Digital marketing is definitely the next big thing in the world of marketing. So significant is digital marketing that it has grown to become a major driver in marketing where theorists have already concluded marketing cannot exist without digital marketing.
Driving Digital Strategy
The current business environment is such that there are too many implications if you do not keep up with the times. And in saying the times, we mean being digital.
Why you must have a digital strategy?
It does not matter what business you are running. Whether you are a small business or a simple franchise of a local brand, you will need to stay current. This is where you need to have a digital strategy to push your business to a higher level.
What is a digital strategy really? This is something that you must know. In a business sense, it refers to a strategic management approach to tap into the digital platforms for your business.
In other words, you are looking at adopting and using technologies in your business processes and activities. In fact, it focuses on using new digital platforms and embedding them into your operations.
Is Information Technology involved?
This is definitely for sure. Information Technology or IT is the fundamental platform for your digital business strategy. It includes knowing the technologies that cover the likes of e-Commerce, mobile applications, social networks, search optimization and others. When you adopt a digital strategy, you will need to start from the drawing board.
This means that you need a team that will tell you what you need and how you can get there. In other words, you need to first know how important IT is to your strategy. The internet is the most basic form of infrastructure.
When you digitize your business and start looking at ways to sell them through digital means, then you would need to adapt your digital strategy.
What does your Digital Strategy entail?
Do not assume that your digital strategy is all about digitizing your business. While that plays a crucial role in your business, there are other aspects that will make-or-break your business. You will need the following:
- Data: this is used to analyze the trends of your customers’ behavior and for forecasting purposes
- Devices: Your digital devices are very important here. They might not be the only devices you use but they definitely will be the ones you count on for your business to work. As such, you will definitely need laptops, mobile phones and others
- Supply Chain: Your digital strategy must cover all the different stages of your supply chain. Take note that it should start from production and if possible all the way to delivery to your customer
- A & P: When you adopt a digital strategy, you must ensure that your marketing campaign is on the digital platform. You need to look into a whole new and different strategy when it comes to promoting your products and services. Take note that this relates to using social media and SEO.
Who is the main driver?
The main driver of a digital strategy in a company would surely be the top management. The CMO or Chief Marketing Officer would be the most suitable person to lead the strategy. In fact, the marketing team would be the most appropriate champion to spearhead the digital strategy of any firm.
This is because this strategy can only work if the top-down approach succeeds. Without the endorsement of the top management, the people in the firm will not be on the same page.
As such, clear communication of the goal of the strategy must be in place before the exercise should even take off.
Ultimately, it takes everyone in the firm to collectively drive this strategy. The top management must have the vision and objective to get there. The middle manager must adopt the technologies to help with improving productivity.
The lower-line employees must use the tools provided to ensure that this strategy is rolled-out successfully. One such case that worked extremely well was with Malaysian bank Maybank when the country’s largest bank launched its online banking portal, Maybank2u. It took all the employees in the bank throughout the country to speak a single language and message that drove the strategy to a resounding success.
So, what is it really?
To begin with, digital marketing is not a new term. It covers all the marketing efforts that are carried out online (through data networks). This simply means that as long as the part of your marketing activity is involved with:
- Social media
- Mobile apps
- Email or messaging apps
Then, they pretty much fall into this category.
The underlying principle of marketing is to connect with your target audience at the best time and the right location.
This means that if you want to connect with your audience, you need to find and meet them where they are spending the most time. If it is on the social media and websites that they are spending most of their time in, then that is where you should be. In fact, that is where you should MOSTLY be.Digital marketing does not only involve having a website and using banner ads to spread the word. It covers a lot more. This could include:
- Online advertising
- Marketing using email
- Digital or e-brochures
- Online chat rooms like Discord
- Social media marketing
How about strategies?
Besides all that has been mentioned, are there other strategies that must be considered? Yes, there is. Here are some that you must look into:
- SEO – or Search Engine Optimization, this is a crucial part of digital marketing where you want to ensure that your website gets higher rank in the search engines. You want to create content to help increase the amount of organic traffic into your site
- Content Marketing – You need to focus on the content of your digital assets. This means that you will now need to look into what you are communicating in your websites or mobile apps so that they deliver consistent and clear brand messages.
- Inbound Marketing – This is where you need to use online content and your engines to cover the entire chain of process. It means you need to attract customers to you, then converting them and ensuring a purchase is done
- Social media and networks – this is easier said than down and it does not only refer to spending time on Instagram or Facebook. In fact, it covers a lot more than that because you are using social media as your major tool in marketing so that users are attracted to you
- Email Marketing – Seen as some to be out-of-date, it is still one of the earliest forms of digital marketing. What makes email marketing so effective is that although almost 90% of emails are never opened or read, they are still trackable. When you send an email out, you get to choose who reads it and who don’t. On top of that, you get to track who opens it and who reads it so that you can gauge the effectiveness of this tool
- Public Relations – when this is done online, it changes the way people perceive you. Online PR helps you to build your brand’s credibility and a public image on the digital world with a reputation you can be proud of. This is one strategy that is very much like traditional PR but is carried out online.
Putting it all together
At the end of the day, the main idea is not to use digital media solely for advertising but to use it in order to help your brand grow. You need to manipulate digital marketing so that it works to your favour.