The world of digital is always evolving, and as a consequence, it’s necessary for marketing teams to have flexible strategies that change with trends and developments in the field.
While many marketing leaders recognize the impact of digital and have integrated into their marketing efforts, 49% have no defined digital strategy while 17% have it defined as a separate document.
In such a competitive e-commerce environment, it’s no longer prudent for businesses to not have a defined digital strategy or keep it apart from the marketing strategy. Marketing is now digital.
So for those with a digital strategy - defined, integrated or otherwise - let’s explore 5 ways to optimize it to drive digital transformation, customer engagement and revenue.
Assess & Refine Business Objectives
Business objectives, like any strategy, should be evaluated on a regular basis. The review should take goals met into account, along with those that were not realized and others that should expand due to successful outcomes. As the main goal of a strategy is to meet business objectives, it’s necessary to review these objectives when overhauling a strategy to ensure alignment.
The key to a successful strategy is looking at the opportunities that are available to an organization. To achieve this, interrogate questions such as:
- What do customers want from our company?
- What do consumers respond to on social media?
- How do we differ from competitors?
- Does the company have a USP and if so what is it? And do we capitalize on it in our content marketing?
- What trends are emerging that we need to be aware of?
- What are the most important things to our customers based on data?
- How can we communicate better with consumers?
- What platforms are customers using that we are not?
These type of questions help to identify gaps in the marketplace and may help your business understand its place in the marketplace and what consumers want from your product or service. With these questions answered, you can then map the answers to business objectives and reevaluate the strategy with digital in mind.
Performance indicators are key to a successful strategy. In essence, they help your business measure marketing efforts and track them on a regular basis to see change.
Like objectives, KPIs should change according to business conditions. For example, perhaps content has become a more integral part of your business and has turned out to generate high-quality leads. This shift in company focus and strategy means that KPIs should be created for content to track impact such as conversions or social sharing.
It can also be useful to set objectives against KPIs so key decision makers and team members are aware of goals as opposed to just setting numbers. Basing it on current data is also important, as it sets a benchmark and allows for growth. However, it's crucial to ensure that all KPIs are realistic and achievable otherwise any efforts will be set up to fail.
Bear in mind that an unwatched KPI is of no use. To ensure your organization's KPIs meet strategic objectives make them a priority for the marketing team and ensure that they are regularly monitored with set reporting structures.
48% of FTSE 100 companies now explicitly demonstrate linkage of KPIs to strategy - PwCTweet This
Any good strategy will be tailored to the audience you are trying to reach. Otherwise, at best it will be irrelevant, and at worst, fail to engage the audience your business is trying to attract.
This is where a good set of personas come in. It’s not enough to just treat each visitor as the same, but cohorts with their own interests and pain points. Re-examine current personas and explore elements that may not be currently part of your personas such as their preferred social media channels, topics of interest, contact with competitors, challenges faced (this is particularly important for a B2B audience).
Building on personas will ensure your marketing team knows as much as possible about the audience they are trying to reach and could reveal new platforms or tactics that are worth trialing to see the impact.
Another important element to this is mapping a customer journey. It’s not only important to know core details but also how individuals interact with a business and what routes they take. Creating a journey map will stop customers from falling through the cracks at various touchpoints and also create a seamless customer experience that creates return visitors and brand advocates.
Listen to Data
Digital marketing begins and ends with data. According to Forbes Insights, when properly applied, data analytics can drive growth and have a significant and positive impact on revenues.
For a marketing team, can help craft better messaging for campaigns, divert ad budget from one platform to another or allow marketing efforts to make the most of days and times that deliver the best results. In essence, it can help marketers to be better at marketing.
From a consumer perspective, the array of touchpoints on offer means there's a huge amount of data circulating within a business from website statistics to customer feedback to input from a sales team on a CRM. To be effective, a company needs to overlay this data and use it to garner insights and feed into a strategy that drives engagement and loyalty.
Ultimately the key to data is to listen to it and tweak accordingly in order to deliver on business objectives
Account for Compliance Issues
As society becomes more digital and globalized, there’s an increasing amount of personal data within organizations. An awareness of compliance is becoming more important for senior executives in relation to brand safety, transparency and ad fraud with 90% of marketers updating digital marketing strategies to address these issues.
In May 2018, a huge change to the marketing sector is coming in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation, the European Union’s latest data protection measure. Its impact on businesses and the way they market and sell is significant.
In order to feed into an effective strategy and prepare your business for compliance:
- Consult and examine the details of the regulation
- Organize all the information about the personal data you handle (such as where it comes from and whom you share it with)
- Update privacy policies, procedures, and data processing techniques
- Update policies for identifying and addressing data breaches
- Designate a Data Protection Officer if it’s required for your business
The impact of GDPR is still unknown, so building in preparation time will make sure that your business and strategy doesn't suffer as a result.
Optimizing a marketing strategy involves a full digital transformation that includes the re-examination of business objectives based on data, choosing new KPIs to track progress, and taking steps to understand your audience better to ensure that all digital marketing efforts are relevant, targeted and personalized.
No matter what changes are made, data should always be at the center of a strategy as it can tell provide insight into gaps in performance, successful and failing tactics and campaigns, and audience insights.
Finally, any marketing overhaul will also have to address the latest compliance issues because the more customers do online, the more data is collected and regulations are created to protect privacy in the digital world.