WHAT IS A DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY?
The term “digital marketing strategy” is often used loosely when talking about future plans, but what exactly is it and what should be its scope? You may know, but others won’t, so it’s worth briefly scoping it out so your vision is clear and agreed with colleagues in your organization.
For us, the key thing to decide when creating your digital marketing strategy is whether it is limited to creating a plan for more effective digital marketing communications or whether you broaden the scope to look at potential new business and revenue models. For example, retailers should consider each of the 7Ps of the marketing mix such as Product, Pricing, Place, Promotion and service to see how they can best be refined.
You can see there is a risk that the Internet and digital media are treated as ‘just another channel to market’ without review of the opportunities to offer improved, differentiated online services and content. We recommend that your digital marketing strategy is wider than just digital marketing communications to fully reap the benefits of digital marketing.
Strategy Recommendation 3 Define the scope and labelling of digital strategy Define which customer touchpoints and channels need managing as part of a digital strategy so the scope of digital marketing is clear amongst your coworkers and with your agencies. Depending on your type of organisation and terminology you may label the strategy differently, we have seen of all these working with different organisations, for example:
- Digital strategy, digital business or ebusiness strategy – a strategy for using digital technology and digital media to support goals across an organisation. This may explore new business models, varying elements of the marketing mix like Product, Pricing and Place (Distribution).
- Multichannel, omnichannel marketing or Ecommerce strategy – A broader strategy typical for retail or transactional companies integrating web and mobile site sales with distribution through physical stores or catalogue phone sales. This will again look at options for varying propositions in different channels.
- Digital marketing or E-marketing strategy – Typically a marketing communications focus seeking to grow a business through improved digital communications across different touchpoints integrating customer journeys across different touchpoints including website, mobile marketing and digital communications channels for customer acquisition and retention.
- It seems crazy to have so many ill-defined terms floating around, but these have evolved over the years, so it shows the importance of defining your scope.
- We can’t state that one scoping is superior to the other since it will vary by type of organisation. If the options of new business models are already established within the business strategy then digital marketing strategy will just focus on communications.
- In this guide we focus on creating a digital channel plan using integrated digital communications to grow a business. We do explore options for using digital media to add to a brand proposition, but without looking at the options of varying pricing and creating digital products.
What is it? Digital marketing strategy Creating an integrated digital communications strategy for a brand which requires specific channel targeting, channel propositions and channel partners based on customer preferences.
This is how we see digital strategy should be tackled since it’s a channel strategy. This means that you should:
- Understand the channel. Your strategy should be informed by customer online behavior and preferences. In particular, understand which intermediary sites influence purchase and how your customers switch between the channels.
- Set objectives for future channel contribution. This includes specific monthly targets for both direct (online) sales and indirect (offline) sales.
- Identify and prioritise target audiences. As with traditional marketing, targeting the right audiences is key. Digital media enable you to micro-target.
- Encourage usage of the channel. You still need to communicate the benefits of using this channel to encourage switching and enhance your brand.
- Create propositions to emphasise the differences. This includes differences between online channels and other channels.
- Support integration between channels. Although you want to emphasise the differences, that doesn’t mean the channel shouldn’t be integrated. Customer journeys should be seamlessly integrated.
- Review how competitors use the channel. Understand their targeting and propositions, where do they excel?
- Develop channel partners. Find the key players and influencers in the value chain or ecosystem and form strategic partnerships.
What should go into a digital strategy? You can see that a digital strategy has many similarities to the main parts of traditional marketing strategies, but it’s focused on managing the specific issues of digital strategies. To conclude this introduction, these are the big digital strategy questions which we will cover and those which you should think about and aim to answer within your plan:
- How do we use digital channels to grow our business?
- How do we use digital channels to add value to our brand?
- How do we make sure our activities are aligned with our business goals?
- Which audiences are we targeting? Who are the priority audiences?
- What is our online value proposition for these audiences?
- Which digital marketing platforms are best to deliver this proposition?
- How do we best integrate channels? r 8. How do we achieve our goals through intermediaries, partners and publishing sites?
- How do we achieve sales growth through customer lifecycle strategies?
- How do we reach our audience – which channels do we prioritise?
- How do we encourage our audience to participate and convert?
- How do we get our audience to engage through time across the customer lifecycle?
- How do we resource, structure and manage digital marketing as part of a digital transformation programme?