A great mission, smart leadership, a viable market, and great products or services – these are all essential pieces of the puzzle that must be in place to create a successful business. But there’s a key piece of the puzzle that you may be missing.
To build your business, you also need a big-picture plan that will help you grow market share, entice people to purchase, and engage potential and existing customers across the right channels. How do you do this? With a digital marketing strategy.
A digital marketing strategy translates your business goals into marketing goals, and then into individual channel efforts. This strategy allows you to build campaigns and execute tactics while ensuring that every marketing dollar spent ties back directly to your business goals.
Unfortunately, many organizations, regardless of size, lack a well-built digital marketing strategy and are using marketing tactics that are only loosely connected to actual business goals and KPIs. In fact, 47% of businesses employ digital marketing tactics without a defined strategy.
But why is developing a digital marketing strategy so hard? If it is vital to growth and success, then why doesn’t it exist in so many organizations? Here are a few of the challenges that stand in the way of many businesses, and maybe even yours:
Departmental and budgetary silos and a status quo mentality are among the most common obstacles on the business side.
Even when working from a consolidated marketing budget, there are often product owners or business units competing for their “share” of the larger marketing pie. In this scenario, it’s difficult to deliver against business priorities for the most effective use of marketing dollars.
Then comes the status quo. When businesses are used to operating a certain way, it’s difficult to break out of the comfort zone without a fresh perspective or different leadership. And, when leadership expects different results from the same efforts, especially from the marketing mix perspective, innovation is slower and results far less likely.
Undefined or Lack of Prioritized Business Goals
A compelling digital strategy aligns customer experiences, business execution, and the right technology as the market and your competition constantly evolve. Our Digital Essentials highlight the most compelling aspects of all three to help you react and respond to this ongoing evolution.
Most businesses have a general idea of what they want to accomplish, but their goals are either undefined or lack any priority. And when goals are in place, they are usually top-of-funnel, focused on driving awareness and customer acquisition.
Since these goals are focused purely on getting foot traffic into a store or eyeballs to a website, they consume the majority of the marketing budget without respect for the business impact ‒ such as driving engagement, conversions, or revenue ‒ and are typically not prioritized to consider greatest business impact versus least relative effort.
When more reasonably defined goals do exist, they are often still ambiguous (e.g. grow revenue 10 percent each year). This ambiguity affects the ability to track KPIs, let alone create focused marketing campaigns, which typically leads businesses to track largely irrelevant metrics such as increasing site visitors year-over-year.
When marketing or sales data is either missing, not validated, or inaccurate, it’s increasingly difficult to prioritize business goals. Or, businesses do not consider using data at all to make decisions on business goal priorities.
On the other end of the spectrum, some businesses suffer from analysis paralysis. This is when they collect all data for every interaction without understanding what information can be derived from it. Instead of focusing on specific data that tracks to a goal or can provide insights, the business is drowning in data without gaining any actionable information.
Many business leaders attempt to grow their business by maximizing different digital marketing channels without respect for the overall marketing mix or a marketing strategy. Attribution models that optimize channels for the best growth are typically not discussed. When organizations lack a digital marketing strategy and are not evaluating channels strategically, then the one or more marketing channels in play do not typically contribute to the right mix. Moreover, these channels tend to operate in a silo without respect for overall marketing effort.
Campaigns created in a vacuum and executed in isolation are not linked to marketing or business goals. For example, some eCommerce businesses are guilty of creating a huge campaign around a holiday to promote sales for a particular category but fail to think through how this might affect what the marketing team is trying to accomplish, let alone specific business goals.
When digital marketing strategies are non-existent, the project road map is missing as well. This means no cohesion or consistency in marketing efforts over time and no forward-thinking insight into the business goals, resources, and tools for execution.
Are any of these challenges sounding a little too familiar? If your business is struggling to meet goals and you feel like your efforts are lacking direction, it is probably time to take a good hard look at your marketing and get a new digital marketing strategy up and running.
For more information and tips on how to do this, take a look at our free guide.