Crafting a Digital Marketing Strategy
Any activity with an end goal (whether it’s winning a war, building a city, or selling a product) should have a blueprint in place for every person in the organization to follow. In digital marketing, however, there is no single definitive approach—each business must create its own roadmap. However, there are questions you can use to guide the process.
A strategy needs to cover who you are, what you are offering and to whom, and why and how you are doing so. The steps and questions below cover what an organization should be aware of when creating and implementing a strategy that will meet its marketing objectives and solve its challenges.
Step 1: Examine the Context
The first step in crafting a successful strategy is to examine the context of the organization and the various stakeholders:
- What is the context in which you are operating (PESTLE factors) and how is this likely to change in the future?
- Who are you, why does your brand matter, and what makes your brand useful and valuable?
- Who are your customers, and what needs, wants, and desires do they have?
- Who are your competitors? These may extend beyond organizations that compete with you on the basis of price and product and could also be competition in the form of abstracts such as time and mindshare.
Thorough market research will reveal the answers to these questions.
Step 2: Examine Your Value Exchange
Once you have examined the market situation, the second step is an examination of your value proposition or promise. In other words, what unique value can your organization add to that market? It is important to identify the supporting value-adds to the brand promise that are unique to the digital landscape. What extras, beyond the basic product or service, do you offer to customers?
The internet offers many channels for value creation. However, the value depends largely on the target audience, so it is crucial to research your users and gather insights into what they want and need.
Content marketing is the process of conceptualizing and creating this sort of content. Examples of value-based content include a DIY gardening video for a hardware brand, a research paper for a business analyst, or a funny infographic for a marketing company.
Step 3: Establish Digital Marketing Goals
When setting your digital marketing goals, there are three key aspects to consider: objectives, key performance indicators (KPIs), and targets. Let’s look at each one in turn.
Objectives are essential to any marketing endeavor. Without them, your strategy would have no direction and no end goal or win conditions. It’s important to be able to take a step back and ask several questions:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- How will you know if you are successful?
Objectives need to be SMART:
- specific—The objective must be clear and detailed, rather than vague and general.
- measurable—The objective must be measurable so that you can gauge whether you are attaining the desired outcome.
- attainable—The objective must be something that is possible for your brand to achieve, based on available resources.
- realistic—The objective must also be sensible and based on data and trends; don’t exaggerate or overestimate what can be achieved.
- time-bound—Finally, the objective must be linked to a specific timeframe.
Key Performance Indicators
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the specific metrics or pieces of data that you will look at to determine whether your tactics are performing well and meeting your objectives. For example, a gardener may look at the growth rate, color, and general appearance of a plant to evaluate whether it is healthy. In the same way, a marketer will look at a range of data points to determine whether a chosen tactic is delivering. KPIs are determined per tactic, with an eye on the overall objective.