What’s working best in digital marketing? is the wrong question

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I was recently asked what’s working today in digital marketing, what channels are most successful for me now. This is an odd question, when you think about it, and betrays a certain naive mindset. “What’s working best” implies that there’s a magic wand, a silver bullet that will fix your marketing woes.

What’s working best is governed by two things. First, skill governs what works best. I happen to love poached eggs and am terrible at making them. That doesn’t mean the dish is automatically a bad one; it just means I am relatively unskilled at preparing it. You may want email marketing to work really well for you, but if you’re bad at it, it’s not going to generate results. 


Second, as any engineer will tell you, use the right tool for the right job. There is no best marketing tool overall. There are tools that solve specific problems. If you don’t have the specific problem, the tools will be pointless. 

For example, social media is great for building and engaging audiences. If you have a new audience problem, social can be part of the answer. If you don’t have this problem, then social media marketing is a waste of time. 

If you have a lead nurturing problem, few tools work as well as email marketing. Properly and skillfully done, email marketing can reap enormous benefits. If you have a business in which lead nurturing is relatively unimportant, email marketing will simply be an expensive distraction. 

Rather than pursue a mythical ideal marketing channel, ask yourself these two questions: 

What problem do I have?
Do I have the skills needed for the tools that solve the problem?

You’ll arrive at business-changing solutions much faster this way!

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