How to Create a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy
So, you’ve been tasked with creating a marketing strategy.
Maybe you’re a seasoned Marketing Director, albeit one with limited digital marketing know-how.
Or perhaps you’re not strictly from a marketing background, but your CEO or Managing Director has decided that – in lieu of a marketing department – you’re the best person to take up the mantle.
Either way, it’s a daunting task.
There are so many considerations to take into account, such as:
- Having to second-guess the CEO’s (not entirely clear) vision
- Not knowing what your budget should be
- Not having a consistent brand or brand story to build successful marketing upon
- Weighing up whether you should outsource marketing or recommend that you build an in-house team (the latter being a very expensive and risky option!)
- Having (if you’re a non-marketer) scant knowledge of marketing theory or (far more importantly!) real-life marketing experience
- Frankly, not knowing where the deuce to start!
It’s a minefield.
And believe us when we say that every marketer you meet has ‘been there’.
But, being the nice people we are, we thought we’d share some marketing strategy building blocks with you. And, hey, if it all seems a bit too much – or you and your CEO just can’t align on a shared marketing vision – we’d be more than happy to step in to help.
Marketing vs Digital Marketing – What’s The Difference?
Ask this question in front of certain people, and someone will roll their eyes at you and declare with a despairing tone “ALL marketing is digital marketing!”.
Which is wrong, actually.
Because it presupposes that traditional marketing serves no purpose these days.
TV advertising can still wow people. PR (or a modern hybrid of it) has some merit when it comes to ‘getting your message out there’. Local radio advertising can pay small dividends. And, let’s be honest, some folk still prefer to read things in print rather than on a screen.
And, yet, as worthwhile as some of these activities are, they are flawed, respectively, on the basis of the following (or a combination thereof). They’re:
1. Wildly expensive
2. Difficult to target
3. Not really measurable
Done right, digital marketing should be none of those things.
Which is why digital marketing – in the form of responsive websites that drive leads, blogs, email marketing, video, SEO, backlinking, digital design and so forth – is so much more effective than traditional marketing. But ONLY when it is (and please forgive us for shouting) JOINED UP AND MEANINGFUL!
Understand Your Target Audiences
Before you do anything, make sure you get to grips with who you’re really trying to market to, and how best to reach them.
To put it into broadly sweeping context, if the key decisionmakers and budget holders you want to put your products or services in front of are very serious, sensible sorts that wear smart clothes to work, it’s unlikely that they’ll be avid Tik Tok users.
But that’s not to say that they won’t be digitally savvy.
They may well:
- Watch videos on YouTube to get a better understanding of certain topics or approaches
- Read blogs written by authoritative thought leaders in their industry
- Recognise the enormous value of appearing high on search engines for certain competitive keywords or phrases
- Rely on apps to increase efficiency and make their jobs easier
It’s therefore crucial to build up a clear picture of your typical audience(s) before you decide which channels to focus on in your marketing strategy and its delivery.
A blend of LinkedIn, email marketing, blogging and SEO might (for instance) be a better bet for your audiences than the flashy and expensive one-off stuff, not least because it’s a targeted and sustainable marketing strategy to pursue.
Choose Sustainable Marketing Objectives
Now, we don’t want to be ‘Debbie Downers’ but it’s important to draw a distinction between lofty marketing ambitions and sustainable marketing goals or objectives.
Yes, you want 1000s of potential leads to your website each month.
No, that can’t be achieved in a mere matter of months – a really strong organic content strategy can take 12 months or more to really bear fruit, but is totally worth it long-term.
Yes, you want to appear at the top of search engine rankings for highly competitive industry keywords.
No, it’s not a good idea to blow your entire budget on PPC (pay per click) for short-term gains.
Yes, you want to pack your content marketing strategy with sexy stuff.
No, we don’t think you should go ahead with all those expensive high production animations before first putting down some solid SEO optimisation website groundwork that will stand you in good stead in the long-run.
Yes, you want to go viral.
No, a flash in the pan doesn’t equal long-term marketing success.
If you push ahead with marketing objectives that don’t align with those of your sales teams, there will be a disconnect that will ultimately result in you (or someone else!) having to draw up another marketing strategy in a year’s time.
Get joined up. Show your internal stakeholders why your approach will work. Use data to back up your approach. Don’t sell it to them on the basis of ‘gut feel’. Convince them to give your marketing strategy time to deliver its long-term objectives.
Matching Your Ambitions With Internal Capabilities
OK, so you want to:
- Host regular podcasts
- Produce blogs that get your potential customers nodding their heads in agreement
- Drive your brand to the top of search engines for your industry’s most relevant keywords
- Impress captive audiences with snazzy email marketing campaigns
- Go viral with social media campaigns
- And all that jazz…
Great. The ambition is good.
But do you have the internal capabilities to deliver high quality digital marketing campaigns to scale on a consistent basis?
For example, some of the best podcasters will tell you that it took 100 tries or more before they finally got the recipe right. Do you have the time, resources or patience to keep experimenting?
And, much as you might have a decent eye for design, there’s a world of difference between amateur graphic design and the real thing.
As for SEO, well, where do we start? It’s one of the most competitive and technical marketing disciplines out there. SEO isn’t something that you can just turn your hand at and expect to get results – it takes real, specialist expertise.
How Can You Outmaneuver Your Competitors?
Of course you don’t want to be doing exactly the same things as your competitors, especially when you know they have much bigger budgets to play with.
Think about it this way.
A football manager has a squad of skilful players with an average height of about five foot four, and no budget to spend on new players.
The team that’s historically dominated the league plays a long-ball, highly physical game that perfectly lends itself to the abilities of their big, aggressive players.
So, does the manager of the smaller team adopt the same tactics as the perpetual winners, even when every other team has tried and failed to compete with them on that basis?
No, a savvy manager would look to adopt a new strategy based on their own team’s strengths that exposes the weaknesses of the opposition. It might take time, but will work in the long-term. Just look at Spain and the way they’ve dominated the international footballing landscape after decades of under-performance.
Bringing the footballing analogy back to your marketing strategy, what happens when you analyse your competitors and assess them against yourself is learn crucial insights about:
1. Your strengths and weaknesses
2. The strengths and weaknesses of your bigger competitor(s)
3. How to disrupt those bigger competitors
The beauty of digital marketing is that it levels the playing field that bigger and smaller businesses compete on.
If you want context, a disruptive digital marketing strategy has played no small part in a small microbrewery based on the North-East coast of Scotland with an initially tiny operating and marketing budget (yes, we’re talking about Brewdog!) putting a serious dent in the global beer market.
Chetaru Will Use Your Budget to the Best Possible Effect
We’ve been lucky enough to work with sizable businesses that have many thousands to spend on digital marketing each month.
We’ve been equally fortunate to work with much smaller businesses that have monthly budgets of only a couple of hundred.
What we do for both is use those budgets to maximum effect to deliver powerful marketing and digital journeys.
Our impactful, consistent and, yes, FANTASTIC digital marketing is built upon sustainable strategies that we build in close partnership with our clients. It’s an approach that we call Digital Solutions that’s based upon our guiding principles of ‘Grow, Evolve, Connect’.
If you’re looking for whizz-bangs and smoke-and-mirrors that amount to not much more than hair metal concert pyrotechnics, that’s your choice – but we’re not the agency for you.