Thinking of Marketing as an Ecosystem

Thinking of Marketing as an Ecosystem

Marketing, like ecology, is a complex ecosystem of reciprocal relationships thriving in a network of mutuality. Parts grow, interdependence begins and symbiotic relationships form. It adapts to each new season.

Mutual Reinforcement in a Marketing Ecosystem

On the organizational or micro-level, marketing is a highly interconnected, mutually reinforcing and complex ecosystem of paid, owned and earned media tactics – part digital and part traditional. Examples include:

  • Brand strategy and strategic plans build strength upon strength.
  • Magazine stories lift program/service offerings; in turn, program/service offerings imbue the stories with context and relevance.
  • Tightly aligned page content and SEO meta-coding persuades humans and influences the Google bot alike.
  • Content marketing creates a rising tide of website visitors, and paid advertising lifts the site visitor volume disproportionally.  
  • The presence of the brand in both Google organic and Google paid results creates a four-fold increase in click-throughs.
  • Billboards and the website tango to enhance brand reputation.
  • Lean print pieces and advertising complement smart websites.
  • Landing pages and digital ads join hands to elevate the brand.
  • Website pages dance gleefully alongside hermetically-sealed landing pages. 
  • Musical social media posts sing together to create a harmony of hope.
  • Analytics across marketing channels tell an emerging story. For example, on an elementary level, billboards create a lift in overall traffic and paid advertising raises organic Google searches. On a liminal level, branding lifts all KPIs.
  • The brand informs every touch point, and everything builds the brand.
  • All roads lead back to the website, the digital soul of the organization.

Just as the single greatest predictor of ecological health is the diversity of flora and fauna, the single greatest predictor of marketing success is the diversity of mutually reinforcing tactics — where each part amplifies the other and the whole is larger than the sum of its parts.

On the macro-level your organization exists in a web of relationships with partners, influencers and suppliers. Your long-term success as a brand depends on building trust with these players turning them into recommenders and feeders. Examples include:

  • Partners and suppliers generating a steady stream of referrals for you and you reciprocating.
  • Influencers in digital channels becoming your brand ambassadors and you promoting them.
  • You conducting joint marketing events, giving joint presentations and writing co-branded case studies.

Care and feeding of partners, suppliers and influencers is an integral part of all successful brands.

Disease in a Marketing Ecosystem

Just as in ecosystems, when one part is sick, the sickness permeates and affects the whole.

On the micro-level, a transactional marketing message in paid advertising weakens relational brand reputation; a misconfigured domain or web server leads to erroneous conclusions in website analytics; a broken inquiry follow-up process reflects poorly on the effectiveness of the entire brand; leaning on one-half of the brand pillars will build a less holistic brand.

On the macro-level, falling out of favor with partners, influencers and suppliers will prevent your long-term growth.

Achieving Prosperity in a Marketing Ecosystem

In marketing, as in ecology, pilot-and-scale strategy works turning one success into two and two successes into four. First, experiment, assemble and grow each part – creating a groundswell, unleashing reciprocity and mutual reinforcement along the way. Next, facilitate bridge-building between disparate parts. Finally, create initiatives in both the organization’s micro marketing ecosystem and the larger macro business ecosystem. Let collaborative victories snowball into unstoppable momentum. This is how brands begin to grow trust and thrive.

If you are seeking a agency marketing partner who brings ecosystems-based thinking to your marketing, please contact us.