Digital marketing strategy is something that has long been divided into distinct, entirely separate silos. They can differ from organization to organization, but the biggest schism of all in digital marketing strategy is between paid and organic search.

Many marketers specialize in one or the other. SEOs and content marketers are on the organic side, SEM and PPC specialists on the paid. But approaching the two as completely different sports hobbles marketers and encourages the continued implementation of inefficient and ineffective digital marketing strategies.

So can’t we all just get along?

Organic Insights Should Be the Fuel of the Marketing Engine 

Understanding what your customers are looking for, how they search for solutions, what they want: that’s the bread and butter of marketing. And it’s long been the purview of organic search data. But why don’t those same insights drive paid digital marketing strategy?

Your entire marketing engine, digital and otherwise, should be informed by the deep insights available around organic search. We know that the majority of traffic comes from organic search, which means there are massive amounts of information out there that tell us what people are searching for.

The plain truth is that we also know consumers trust organic search results more, which means higher quality content that aligns with what they’re searching for has tended to appear in the organic section of the SERP. Your paid digital marketing strategy should be directly informed by that knowledge.

A Holistic Digital Marketing Strategy Is the Future 

If your content is already appearing at the top of the Google search results for a targeted search term, is it also necessary to pay for space on that same SERP? That’s a waste of marketing resources and speaks more to the unnecessary separation of digital marketing activities than a strong, holistic digital marketing strategy.

Paid and organic search need to be approached together, in tandem. Here’s a key scenario that showcases what is possible when you approach your digital marketing strategy holistically:

1. Create a strong list of targeted keywords around your business goals and your organic search data.

2. Build value-driven, optimized content targeting those keywords organically using organic insights around customer voice, search intent, and keywords.

3. Deploy a paid search strategy that buys you real estate for important search terms you don’t currently rank for while you work your way up the rankings, especially for more competitive keywords.

4. Make sure the content behind your paid strategy continues to provide customers with the same value they expect from organic results.

Paid links should not be restricted to advertisements or generic content, they should deliver just as much value to your customers and prospective customers as your organic content does. People don’t ignore paid links because of some inborn distaste for them, they are just associated with low-value content because that’s how they’ve been used in the past.

Paid search should not mean bad content; instead, use the insights you glean from your customers’ organic search behavior to strategically use your paid search budget to support high value content in tandem with your efforts on the organic side of search.

Remember that all of your marketing should put your customers first. Whether it’s on a billboard or in a blog post or a PPC link, the purpose of your content is bettering the lives of your customers: connecting them with information or strategies, services or products that will bring value to them.

Understanding What Your Customers Value

 Data is important, but a strong digital marketing strategy is about more than just data: it’s about the insights you glean from it, the why behind specific search terms. As you consider future marketing campaigns informed by organic insights, ask yourself:

  • Why are people searching for this term?
  • What do they hope to find?
  • What challenges are they looking to overcome?
  • What solutions are already available to them?
  • How can I help?

How do you know what will bring your customers value? By applying organic insights to every facet of your digital marketing strategy. Approaching paid search with the same mindset as we apply to organic search and content marketing is key to a successful holistic digital marketing strategy.

And that applies to other elements of your marketing strategy as well: display ads, sponsored social posts, email marketing, and more. The more you understand about your customer and their behavior online, the more value you can provide. Organic search insights are about helping you help people.

Marketing execs are investing in organic search and insights more than ever before. Get the inside story on their digital marketing strategies for 2018 with our original research.