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Over the last year there have been lots of posts, presentations and decks suggesting that marketing needs to be holistic and that marketing material should take into account the multi-device universe that consumers now live in, equally in terms of SEO it needs to be aligned with other marketing messages. Here are a few that I’ve seen:

At Branded3 our work could be described as interdependent, meaning that each of our specific departments often interact at a different point toward the output of a completed project. In order to learn a little more about interdependency I thought it would be good to look at the theory, how recent is the theory behind interdependency and hopefully answer the following questions:

What do we mean by interdependent?

Relationships that are interdependent

Why is marketing interdependent?


The best place to start is probably by defining the themes in question:


Two or more people or things that are dependent on each other.


The management process responsible for  identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

Types of interdependency

There are four types of interdependency, and as a concept interdependency can be classed as a social science. In terms of resources that discuss the theory of interdependency one of the best is Organizations In Action by James D Thompson. This book outlines 3 key types of interdependency: Pooled, Sequential and Reciprocal and looks specifically at how tasks are completed in group structures. Other sources such as the Michael Foster Business School in Washington have also outlined a 4th form of interdependency, Comprehensive.


Tasks are completed independently and then are simply grouped together to show output.


Tasks are completed independently but each task builds on/adds to the previous task. Making the output the sum of various parts.


Each task requires the other to fully work, however individuals may interact along different intervals of the production in order to complete tasks.


Comprehensive needs a high level of interaction, coordination and collaboration between all parts and during all stages of the production.

Why is Marketing Interdependent?

To best answer this question let’s turn to possibly the most recognised marketing body, the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Take a look at their marketing mix planning tool page and you’ll find that they state how the entire mix requires interdependency and that different areas that look to reduce activity are often then replaced with an increase in another areas.

How does this relate to online marketing and specifically in my world SEO?

We know that SEO is a combination of many factors, there are a few surveys, studies and posts out there on this too. For example Moz’s ranking factors survey. The visualisation that Moz produced from the survey supports theory (and it is theory) that it takes more than ‘traditional’ SEO expertise to deliver great SEO results:

Weighting of Ranking Factors - Moz.


As with any marketing mix, it is a balance of these ranking factors that every site is working towards in order to have improved or reach their maximum, potential, organic visibility. Equally SEO activity probably relates to more than just a link – if it’s good enough to link to, is it good enough to share? Is it built well enough to not be restricted by device type? Is the content structured in a way that is going to help with SEO? How are users going to find the content? What additional question might they be answering? How else can our site help support their journey.

Relationships that are Interdependent

Clients. Agency. For me there’s no clearer cut example of reciprocal interdependency (except maybe a doctor and a patient). In order to do great work and meet great expectations then we need to know what that looks like so that expectations can be met. This is also vital in getting task by task sign off – how does £XXX amount of my budget relate to having improved SEO performance? As referenced by Creative Bloq:

“Client relationships should be a mutually beneficial partnership between you and your client.”

Header Image via Flickr Creative Commons.

Mike Jeffs

Author Mike Jeffs

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