When it comes to the success of your brand’s digital marketing, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is a documented annual strategy. A documented strategy makes you 42% more likely to reach your goals. And yet, 49% of businesses do not have a clearly defined digital strategy (Smart Insights).
To be clear, an annual strategy can be created at any time. If you don’t have one, now is the best time to start, even if you're part way through your year.
Marketing strategies can be complex and sophisticated. Surely, the longer you participate in strategic planning the more layered your strategies will become.
If you're struggling to get started, or your strategy needs to get back to the basics, here is an easy framework to follow that begins with this question:
What if your digital marketing strategy was simple?
A strategy is a plan that guides your business toward achieving its goals. It sets you apart from your competition and gives your team a clear direction to move forward. An effective strategy often includes your goals, objectives, key results (how you plan to measure success), an action plan and a clear timeline.
A digital marketing strategy is a plan for how your digital marketing efforts will help your business achieve its goals. Keep in mind, you could remove the word “DIGITAL” from the sentence above and it would be just as true about your global marketing strategy.
Your digital marketing strategy must directly connect to your brand's overall business strategy. It must be aligned on the same goals, objectives and key results.
If your business goals and digital marketing strategy are not aligned, it will be dead on arrival.
Here’s a simple digital marketing strategy framework that asks six essential questions:
Starting with “why” is a powerful way to ground your strategic plan in what matters most. According to bestselling author Simon Sinek, starting with “why” inspires others to action, both internally and externally.
Your brand’s why, its purpose, the reason your brand exists! If you have not documented your brand’s purpose, now is the time to start. Try to get your “why” down to one sentence.
Remember, this is not what your brand does. It’s not your product or service.
Step two, identify and document your audience. Who are you targeting? Who is likely to buy your product or service? What problem does your brand solve for them? Without a clear understanding of your customer, how do you expect to market to them?
One of the most effective ways to properly understand your target audience is to create customer personas. In short, personas are detailed descriptions of your ideal customers. They are fictional profiles created from deep knowledge and market research about your existing or desired audience.
I’m constantly surprised at the number of brands that do not have their target audience documented, instead, they rely on tribal knowledge.
Documented customer personas help everyone on the team have a clear picture of who you're trying to market to and why they're likely to respond positively.
Step three, use your customer personas to document the content topics, themes, and formats your audience will engage with.
Example Topics: New Product Highlights, Lifestyle and Customer Features, Products In Use, Deals and Discounts, Testimonials and Reviews, and more!
Once you’ve outlined your topics and themes, it’s time to outline the content you want to create to get the conversation started with your audience. One way to get the most out of your content is to follow the Content Capital Strategy.
Possible Content Formats: Blog Posts, Videos, Podcasts, Webinars, Photos, Experiences, Whitepapers, Infographics, and more.
In the previous steps, you outlined your audience and the content they will engage with. Now it’s time to distribute and amplify that content.
When considering this question, you want to look for channels your audience is likely to engage with.
Consider all earned, owned, and paid digital channels like social media, your website and advertising. Also, consider how your audience engages on these channels based on their device. Smartphone and tablet use is often different from desktop.
One of the best ways to understand and codify where your customers spend their time is to document your Customer Experience Strategy and Customer Journey Map.
Your customer experience strategy is the documented plan in place to deliver a positive, meaningful experience across all touchpoints. Similarly, your customer journey map, or buyer's journey map, is the documented paths your customers are likely to take as they travel through several stages: awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty.
When paired with your customer personas, these three frameworks can be powerful tools to understand a 360-degree view of your audience.
The second to last step of your simple marketing strategy is to document how you will measure your performance. At Fratzke we often say: “what gets measured, gets done!”
We recommend outlining in simple terms the key results that matter most. Select up to five key performance indicators to measure. Make sure everyone on the team understands the data points, and why they matter.
In your strategy, document your KPIs, what they are today, your new targets, and a realistic time period for reaching these growth targets.
When selecting your KPIs. also consider what tools you can use to analyze and automate your data gathering.
Now it's time to translate your strategy into an action plan. At this phase of the process it’s important to continue to keep it simple! Document the top three initiatives and supporting tasks that will help jumpstart your strategy into action. Include the initiative, the KPI attached to it and the priority level, effort level, and expected delivery date of each supporting task.
When it comes time to operationalize your strategy, we recommend following The Five Ps Framework for Marketing Operations. The Five Ps Framework helps you to better understand performance, create processes, assign people to initiatives, determine what platforms to use, and leverage partners to execute your digital marketing strategy to perfection.
When it comes to the success of your brand’s digital marketing, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is a documented annual strategy. If you follow the simple digital marketing strategy framework outlined in this article, you will be in a great position for future growth. Remember that 49% of businesses do not have a clearly defined digital strategy, which means giving your brand a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
If you're looking for a partner to help you and your team develop a winning digital marketing strategy, Fratzke Consulting can help! We have a proven track record of driving transformative growth for mid-size and enterprise businesses.
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