As the world becomes more and more digitally based each and every day, having a digital strategy for a corporate, not-for-profit, NGO, or even a government department is not just a “nice to have,” it is a must.

A digital marketing strategy increases efficiency, the effectiveness of bottom-line performance, improves customer experience and reduces customer pain points. This is why a high-level digital strategy is needed in order for businesses’ to hit their key objectives and stay ahead of the competition.

So, what is a digital marketing strategy and why do you need one? Here’s everything that you need to know.

What is a digital marketing strategy?

A digital marketing strategy is about the creation of a strategic plan that focuses purely on the digital elements that support a set series of objectives and performance metrics.

A digital strategy is not just about how to leverage e-commerce, websites, social media, and mobile platforms; it is also how to transform your customer experience, and subsequently, increase revenue.

What is the difference between a digital strategy and digital transformation?

A digital strategy means different things to different people. For example, a marketing executive will see a digital strategy as a combination of social media and biddable media. An IT person would see a digital strategy as something that is cloud-based; whereas an operations executive will see it as data analytics.

It can indeed be many different things for different people; however, the strategy is typically bound by functional business objectives. Digital transformation can, therefore, be defined as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, which fundamentally changes how a business operates and delivers value to its customers.

An example of this is an airline that has moved from check-in counters to digital check-in kiosks, self-serve bag drops and encouraging people to check-in online and on-mobile.

This has reduced staffing costs, wait times and, for many frequent flyers, has “transformed” their traveling experience. For many others, especially older generations, it has done the complete opposite, as they struggle with the changes and a lack of personal touch this new digital world has brought.

What are the benefits of a digital strategy?

Every company should have a digital strategy, regardless of your business model. Even if you are a local butcher shop, why not have an online ordering system with free home delivery?

A digital strategy helps to reduce operational costs, uncover new customers and reveal new opportunities. According to Pyxl, there are seven key reasons that businesses need a digital strategy, these include:

  • Discovery
  • Eliminate missed opportunities
  • Truly reach your audience
  • Digital differentiation
  • Provide direction
  • Track ROI
  • Get everyone on the same page

A digital strategy provides the framework to become a better, more efficient and effective organisation. It provides clarity on how to leverage digital assets for greater customer satisfaction, service delivery, which in turn, positively increases ROI.

Why do organisations need to transform?

An effective business transformation means your organisation can survive and thrive as you pursue new innovation-driven opportunities that emerge. This will allow businesses to respond to shifting market demands and navigate regulatory complexities.

Transformation is a key to the current and future success and longevity of companies and organisations. IDC estimates that 40 percent of all technology spending will go toward digital transformations, with enterprises spending in excess of $2 trillion in 2019.

How do you create a digital marketing strategy?

An effective digital strategy is something that needs to be cutting edge, bridging the functional divide between IT and marketing, sales and finance, embracing cross-functional and holistic digital solutions for the organisation.

Like all plans, the digital strategy starts with determining the objectives. From there, the creator will need to understand and layout the digital sales funnel and determining the best channels to reach new customers.

As always, it is imperative to ensure there is business buy-in from all key stakeholders, as this will impact the overarching success of your digital marketing strategy.

What should a digital marketing strategy include?

A digital marketing strategy should always include a series of actions that help you achieve your company goals through carefully selected online marketing channels. These channels include paid, earned, and owned media, and can all support a common campaign around a particular line of business.

These should include, but not be limited to: objectives, background, budgets, performance metrics, customer personas as well as sales funnels, communications channels, role identification, execution timelines and review periods.

Every company plans differently, but in a digital marketing strategy, there must be quantifiable goals in place, expected ROI and performance benchmarks, but most importantly, start and finish times. That’s because, digital moves fast, and you don’t want to be caught implementing outdated strategies.

What are some examples of digital strategies?

Some exceptional digital strategy implementations include Red Bull. To generate new revenue and tap into the millennial market, Red Bull decided to create a new digital strategy with content featuring extreme sports athletes that was streamed online.

Events such as “The Red Bull Rampage” was streamed live to subscribers and filmed exclusively with the Red Bull branding. Red Bull captured its audience through content, social media posts and videos that showcased the latest happenings in the extreme sports community.

And, as you may expect, this tied into their product nicely matching a key demographic group that Red Bull was targeting.

Looking to the future

Digital strategy and digital innovation can be seen everywhere — from accounting software, POS machines all the way through to advertising, sales funnels and the way that companies communicate with the world.

The adage saying, “innovate or die” holds true and will impact the way that brands today and tomorrow innovate. One thing remains certain, businesses who are able to transform their digital marketing strategies and stay ahead of the curve will dominate the world of business that is forever changing.

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