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Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital marketing strategy is crucial to success in digital marketing. And, yet, many marketers only do it half-heartedly if at all (to give a rough idea of this: 34% of Marketers Did Not Have a Documented Marketing Plan Last Year via Marketing Profs from Marketo). They neglect strategy simply because they just want to “get on” doing digital marketing, they don’t want to get caught up in complexity, or they confuse tactics with strategy, and more.
Not only is strategy crucial now, it’s only going to grow in necessity as the digital marketing landscape becomes ever more complex.

 

Background

Firstly, what is your company’s goal?
Company / customers – what’s your company’s goal and how this ties in with your customers?
Where are you now? This is key in developing your strategy, overall. 

Company
What is your company’s goal? Also, what are your company’s core competencies. What do others in your company expect of digital marketing? How realistic are those expectations? What opportunities do you hope might arise from digital marketing? How does everyone in the company participate in digital marketing? Is your digital marketing plan aligned to your company’s marketing strategy as well as your company objectives, overall?

Customers

Knowing your customers and focusing on them is key to your digital marketing strategy. You need to know who they are. What they want. And to go beyond their expectations. To really connect with them. To target them and personalize your content / marketing efforts to them in general. Are you offering them real value? Are you more focused on them or on talking about / promoting yourself? Also, how do they use and experience digital media? What do they think of your brand (if they have any thoughts about it at all)?

Competitors
Who are your competitors? What are they doing in digital marketing? Is it good / bad? What could you do better? What could you do differently?

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Objectives / Structure / Ecosystem

Different types of digital marketing objectives
(digital marketing objectives are not the same as a company goal/s although they can overlap)

The main ones:  
1) Branding (different kinds of)
2) Leads (different levels of)
3) Advocacy (people who consistently support your brand, influencing others in the process)
4) Customer service (often tied closely to branding, in particular with, for example, retailers),
5) Research (use the digital environment to create and develop new services and products)
A strategy can have more than one objective, often with different ones overlapping

Structure / Process
Objectives need, to a degree, structure / to be part of a process. Some might call this having a “modelâ€? (or – related to this – a “funnelâ€?). Structure/process is not the same as tactics – tactics are about the execution of objectives. Structure/process is useful to a degree. But not to over-do it. Three reasons: 1) the digital marketing landscape is becoming increasingly complex therefore flexibility, in general, is just as important as structure/process in a digital marketing strategy 2) Connected to the first point is the idea of real-time marketing – marketing on the-fly, used primarily for market research  3) Moreover, too much structure/process can lead to too much focus on the company at the cost of focusing on the customer or audience.

Digital Ecosystem
Connected to “structure� is digital ecosystem. This is about seeing how your different channels interconnect with each other. How they support each other. How each throw up opportunities in the other (for example, where social media promotes content that would otherwise remain hidden from view, or where quality content appears highly in organic search results). The digital ecosystem can, also, be used to consider where to re-target audiences using a different channel.
.

Analytics /  Measurement 

Digital marketing analytics is complex. It’s more than just web analytics.  It, also, covers email marketing software analytics, leads from contact forms, social media monitoring, call tracking, ecommerce sales, and branding measurements.
Looking at it another way it’s about:
1) Audience – analysing where you’re most connecting with your audience.
2) Revenue – analysing where your leads are making money
3) Integration – you want your strategy as integrated as possible (this leads to one part of your strategy supporting another, of one part of your strategy  throwing up useful insights about another)
4) Optimization – using analytics to optimize your marketing performance
And looking at it another way:

1) Measurement – it’s about measuring your digital marketing activity in general
2) Analysis – really digging deep and focusing on qualitative, not just quantitative, data 
3) Reports – coming to conclusions about how you can really use information to drive future decisions
4) Testing – to iron out doubts about insights
5) ROI – this isn’t the final goal of analytics. But it’s an important part of it.

Measurement – Basics
Measurement requires great analysis (and is connected to reports, testing and ROI) but here are some basics about measurement you need to get right before anything else:
- Objectives. Without good, clear objectives, measurements won’t work.
- Real. Avoid getting over-whelmed by measurements such as Facebook likes. Keep it real.

- Hard. Go for the metrics that are hard to measure, not just the easy ones.
- Right. You can do the wrong thing well. Are you doing the right thing well?
- Focus. Don’t over-stretch the number of metrics. Focus on the most important ones.
- Data. How are you going to collect data?
- Value. Not all channels are of equal value. Assign value to each one in order to reflect, more accurately, metrics overall.

Use analytics to drive decisions – CMO Survey (Feb 2014)
This survey forecasts there is going to be a 72% increase in analytics over the next three years. However, the report, also indicates that although marketers are using a lot of analytics, they are not using them to drive decisions.

 

Appendix – Strategy versus Tactics

Where strategy is focused on objectives (as well as analytics and so on), tactics is focused on the execution of objectives.
Success depends above all on strategy, and secondly, tactics (not the other way around).
Reasons for focus on tactics over strategy:
- so often, internet content is more about tactics than strategy (the topic of tactics is easier to discuss than strategy – for many reasons, one being that strategy, generally, requires more marketing experience and skills as well as, more importantly, a strong knowledge of the brand to work well – in other words, you can get away with being more generic in your discussion about tactics than strategy).
- so often, digital marketing presentations of stats, trends and predictions on the internet are focused more on tactics instead of looking at them in the full context of digital marketing strategy
- audiences get overwhelmed by technology and software focused on tactics, instead of looking at these, firstly, in the full context of digital marketing strategy


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