Strategy & Planning - Course

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Benefits

Having a robust budget and resource plan brings a number of benefits.

Reduced costs

If you put a robust plan with great benchmarks in place, you need to make sure that you don't overstep the mark. And in today's constrained context, it's becoming even more important that organizations have this robust plan in place to be able to control their costs.

Expert personnel

You can also get expert personnel into the fold. You must have the right experts around the table to help to understand:

  • What exactly the budget is and looks like
  • What adequate level of resourcing do you need so you don't overspend on the one hand, or underservice on the other
  • how the plan should evolve for maximum impact

Consult with experts

You're able to consult these people on a regular basis. It's an iterative approach. How does your budget and your resourcing evolve over an annual cycle? Perhaps it's reviewed every month or every quarter. And these experts help to determine exactly the level of budgeting up and down, resourcing up and down, that you need to go to, based on past experience and past data.

Tailored payment models

You also can tailor some of the payment methods that you have so you can create the terms that work for your business. A classic issue that causes a lot of businesses to fail is that they get into cash flow troubles. By managing your payment cycle and also having products and services to bolster any cash flow issues, you can mitigate against that.

Effective use of time

If you overwork people, you're not going to get the best out of them and, indeed, there's a good chance they'll leave. If you underwork people, all you're doing is wasting resource and budget. Getting the optimal mix and balance between the two is really important. If you conduct a robust planning process across these two dimensions, you can make effective use of your time and your team's time, leading to higher levels of productivity across the organization.

Stakeholder engagement

When thinking about budgeting and resourcing, you need to consider the entire organization, and engage wider stakeholders. This will enable you to create synergies across the entire organization.

Here's how to execute a stakeholder engagement strategy:

  1. Engagement strategy: Clearly articulate exactly what the engagement approach needs to look like, what are the various strands to that approach, what are the ways in which you want to engage with your customers, and then be able to map that out in a robust way.
  2. Stakeholder mapping: Next, do a stakeholder mapping exercise. This determines the key players that will be influenced and need to be brought into the mix in order to be able to execute the engagement strategy that you have. There could be a variety of different individuals, including people like compliance teams or agencies that sit slightly outside the formal organization. Stakeholder mapping could also involve getting in touch with your customers. You may want to co-create the experience with them.
  3. Preparation: Then start to make preparations, to plan out a robust process to be able to execute that plan. This will involve the budget and resourcing, how long will it take, how much money will it take, how many people are required to be able to deliver to the plan.
  4. Engagement: Give individuals and stakeholders a sense of the level of engagement that is required from them. Because if you don't, they may disappoint you later on if they're unable to do the things that you need them to do within the time scale that you require. Keep them up to date with how the plan is progressing. You may have so many stakeholders that it becomes difficult to keep track of all of them, and to keep them continually updated and engaged. Remember that most stakeholders won't feel as passionately about the project or strategy as you will. So how you bring them on, on the journey, will be a critical component to see the success of that plan.
  5. Action plan: Finally, you need to make stuff happen. Do this in a phased way. Don't be unrealistic about the goals that you can achieve within the time period and the budget, and resource constraints that you're under. Often, it's a case of creating something in the first instance, which perhaps could be a 1.0 plan. Once that's executed and in market, you can then take the feedback, and then start to craft out what 2.0 looks like. It's an effective way to not only get something quick to market, but also to be able to engage your stakeholders because you'll have proof that the plan is working and, also, one of the things that you need to iterate, to make it more effective for your customers moving forward.

Ultimately, however, how you engage with your stakeholder depends on your own context. Take some of these key points around stakeholder engagement and apply them to your organization. Always easier said than done, but do have a goal.

Now when thinking about some of the organizational considerations around budgeting and resourcing, it's always a complex issue. Often, organizations themselves are very restrained and constrained in the environment in which they operate. One bad operating period can mean that budgets and resources need to be slashed quite considerably and, as a consequence, some of the key strategic focus and plans that the organization had need to be either put on hold or executed with less people and less money. So we need to think about how the wider organization, and the plans that they have in the pre-operating context. These can then determine some of the ongoing plans, the budgets, resources and how the strategy plays out over the longer term.

Benefits

Careful budgeting and resourcing brings a number of benefits:

  • Lower costs: One of the saving graces that organizations have in today's context is that, often, putting money in doesn't always mean a certain level of money out. If you think about challenger brands, they have less budget and yet they're able to take that budget and do much more with it. See how that can play out in your own context, perhaps to actually do more with less. Clearly, using digital allows you to lower some of your costs. When you used traditional channels, your costs would have been higher.
  • Better experiences: You may also be to have better experiences to raise revenue. Think of the many channels you can use via digital. You can create a better experience for your customers – give them more touch points, for instance – but not necessarily have to increase cost as a consequence. And what this could give rise to is incremental opportunities to raise your revenue. A good example of this is cash-back sites. They present an additional way to reach out to new segments of different customers whilst being able to maintain your existing channels of revenue generation. So cash-back becomes a really nice way to gain incremental revenue opportunities.
  • Retention: It is far cheaper to sell to an existing customer or to retain an existing customer than it is to actually get a new one. Now, this holds mostly true in today's constrained organization environments. So customer retention becomes even more critical to protect the existing revenue that you actually have within your organization.
  • Scale: How do you scale up? Organizations must grow. No organization wants to stay static. So organizations need to put plans in place to invest in key areas in the business that will effectively give them the biggest bang for their buck. Digital communications and strategies are often a good way to scale up, without actually having to increase costs.
  • Diversification: Often, when trying to come up with new ideas to generate revenue, people stay within the same vertical, and try and offer more of the same product. In a saturated market or a mature market, there may not just be the market potential to be able to have and offer that same product. So you have to diversify. You create different product ranges across different types of product segments, which then enable you to perhaps offer these products to your existing customers, so you're gaining incremental value by your existing customer base as well.
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Richie Mehta

Ritchie Mehta has had an eight-year corporate career with a number of leading organizations such as HSBC, RBS, and Direct Line Group. He then went on setting up a number of businesses.

Richie Mehta

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE

Introduction
Richie Mehta Richie Mehta
Skills Expert

This module introduces the key concepts underlying the Digital Marketing Institute’s 3i Framework for selecting and implementing the best digital strategy for your organization. It provides an overview of the key components in an effective digital strategy, which are expanded upon in much greater detail in subsequent modules. It also covers different types of business strategies, the difference between a business value proposition and a digital value proposition, and the importance of robust strategic management to maintain a long-term strategy.

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