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The Imperative for Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy
In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world (VUCA) every business needs to have a digital marketing strategy. An implementation plan needs to be in place with sufficient resource either internally or externally to ensure that the plans get executed in a timely manner if the business is to grow and achieve its objectives.
The challenge for most businesses is that digital marketing has become fragmented, complex and increasingly technical. Traditional marketing is becoming less effective and so there is a relentless migration to everything digital. The challenge going forward for those tasked with making digital marketing work for a business is that the rules of the game keep changing and what was right one day might actually get you penalised the next. (Just think of the changes to the Google search engine such as the Penguin and Panda updates.)
How Do You Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy?
Here are some questions that I ask businesses to think about:
- What is your digital marketing strategy?
- What budget have you agreed for the plan?
- What resources have you got to implement the plan in a timely manner?
- What training and development does the implementation team get to ensure their success?
- How do you measure what’s working and what needs improvement?
- How does the current performance match with the needs of the business?
The market is fragmented and unless you go to a large agency no one supplier can support you to implement a credible digital marketing plan. Has your business considered engaging a non-executive director with a background in digital marketing and technology so that there is somebody working with the business that can steer them through the minefield?
Developing the Plan
So in detail what do you need to think about when considering how digital marketing should be implemented in your business?
Here are some ideas of the things I would consider for a digital marketing plan:
- Set/Review the marketing objectives. What do you want to achieve? In 3 years’ time? 12 months? Broken down over the next 4 quarters? Next month?
- Review the previous period’s performance (What’s worked and what needs work.)
- Website (How well is it performing? What’s new on the site? Content, can it be found on Google, Yahoo & Bing? Would paid advertising make sense? Are there any partners you could work with to increase the number of visitors?)
- Social Media (Can it be used to increase sales? Generate leads? Improve customer service? Communication with customers and raise awareness of your brand?)
- Email marketing (How are you sending out regular emails to prospects and customers to communicate what is happening, in your markets, industry and of your products and services?)
- Marketing Automation (What systems can you set-up to get the systems to help you increase sales?)
- CRM – Customer Relationship Management software (How are you recording your teams’ contact with your customers? What can activity can you report on? Who is performing and who isn’t? )
- Marketplaces – Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping (How is this going? What has changed? What needs to improve? How much further growth can be achieved?)
- Web Based Customer Facing Systems (What can you do to allow your customers to access your systems and so reduce your overheads whilst improving customer service?)
- PR, Press Relations (What are doing to get your news out or demonstrate your expertise to your customers?)
- Thought Leadership / Expert Positioning (What are you doing to let the world know that you are the best at what you do?)
- Project Management (Which digital marketing projects are going well and which need support?)
- Set/review Budgets for the agreed activities. Compare actual against budget.
- Update the overall marketing plan
- Agree Actions for the next period
Hopefully, you will find some of these questions useful when working with your fellow board members when you are aligning your marketing objectives with the overall business strategy.
As a final thought, if any of the questions has struck a chord with you, what are you going to do differently tomorrow?