Digital Marketing Without a Strategy is Like Starting a Business Without a Plan
18 October 2014 Leave a comment
When I’m visiting companies using digital marketing and social media, I come across many of them who started in digital without a formal plan. They say “Digital and social are so new and changing all the time, we don’t know what we should be planning. So we start experimenting and see what works and what doesn’t.” I agree with them that digital is a new domain, that changes fast. My response to that is “Without a digital marketing plan, you don’t know where you’re going”.
Adobe partnered with Econsultancy to ask 2500 marketing professionals what were their key priorities and challenges for 2014. Here are the top five headlines that this B2B and B2C marketing report revealed. What are your digital marketing priorities for 2014?
Using digital marketing without a strategy is still commonplace
To me it’s like starting a business without a plan. I’m sure that many of the companies in this category are using digital media effectively and they could even be getting great results from their search, email or social media marketing. But I’m equally sure that many are missing opportunities or are suffering from the other challenges I’ve listed below. Maybe the challenges below are greatest for larger enterprises who most urgently need governance. There may be less need for a strategy in smaller companies.
Five most important reasons why you may need a digital channel strategy
- You’re without direction – I find that companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have clear strategic goals for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones
- You won’t understand your online marketplace – the dynamics will be different to traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behaviour, competitors, propositions and options for marketing communications
- Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share – if you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch
- You don’t have a powerful online value proposition – a clearly defined online customer value proposition will help you differentiate your online service, encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal
- You don’t know your online customers well enough– it’s often said that digital is the “most measureable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes not sentiment
Three most useful marketing models to support marketing strategy
Maybe because of my IT and Business Development background, I’m a big fan of using practical models. In the last 50-60 years there have been quite a few marketing models passing by. Although they all have their strong points, some of them are so complex, that either I’ve used the essence of each one or didn’t use the model at all. There are three models which I find very useful both in traditional, offline marketing and in modern, online marketing.
This is one of the most widely used models, using a simple way to identify how a company markets its products or services. Still, the way it’s been set up marks the era of traditional, offline marketing in which ‘push’ was the magic word instead of modern, digital marketing in which we tend to listen to and engage with customers through social media marketing.
Also widely used, this three phase process model includes analyzing which distinct customer group exist and which segment matches best before implementing the communication strategy tailored for the selected target group. In a new automated form the concept of this model can be found in marketing automation solutions, where personalization is one of the strong advantages.
The acronym stands for Situation, Objective, Strategy, Tactics, Actions and Control. It turns out that the SOSTAC™ model is specifically designed for digital marketing planning. It’s therefore my number one favorite model in the digital marketing domain.
Now it’s your turn
What marketing models, if any, have you been using and what’s your experience with each one of these? Share it in the comments.