Whether you have a strategy or not, at the heart of the Smart Insights ‘Opportunity, Strategy, Action‘ approach to improving digital marketing, is benchmarking to compare where you are now to assess the potential against where you need to be in the future.
To help you get started we have created a free digital marketing benchmarks download with a series of benchmarks covering overall digital strategy and the key tactics like Search, Social Media, Email marketing and site/experience design.
But what if you’re one of the companies that don’t have a digital strategy yet? Well, I think the two simple alternatives for creating a plan may suggest a way forward:
- Start with a separate digital marketing plan defining transformation needed and making the case for investment and changes to your digital marketing
- Then, following approval, create an integrated digital plan which is part of the overall marketing plan – digital is fully aligned and becomes part of business as usual.
So, what are the takeaways to act on here? It seems to me that:
- Using digital marketing without a strategic approach is still commonplace. I’m sure many of the companies in this category are using digital media effectively and they could certainly be getting great results from their search, email or social media marketing. But I’m equally sure that many are missing opportunities for better targeting or optimization, or are suffering from the other challenges I’ve listed below. Perhaps the problems below are greatest for larger organizations who most urgently need governance.
- The majority of companies in our research do take a strategic approach to digital. From talking to companies, I find the creation of digital plans often occurs in two stages. First, a separate digital marketing plan is created. This is useful to get agreement and buy-in by showing the opportunities and problems and map out a path through setting goals and specific strategies for digital including how you integrated digital marketing into other business activities. Second, digital becomes integrated into marketing strategy, it’s a core activity, “business-as-usual”, but doesn’t warrant separate planning, except for the tactics.