STEP ONE : Define your structure for managing digital strategy

Q. Approach to process for creating and managing digital strategy defined?

Knowing where to start is often the hardest thing when writing a digital marketing plan. So once you have a structure/framework to follow in a table of contents it’s then almost a matter of filling in the gaps.

Creating a strategy that works needs an effective overall framework and process to create the strategy. So your first step is straightforward – thinking about how you manage and create A workable strategy :

    • Is based on what’s happening in a company’s marketplace, i.e. it’s customer-centred and reviews the importance of potential partners, influencers and competitors
    • Has clear objectives to achieve a vision for the future – particularly important for digital marketing
    • Gives clear strategic direction and focus to achieve the objectives
    • Has a method of tracking and review to keep the strategy on track when you’re implementing it. We recommend 90 day planning as a method to continuously review and refine your strategy. We’ll discuss this at the end of this section.

    In all marketing strategies, it’s important to focus on building a plan around the customer – not your products and tactics. But this is particularly true online since digital marketing often involves taking advantage of new digital technologies and platforms according to how people interact with them.

    Strategy Recommendation 5 Ensure your strategy is customer-centric
    Put customers’ current use of technology and how they will interact with your brand at
    the heart of your strategy.

    Using FRAMEWORK to create and manage a strategy

    Q. Do we have the right strategy process framework in place ?

    By using a Strategic planning process framework that gives you a clear structure to work through to create and manage your plan. A Framework to help structure and manage the implementation of plans. It stands for Situation, Objectives, and Strategy, Tactics.

    Some examples of digital marketing framework that might be suitable for your business.

    • RACE: Reach >> Act >> Convert >> Engage
    • SOSTAC : Situation Analysis >> Objectives >> Strategy >> Tactics >> Actions >> Control
    • Digital Marketing Success Framework : Messaging >> Visibility >> Search Engine Optimization (SEO) >> Trust >> Authority >>Lead Generation >> Conversion
    • Demand Metric Framework : Understand >> Evaluate >> Research >> Plan >> Implement >> Measure

    On this section I will use RACE to make things more simple to follow

    RACE Planning System

    We created the RACE Planning system to give a simple framework to help small and large businesses alike plan their use of digital marketing. We hope RACE gives you a structure to help you review and prioritise your use of digital marketing when there are so many options.

    Infographic RACE Palnning System

    RACE is a practical framework to help manage and improve results from your digital marketing. Ultimately it’s about using best practice web analytics techniques to get more commercial value from investments in digital marketing. I hope it will help simplify your approach to reviewing the performance of your online marketing and taking actions to improve its effectiveness.

    3 Benefits of RACE

    • RACE is practical and action-oriented – it focuses on tactics you can implement in your digital marketing communications and on your website and mobile apps
    • RACE is customer-centred – it follows the established customer lifecycle of relationship building or marketing funnel from creating awareness; generating leads from new prospects; converting prospects to sale online or offline and encouraging loyalty, repeat sales and advocacy such as social sharing.
    • RACE integrates performance evaluation – It defines KPIs that digital marketers should include at each stage for setting target and reviewing results using analytics and summary dashboards.

    RACE consists of four steps or online marketing activities designed to help brands engage their customers throughout the customer lifecycle.

    1. Reach. Involves building awareness and visibility of your brand, products , and services on other websites and in offline media in order to build traffic by driving visits to different web presences like your main site, microsites or social media pages. It involves maximizing reach over time to create multiple interactions using different paid, owned and earned media touchpoints.
    2. Act is short for Interact. It’s a separate stage from conversion since encouraging interactions on websites and in social media. For most businesses, the main aim of Act is to generate online leads.
    3. Convert. This is simply conversion to sale, online or offline. It involves getting your audience to take that vital next step which turns them into paying customers whether the payment is taken through online E-commerce transactions or offline channels.
    4. Engage. This is long-term customer engagement and communications that is, developing a long-term relationship with first-time buyers to build customer loyalty as repeat purchases using communications on your site, social presence, email and direct interactions to boost customer lifetime value.

    For a technical part how to integrated RACE into your business, feel free to contact me 🙂

    steven.sondang[at]gmail.com | +62 813 1125 0808

    Integrating the different parts of digital strategy

    Q. Our digital marketing strategy aligns with business strategy?

    The reasons for integration are straightforward, your goals for digital should support your wider marketing strategies. Often when digital exists as a separate strategy document there isn’t good integration with wider business strategies.

    Strategy Recommendation 8 Show alignment of your digital strategy with core –
    business or marketing initiatives for the current year.
    Create a table showing how your digital strategies support current strategic business-
    initiatives. Proving this alignment to colleagues will help get buy-in from senior-
    manager colleagues since they will see directly how investment in digital marketing will support what they are trying to achieve.

    Key components of digital strategy

    As you’re constructing your overall strategy, it’s worth thinking about the main thrusts of your strategy. We will cover these from Step 4 onwards, but we thought it would be useful to introduce the main parts here and you can start outlining a longer-form digital marketing plan in a Word document if you want to use this approach rather than the shorter summaries mentioned so far.

    You will recognize many of these from traditional marketing planning. In many ways digital strategy is about revising existing marketing communications approaches which suit the unique character of the online marketplace and communications.

    A. Targeting and segmentation

    • A company’s online customers have different demographic characteristics, needs and behaviours to its offline customers. It follows that different approaches to segmentation may be required and specific segments may need to be selectively targeted though
    • Specific content and messaging on your site or elsewhere on the web. This capability for “micro-targeting” is one of the biggest benefits of digital marketing.
    • Specific targeting approaches to apply online include: demographic, value-based, lifecycle and behavioural personalisation.

    B. Positioning

    • How do you position your online products and services in the customer’s mind?
    • Reinforcing your core proposition. How do you prove your credibility?
    • Define your online value proposition. This should flow from your positioning and be what the customer sees immediately when they interact with you online.
    • Define your online value proposition. This should flow from your positioning and be what the customer sees immediately when they interact with you online.
    • Define these in key messages for different audiences, e.g. prospects against existing customers, segments with different value.
    • You need clear messaging hierarchies to effectively communicate your positioning both in online and offline media.

    C. Proposition and the marketing mix

    Particularly if you sell online, you will want to explain how you will modify the marketing mix. For example:

    • Product. Can you offer a different product range online. How can you add value to products through additional content or online services?
    • Price. Review your pricing and consider differential pricing for online products or services.
    • Place. Identify your online distribution issues and challenges. Should you create new intermediaries or portals or partner with existing sites?
    • Promotion. Discuss the problems and opportunities of the online communications mix. These will be detailed in the acquisition and retention communications strategies. Review approaches for online promotions and merchandising to increase sales. You may want to include exclusive promotions to support the growth of different digital channels, i.e. email, mobile, Facebook, Twitter.
    • People. Can you use automated tools such as FAQ to deliver “web self-service” or should you provide online contact points through Live Chat or Phone Call-back?
    • Processes. List the components of process and understand the need to integrate them into a system.
    • Physical evidence. Identify the digital components that give ‘evidence’ to customers of your credibility such as awards and testimonials
    • Partners. The eighth P. So much of marketing today is based on strategic partnerships, marketing marriages and alliances that we have added this ‘P’ in as a vital ingredient in today’s marketing mix.

    D. Brand strategy

    Gaining ‘street cred’ online is now paramount to success, how and where are you going to do that – brand favourability follows credibility and trust. So you need to understand the reasons to engage with your brand, why will people interact and recommend, or not? How will you demonstrate credibility online?

    E. Online representation or presence

    This includes your “owned media” which we explain at the start of step 2. It includes your web site strategy (one site or four, sub-domains, what are the site goals and how will they be achieved…) and priorities for social presences.

    F. Content and engagement strategy

    Ask which content will feature to gain initial interest, support the buying process (text and rich media product content and tools) and stickiness and to promote return visits (blogs and community). Remember user-generated content too, such as reviews, ratings and comments. You will have to prioritise content types and ensure you devote sufficient resource to it to create quality content which helps you compete. All effective online companies see themselves as publishers!

    G. Digital channel acquisition communications strategy

    Outline how you will acquire traffic, what are the main approaches you will use? Don’t forget to consider how you drive visitors through offline media and integrated campaigns.

    Key digital media channels for traffic acquisition include:

    • Search engine marketing (natural and paid)
    • Social media marketing and online PR (think brand strategy)
    • Partner and affiliate marketing
    • Display advertising
    • Email marketing to leads database

    Here for reference are the key digital channels we’ll review in Step 6 and our other guides.

    H. Digital channel conversion strategy

    How does the user experience, which depends on information architecture, page template design, merchandising, messaging and performance help you make it easy for visitors to engage and convert?

    I. Digital channel retention communications strategy

    Often neglected, what will be the main online and offline tactics to encourage repeat visits and sales? Again integrated campaigns involving offline touchpoints are crucial here.

    J. Data strategy

    What are your goals in permission marketing and data capture what/where/how/when/why, what tools and value adds are you going to use? You might alternatively reference these in the conversion strategy. Some of the practical implications here are covered in steps 6 and 7.

    How do you improve the quality of your customer data across channels to help increase the relevance of your messages through personalisation

    K. Integration strategy

    How you integrate traditional and digital channels should run through every section of your strategy since it’s key to success. One way to structure this is to map customer journeys across channels as channel chains.

    L. Social media marketing strategy

    We would argue that social media marketing is part of a broader customer engagement strategy plus brand, acquisition, conversion and retention strategies, but many organisations are grappling with how they get value from this, so it may help to develop an overall social media marketing strategy.

    M. Digital marketing governance strategy

    In larger organizations how you manage digital marketing is a big challenge. Questions that the governance strategy seeks to answer are how do we manage internal and external resources through changes to structures and skills needed for digital and multichannel marketing.

    Benchmarking your capabilities compared to your competitors

    Q. Marketing capabilities scored and compared to competitors?

    We’re big fans of scoring the current digital marketing capabilities of a company, so you can show your colleagues how your different digital marketing activities rate now and how they need to be improved in future. This is a core technique for arguing for additional investment in digital marketing and for reporting on progress.

    Strategy Recommendation 9 Score your digital capabilities to review how you can improve and to win the case for investment
    Use the stages in the planning framework to help create the different parts of your –
    plan. You should also assess and improve the capabilities of your organisation in each aspect of the plan. Scoring your current use of digital marketing can help persuade colleagues that you need to take action and where you need to invest more.

    You may be interested to know that this approach originated via software process capability maturity models devised by Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute4. These are used to help organizations improve their software development practices by evaluating them using different criteria of how well their processes work, for example:

    • Level 1. Unmanaged.
    • Level 2. Managed.
    • Level 3. Defined.
    • Level 4. Quantitatively Managed.
    • Level 5. Optimizing.

    Refining your digital strategy – keeping it agile with 90 day planning

    Q. Approach for managing and updating strategy defined?

    Once you have created your digital strategy defined in a plan, you should ensure it’s kept dynamic and agile not static. There will be new opportunities as social and digital technology platforms evolve and threats as competitors revise their marketing approach.

    Strategy Recommendation 10 Create an agile plan and a process to review and update
    You shouldn’t deviate from your core strategic focus, but your performance against –
    target will vary and your marketplace will change. so building in a method of adjustment is essential. We recommend you revisit your main strategic plan annually as part of annual planning, but have a system of 90 day planning where you review performance and update activities.

    Creating and reviewing a 90 day plan table helps create a process where companies can focus on activities which support strategic objectives. This can include digital marketing optimization activities that should be completed every month, but after often neglected due to a focus on campaign activities like price promotions which are planned separately.

    The idea is have a single page summary which gives clarity on a manageable number of initiatives you will work on in the 90 day period to boost performance. These will cascade down to more detailed activities.

    Recommended resource? 90 day planning

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