Sep 20, 2023
Digital marketing offers enormous opportunities for businesses to expand their reach and target the right audience at the right time, especially using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).
But with a lot of opportunity comes a lot to consider as your audience has multiple touchpoints to discover and communicate with your brand. That’s why it’s essential to have a strategic digital marketing plan that’s aligned with your business plan in 2024.
It’s about being clever with your budget, being effective in using your resources (human and otherwise), and knowing as much about your audience (future and existing) as possible. It’s not enough to just use ChatGPT to figure out new blog posts, now is the time to immerse yourself in the opportunities offered by AI.
If you’re reading this and think you don't need a digital marketing plan or the plan you used in 2023 will be enough, you could lose out to brands that are busy planning right now.
Do you still need convincing? Here are 5 key benefits of having a digital plan to steer your marketing activities in 2024.
If you look at any company - big or small - there will be areas that need improvement in terms of efficiency.
Maybe you have multiple tools in place to track data across departments when an integrated system would allow everyone to access the same data in a few clicks. Or perhaps you’ve not optimized your paid media campaigns because nobody on the marketing team has been given responsibility for the budget or task.
When you plan for your marketing activities, you have the time to audit what’s gone before. You can gather reports and talk to team members to discover what’s worked well and what’s creating barriers. It’s also a great way to see opportunities to avoid action duplication which can be a drain on time and money.
Being efficient is about having a plan to optimize what’s working in terms of your SMART business objectives e.g., driving leads or revenue and abandoning processes or policies that may hinder growth.
Top tip: AI technologies can easily handle menial and repetitious activities such as data input, separating leads, and content creation. Try using Advanced Data Analysis in ChatGPT to analyze data exported from your marketing channels, and then ask specific questions about that data. Even basic tasks like organizing tables of data, turning big swathes of text into neat lists or tables, etc. with ChatGPT are a great way to save time.
Stimulate your creative process with ideas from generative tools like Clause, ChatGPT, and Midjourney. Just remember to treat its output as that of a keen but inexperienced intern!
“AI and machine learning offer brands and marketers an opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their marketing. Those gains can be applied to internal functions that customers never see and/or to external things that are customer-facing.” Jim Lecinski, Kellogg School of Marketing at Northwestern University
Marketers have stored a lot of data from which to gain insights to inform campaigns and messaging. The flip side is that sometimes there’s too much data and not every company has a data scientist or analyst in-house to help figure out which data is useful.
Taking the time to create a plan can help marketers identify areas where they are losing customers (e.g. click-throughs from a social media ad to the website). It could also help to understand what campaigns or activities have helped drive conversions (e.g. including relevant downloadables on blogs to drive data capture).
With GA4 having replaced Universal Analytics, marketers need to get up to speed and create custom reports that can drive better insights in 2024. Understanding the new features and reporting on GA4 (and any others you may use) will be crucial to helping you understand your customer journey and the best way to drive visits into leads.
Top tip: AI can help organizations eliminate any guesswork by using its research capabilities to develop a more effective marketing approach and open up new marketing opportunities. Many analytics tools have an automated insights section to highlight variances in traffic, conversions, and engagement. For example, Google Analytics now offers natural language search for insights, so you can just ask any question about your web or app users and most of the time it will pull out the answer.
Along with improving efficiency, a well-thought-out plan can help boost productivity. When Harvard Business Review conducted research with B2B companies in 10 industries worldwide, they found that commercial productivity leaders focus on three areas.
To do that, these high-performing companies focus on knowing the factors that drive productivity, what can be done to improve them, and if the right resources and staff are in place to achieve those goals.
All of these require a forward-thinking plan that understands where the company is, where it’s going, and where it needs to be.
Top tip: AI tools can help automate many jobs so you can redirect your time and energy to more difficult and strategic tasks. For example, chatbots can provide customers with 24/7 access to solutions.
Your marketing campaigns will only be successful if they talk to and reach the right audience. There’s no point putting time and effort into creating a great campaign if you don't have your buyer personas and digital channels in mind.
Planning can help you to reflect on your customers. You should ask yourself questions such as
These types of questions will help you dig into what’s changed over the past 9 to 12 months. We all know customer behaviors and preferences change quickly, so it’s up to you to research, plan, and try to predict to drive engagement.
Top tip: You can use ChatGPt to create buyer personas alongside audience research data by using Ubersuggest or SparkToro.
““AI is not another new website or social media network, it’s a tectonic transitional moment. We’ve had a few moments like this in business history, and I think we’re on the precipice of one now.” Jim Lecinski, Kellogg School of Marketing at Northwestern University
Return on Investment (ROI) is a crucial metric for marketers. It measures the profitability of an investment and lets you know whether a campaign or tactic has been successful.
That way, you can ramp up marketing activities that give you a positive ROI and abandon those with a negative one. Knowing the ROI of social media and content marketing activities can be particularly helpful.
Some ways to increase or improve ROI are:
Tracking ROI across channels will help you identify what really drives revenue rather than focusing on vanity metrics. Make sure to do this on a regular basis to keep on top of activities.
Top tip: Tools such as Google Ads and Meta use conversion data and audience insights with AI functionality to show your ads to the people most likely to convert. When set up correctly and you undertake strategy refinements, testing, and optimization, AI-powered campaigns can drive better performance.
Being able to research, plan and implement a digital strategy is a sought-after skill across industries. With our certified Digital Marketing Strategy & Leadership course you will know how to manage marketing activities and explore customer experience, analytics, communication, budgeting and how to drive business performance. Enroll today!