Create a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy
The content marketing land grab is happening. Right now. Everywhere. Are you actively participating in it yet? Are you just dipping your toes in the water or are you watching from the sidelines waiting for the “right time” to get in?
In case you are waiting until things “settle down” a bit or that all this digital marketing “stuff” starts making some vague sense, you might want to reconsider. The social media and content marketing train is leaving the station. Although many aboard are by no means guaranteed success, passengers who board the train early will be far more likely to reap a disproportionate share of the digital “pie” and customer’s mindshare.
You see, today’s Inbound Marketing leaders are playing for keeps. They are doubling down on digital, claiming their stake in the virtual, digital and online real estate. All signs are pointing towards increased spending and investments in non-traditional marketing activities. How much? Estimates vary widely, of course, but experts agree that digital marketing accounting for under 25% of the total marketing budget is dangerously low. Leading on-line marketers are probably spending more in the 50-75% range.
So what is a budding digital marketer to do? Is it perhaps a bit late in the game? No, I don’t think so. These are still early days for many industries and there is a great deal of digital “real estate” still up for grabs. But there is no time to waste.
Before you jump in with both feet (and no parachute), here are a few questions you should try to ask yourself and hopefully address in your digital marketing plan:
- Who are we trying to reach? Is it the whole world or can you identify key subsets, segments, profiles or customers. If they aren’t all the same then try to prioritize between them.
- What are their digital and on-line consumption/engagement paterns and profiles? What do your target audience(s), read, like, look/ask for? Where do they hang out on-line? Do they tend to use PCs, laptops, tablets, phones?
- What exactly are we trying to accomplish? You need to agree sooner rather than later on what you are attempting to achieve here. Is it: raising awareness, generating leads, stimulating demand, finding brand ambassadors, establishing yourself as an industry/lthought leader, engaging with customers, identifying new insights & product ideas, supporting sales, etc…?
- What is it that we specifically want to own or be known for? Understand what segments, conditions, specialties, product spaces or themes you specifically wish to own or be most closely associated with.
- What will our RTB (Reason To Believe) or differentiators be? You need to be able to articulate to your intended audience why they should trust or believe you more than anyone else?
- What resources, budgets and assets (internal or external) do we have at our disposal to support the mission? Understand if you can count on an internal stable of budding content creators or if you will require outside (agencies, freelancers, consultants, etc…) assistance. Do you have existing on-line platforms you can leverage or previous content you can repurpose/repackage.
- How pilot-able and scalable (locally and/or globally) are our digital marketing initiatives? You probably don’t want to plough all your resources (not to mention your personal reputation) into just 1-2 projects without first testing the waters. Start small, on multiple fronts, and see what works after frequent tweaking. Rollout and expand once you have perfected the recipe but always keep adjusting on the fly.
- What systems and tools do we have in place today? Figure out what you already have (check with IT, Corporate Marketing and Customer Service!) and what you will be needing (collaboration software, SM tracking applications, content management tools, etc…).
- What content can we sustainably offer that’s either informational, educational or entertaining? No sense putting out stuff that is of little value or that cannot be sustained over the long run. Low value material and inconsistency are two of the biggest digital marketing killers.
- How can we get Sr. Management buy-in and support? Are the big guys & gals on-board with your thinking? Do they really get it or are they just playing along because its the cool thing to do these days? If they are not totally on board, you can always use: fear (competition moving ahead, leaving us behind…), education (teach them using published studies and data on the impact of digital marketing); greed (think of the savings digital offers vs. traditional!); ocustomer engagement (think of insight gathering, market research and new product ideas waiting to be uncovered!). Remember to ask for their patience because these (untried) things often take time to take-off.
- What success metrics or desired outcomes have we established? Would be nice if everybody had an idea of what success might look like if you are planning to come back asking for more money.
- How capable, committed and confident is our marketing team? No sense charging down the battlefield if your troops aren’t behind you, if they aren’t properly trained or if they will desert at the first sign of trouble.
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