E-consultancy posted an interview with Mark Wright the winner of the last apprentice series, and it got me thinking about Front and Substance when it comes to digital marketing, as I think that his business is no different from a lot of digital marketing agencies. In my view there are 2 aspects to marketing “Front” and “Substance”. Like many agencies Mark’s is big on the “Front”. As a salesman you would expect that, but if he is pitching himself alongside the likes of MOZ (interesting that he refereed to them as SEOMoz, a name they ditched quite a while ago!) he needs to have substance too, and his website does not demonstrate that. Nice design (front) but very little substance (2 blog posts on 4th March. I presume this was the date the site launched). Good digital marketing is about delivering engaging, sustainable content that communicates a consistent, message and then communicating it out using the available tools (Currenly social media, email etc). Too many agencies use front and a good sales patter to sell their services, but then struggle to follow up with the substance. Part of the issue is that the majority of digital marketing agencies fall into 2 categories. The first still have the old pre web mindset of campaigns & projects, they are basically designers and treat a website like a print job (Once it goes live, job done, move onto the next project). This is neat and easy to manage, but in reality it doesn’t deliver in the long term, and quickly becomes stale. The others focus totally on the techie side (SEO, Analytics etc) or are selling the next big thing, (SEO, Social Media, “Content Marketing” etc), these latter group tend to be focused very short term, and delivering leads now is their primary goal, again very valid in principal but to me this is primarily sales promotion rather than marketing, and in isolation, is hard to sustain, rarely delivers on the promises in the medium and ling term. Our approach is different, in that yes we agree that a professional looking website is important, as is effective use of the tools available and delivering leads, but marketing should be substantial, and be considered in the context of a long term strategy, It needs to be sustainable, and must have measurable goals in both the long and short term. In other words, marketing needs both Front & Substance in equal measure.