As humans, we are creatures of habit. The same can be said when it comes to marketing activities, and specifically the way we perceive communication channels. Being passionate about content marketing, I get a little irked when I hear certain individuals refer to our industry as being ‘below the line’.

The reason is that for decades, mediums such as TV, radio, print and outdoor were always the main channels through which brands communicated with customers, and rightly allocated the larger budgets towards them. Below the line strategies usually focused on niche channels and activities – for example, digital marketing and more specifically social media, SEO and of course content marketing. However, as all things do in this world, the strategies evolved.

Having previously worked in mainstream media, I know for a fact that many marketers become lazy and are not challenged enough to think out the box to determine which marketing spend gives them the best returns. When I see specific brands advertising in print, for example, I often wonder (sometimes cringe as well) what thought went into the strategy and how they were measuring the return, especially when it comes to more traditional channels. Having experienced it firsthand, I know for a fact that many marketing teams tend to allocate the same budgets year after year because it’s what has always worked for them. Or, they have a good relationship with a particular company and thus the odd lunch here and there guarantees next year’s spend.

If we look a little closer at the stats and shift in media usage over the last few years, the writing is on the wall for some channels – and referring to them as ‘above the line’ is no longer appropriate. In Australia, we are one of the world’s top social media participants. We also spend more time online than what we do listening to radio or reading print. Therefore, why do some of us still refer to content marketing, which encompasses digital marketing (social media, SEO, etc.), as below the line? Surely it’s time to recognise those marketing strategies as being above the line and relegate some of the more ‘traditional’ channels to below it.

Hopefully content marketing and all its wonderful channels will be at the top of the list when marketers are planning their budgets for the coming year, and hopefully the budget allocation reflects where the eyeballs of consumers have shifted to!