in the group then no one needs a teacher, and if a company is highly regulated and uber-professional then a Pinterest page might not make much sense.

In the same way, different groups will have different priorities. A hunter is nice no matter where the group is, but Daryl Dixon in the desert would be a waste of perfectly good talent. Likewise, depending on a company’s journey, it may be more important to start a mobile display campaign than to invest time in a blog.

But the reality is that the more ways you employ digital marketing, the more complete and healthy your campaign will be, meaning more leads, better customer retention, and improved ROI. They feed into each other and make each other stronger and more complete, meaning your marketing campaign — and ultimately your company — has a better chance of making it in the long run.


How to Figure Out What Kinds of Marketing Are on Your Dream Team

All of that being said, “a company” and “some businesses” do nothing for you. You need to know how to approach building your digital marketing team. To do that, let’s ask one important question:

What is my primary marketing goal?

Is it to generate new leads? Then you’re going to want to go with attention-grabbers like display, rich media, and paid search, supported by solid SEO and, depending on your industry, some thought leadership content. Is your goal to improve customer retention? Then you’ll want more engaging team members like practical blog posts, social media, and downloadable content.

Now, it’s probably not as black-and-white as that, and each of these can be used to multiple ends. There are some players everyone wants on their teams. (Let’s be honest; Rick, Carl, and Michonne probably have a way better chance of making it than that bus full of kids and an injured Glenn.) But by determining what your priority is, you can pick out the best players for your team, grade school dodge ball style. Then you can add new players and grow your team as your current team gains some victories and your budget expands.


Remember, every player on a team is important, and they need to be working together in order to have the best chance for survival. But it is absolutely okay to look at your priorities and determine where to trim and where to grow your digital marketing efforts.


About the Author: Samantha Gale is a social media and content marketing specialist working for 60 Second Communications, a full-service marketing agency working with brands around the globe.