Guest Column: Set your digital marketing strategy apart from your competitors: Patel Nasrullah, Peerbits
Smart Insights and Technology for Mobile (TFM) conducted a survey on 609 companies under the study Managing Digital Marketing.â€™ The study indicates that 44 per cent of businesses surveyed do not have a defined digital plan or strategy, although they are active in digital marketing. Likewise, nearly half (49 per cent) donâ€™t have a clearly defined marketing strategy.
It seems that businesses are working campaign to campaign, planning reactive digital marketing approaches rather than annual strategies. This shouldnâ€™t be the case with companies.
To gain the most from digital platforms, a structured and planned approach based on a solid strategy will give the best results. Without structured plans, there is a danger that you will be subject to â€˜shiny object syndrome,â€™ always chasing your tail, as Jeff Bezos of Amazon says.
Plans help businesses to prioritize, set goals and resources at the right level to hit targets. Here is how you can set your digital marketing strategy apart from your competitors.
1. Identify present digital marketing capability
Does your company have the right capabilities in place to make the most of digital marketing? Whether companies are able to deliver on the potential of digital channels to contribute value depends on whether they have the right capabilities in place across the company for all the digital touchpoints that need to be managed.
In the study, more than 70 per cent businesses rated theirs one to three on a scale of five, where one means â€˜No Strategyâ€™ and five means â€˜Agile Strategic Approach.â€™
The first part for any business is to identify its current digital marketing capabilities. A true picture of digital marketing capabilities tells you how far you have travelled and how far you need to go. This helps to identify and prioritize processes that enable future improvements. Ultimately, an edge over your competitors.
The above chart should give you a clear picture where your present capabilities are at and where it should head towards for a market leading capability.
2. Adopt digital transformation programs
Upgrade your capabilities by planning a transformation program. Nearly four in 10 (37 per cent) have no plans to run a digital transformation program. 33 per cent are planning to run a program (similar to our 2016 report, which was at 34 per cent) and 21 per cent have started within the last two years. Less than one in 10 (9 per cent) have a digital transformation program already in place.
A significant proportion of organizations four in 10 (37 per cent) have no intention to implement a program because they feel it is inappropriate for their type of business.
Only a small percentage have had a program in place for over two years. This highlights that many businesses are still in a period of transitioning to being â€˜digital first,â€™ and the process of digital transformation is far from finished.
Well if you too are in the period of transition, you must rush through the period and insist on applying the strategy quickly. So that, when your competitors are ready with theirs, yours is almost a year old and already yielding results.
3. Integrate with traditional marketing
Integration was always a challenge, however three in 10 (32 per cent) are actively trying to integrate digital and traditional marketing activities, with another three in 10 (29 per cent) also saying they have limited integration. 14 per cent say they are fully integrated but 13 per cent say they have no integration at all.
Separate digital marketing plans and teams carry a great deal of risk and lead to silos for digital marketing. Businesses must make integration with traditional marketing a part of their digital marketing to begin with.
Without integration, the execution would be in disharmony and distort your brandâ€™s message. A parallel digital and traditional marketing strategy is a recipe for disaster.
4. Optimize your customer journey
In the study, customer personas (53 per cent,) customer journey mapping (52 per cent) and AB testing (48 per cent) were commonplace among participants. Desktop websites and e-mails were the forms of digital media most likely to have optimization tests carried out on them, with social media coming a close second.
Mysteriously, mobile (mobile sites and mobile apps) lag behind, with most marketers staying away from any mobile specific optimization.
Marketers are going through a tough time when trying to create combined strategies and communications plans. A poor experience leads to unclear or restricted customer journeys and brandâ€™s inability to integrate communications and experiences. An improved customer journey means fewer customer journey issues, increase sales and larger conversions.
Different procedures such as customer persona development, customer journey analysis and content mapping can be used to evaluate and augment digital experiences in combination with conversion rate optimization.
Apparently, improving your customer journey is the way to lift online leads, sales and the bottom line.
5. Invest in marketing technologies
Most business make a business case (55 per cent) while structured reviews (32 per cent,) requesting a formal pitch (26 per cent) and trials (20 per cent) are common too. Formal pitches are losing their relevance while free trials are gaining grounds and marketers often have to give a business case in order to get budget. Itâ€™s uncertain though whether the need for business cases slows down the administrative process or not.
Nevertheless, email marketing and marketing automation, SEO and social media management technologies, and not AB/ MVT platforms, are used by most marketers.
6. Identify channels
Marketing activities with the highest ROI are organic search or SEO (32 per cent. Rated highly for ROI,) content marketing (30 per cent) and email marketing (30 per cent.) Paid digital marketing such as AdWords (20 per cent,) social media ads (17 per cent) and display, including programmatic (10 per cent) are rated lower.
Online PR and outreach (15 per cent) and organic social media (20 per cent) belong to medium ROI category. Display advertising including Programmatic are also rated â€˜high.â€™
(The author is co-founder at an IoT mobile app development company, Peerbits)
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.
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