It baffles me that nearly half of businesses don’t have a digital strategy and yet I hear companies complain that they don’t get results from social media and online marketing.
Here are 10 reasons that we believe you need a digital strategy.
1. You’re directionless. We find that companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have clear strategic goals for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don’t have goals you likely don’t put enough resources to reach the goals and you don’t evaluate through analytics whether you’re achieving those goals.
2. You won’t know your online market share. Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven’t researched this. Perhaps more importantly you won’t understand your online marketplace – the dynamics will be different to traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behaviour, competitors, propositions and options for investing in marketing communications to target online audiences.
3. Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share. If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital marketing or you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!
4. You don’t have a powerful online value proposition. A clearly defined online customer value proposition will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal.
5. You don’t know your online customers well enough. It’s often said that digital is the “most measurable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar tools will only tell you volumes not sentiment. You need to use other forms of feedback to identify your weak points and then address them.
6. You’re not integrated. It’s all too common for digital activities to be completed in silos, whether that’s a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT or a separate digital agency. It’s easier that way to package digital marketing into a convenient chunk. But of course it’s less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.
7. Digital doesn’t have enough people/budget given its importance. Insufficient resource will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing and there is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.
8. You’re wasting money and time through duplication. Even if you do have sufficient resource it may be wasted. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organisation purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.
9. You’re not agile enough to catchup or stay ahead. If you look at the top online brands like Amazon, Dell, Google, Tesco, Zappos, they’re all dynamic – trialing new approaches to gain or keep their online audiences.
10 You’re not optimising. Every company with a website will have analytics, but many senior managers don’t ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once a strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email and social media marketing.
Now that we have 10 reasons to have a digital strategy here are a few tips:
- Understand the channel. Your strategy should be informed by customer online behaviour 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 different online channels. For example why should somebody subscribe to your newsletter and follow you on Twitter?
- 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.
- Develop channel partners. Find the key players and influencers in the value chain or ecosystem and form strategic partnerships.
There you have it, 10 reasons to have a digital strategy and a few tips. Based on Information Week 37% of SME’s are without a digital strategy blame it on lack of funds and 58% of large companies say they don’t have time. Blame it on lack of funds, yeah? Well I’ve got news for you, if you continue doing what you are doing and not investing in your brand one day you will have to give up the big house, the big car and the lifestyle that you have. Regarding the 58% of large companies they think they will stay large for long? Let me just remind them what happened with Blockbuster, Kodak, Woolworths and others? We all have equal time, the difference is what we prioritise it on.
How do you think large corporations succeeded? By not trying and testing different methods see what works and what doesn’t?
Hope this article helped you decide. Get in touch with us today to take your brand beyond by creating phenomenal digital strategy.