A few years ago professionals working in digital marketing were faced with numerous questions when it came to justifying their existence: what is a digital strategy? Why do we need one? How do we develop one? These are all legitimate questions; however, in 2015 and beyond it is essential that digital is integrated into your overall marketing strategy and I’m going to outline why in this blog.
Before we delve into the why let me give you some context. You may have heard the coined term ‘Web 2.0’ banded about and although this sounds like an updated version of the World Wide Web, in the more general sense it describes the trend of increased interaction and collaboration between individuals communicating with each other via social media. Today’s audience creates user-generated content in a virtual community rather than passively viewing content.
This revolution of digital communities is rapidly maturing; so ensuring they are central to any PR or marketing communications programme is essential. Businesses now need to include a digital element to their campaigns to ensure they actively engage with these online communities.
Customers today are deemed ‘digital natives’ – these people, many of whom would never have heard the click and tone of a dial-up modem and never known life without Google – intuitively search for information online, and have even changed the noun Google to a verb! They increasingly expect every organisation to communicate and trade the way they do… online.
Even those slightly older ‘digital immigrants’ – people that have grown up with the internet evolving – are adapting large chunks of this digital concept for their everyday use, be it shopping, banking, research or socialising.
Therefore, the businesses that develop a digital strategy and deploy a campaign with tactics that engage with the new audiences of digital will be the ones that will succeed significantly.
Wikipedia describes a strategy as ‘a high-level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty,’ thus, a digital strategy is a high-level plan that details how digital media and platforms can be used to achieve the goals of an organisation. Rather than just throwing a few posts out on some different social media channels, [such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Scoop.it!] make sure you are giving thought to the wider picture of how this activity will help you achieve your company wide goals.
To successfully engage digitally it needs to be fully integrated into your overall marketing strategy and not seen as a ‘bolt on’. Digital products, services and content need to support and reflect the additional marketing activities and be an extension of this core programme. Separating digital out, is a risky mistake many companies make. Now some of you reading this will think you have some decent digital activity underway and that your social media presence is ok. But if you’re reading this and unsure if you need a digital strategy, ask yourself:
- Do I need online/strategic direction?
- Do I know my online market share?
- Do I have a powerful online value proposition?
- Do I know my online audience well enough?
- Am I integrated in my current strategy?
- Is enough of my budget assigned to digital given the significance?
- Am I keeping up with the latest online tools?
- Am I optimising my digital channels?
As an integrated sales and marketing agency, we believe the points regarding value, optimisation and analytics are essential. We believe that all marketing and communications activity should deliver results that matter…increased sales and growth for your business.
So if you’d like to experience a true partnership contact us today and find out how we can help you achieve success for your business through a digital strategy.
By Scott Girling-Heathcote, Junior Account Manager at The Scott Partnership