Enter any corporate boardroom, and you’ll hear words like ‘synergy’, ‘deep dive’, and ‘strategy’ thrown around as answers to complex questions. While each of these words certainly has its place in business, they can start to feel quite abstract after a while. Strategy is far more than a buzzword; it is an essential to successful digital marketing.
Digital marketing without a rock-solid strategy in place can be summed up in one word: directionless. How will you know where you are going and what you need to achieve to get there without a strategy? Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fear the term ‘strategy’ as it feels almost intangible when, really, a strategy is your roadmap to where you’d ideally want your business to be.
What is an integrated digital marketing strategy?
Our Strategy Director, Marie Rocher, likens a digital marketing strategy to a chess game. “It’s like a chess-board with all the different pieces, and your goal is to get from one place to the next and how you’re going to get checkmate. It’s about knowing which of those pieces to move to get to your goal,” she says.
Whether you’re looking for an integrated, overarching digital marketing strategy, a social media strategy, or a paid advertising strategy, a strategy’s value lies in the a high-level view of all the many moving parts at play. “It examines what you’re doing now and where you need to be.”
We sat down with Marie, who has a rich background in everything from copywriting to SEO, to gain more insight into strategy and why it is imperative to have a strategy in place if you attempt any aspect of digital marketing.
Why do I need a digital marketing strategy?
For many small to medium-sized enterprises, it can seem unnecessary to have a digital marketing strategy in place. New clients often ask us what value of having a strategy is versus starting marketing activities right off the bat.
However, as Marie says, your chances of success are slim, regardless of the marketing activity you plan on utilising if there isn’t a clear strategy in place.
“The strategic approach we take is unique because it’s designed with small to medium enterprises in mind, giving that overall bird’s eye view, but it’s also providing our clients with practical, down to earth, grounded tactics that they can follow to get to where they want to be,” she says.
An integrated digital marketing strategy carefully places various pieces of the puzzle together to give you insight, in line with your vision for your business, as to where you are going and the various touchpoints that require attention to get there.
So, what are the pieces at play?
What are the core components of a digital marketing strategy?
Much like the various pieces in a chess game, each aspect of an integrated digital marketing strategy has its own role to play, all with the bigger picture in mind.
“We start with ‘where are you now?’ and the channels you’re using. It’s very important to unpack this at the beginning because if you don’t know where you are now, how do you know what to improve on or what you need to do differently or more of?”
This first element of a strategy is not necessarily to pick apart what’s not working within your small business marketing, though. “It’s not always about what’s broken. It’s also about what’s working. We start with a high-level unpacking of the channels the client is using now and the performance of those,” she says.
We then move onto competitor analysis, followed by strategic positioning. “You need to know how you are positioned before you can do anything else. Your positioning is going to drive your strategic direction and your creative direction.”
Another key aspect of any digital marketing strategy is to provide content pillars around which your marketing messaging will revolve.
As Marie sums it up, “We provide all those little building blocks. The strategist sets out all the things that you need to start building your digital marketing presence.”
Social media and paid advertising strategies
Your integrated digital marketing strategy paves the way for all the tactics you intend on using to propel your business from a marketing perspective. As a result, offshoots of this strategy can form into smaller strategies such as a platform-specific social media strategy or a paid advertising strategy.
When asked exactly what a paid advertising strategy is, Marie said, “A key purpose is to help maximise your spend. You’re putting a budget in, and the strategy helps you determine how you get the most out of it.”
She further explains that a paid media strategy often targets the middle and bottom of the marketing funnel and helps you to target the right audience and industries and should align with your integrated digital marketing strategy to ensure your messaging is correct. “You would need to make sure that your organic and paid approaches match,” she explains.
Social media marketing is yet another chess piece in play. And, once again, a strategy is essential to knowing the way forward for that piece. “With social media, that’s where your content pillars are so important to strategically setting out what sort of content you should be creating to fulfil your aim. So, a social media strategy is pegged on a really rock-solid content approach,” she says.
If you’re serious about kicking your digital marketing off on the right foot, a strategy is essential. Just like you can’t play chess without a plan – if you were to, you’d probably lose – you can’t enter the game of effective online marketing without a roadmap that details how you’re going to reach checkmate. Every move matters. Make sure you’ve got the right combination to win.
If you’d like to have Marie’s team of strategists put your strategy together, contact us today.