Digital is not a strategy. Social Media is not a strategy. Google is not a strategy. Mobile is not a strategy. Yes, you heard that right. Digital and the various mediums that it offers are not a strategy but mere channels to achieve the objectives of your marketing strategy. Before jumping onto tools or channels, one needs to define the problems that need a solution. One perhaps already have a marketing strategy and list of objectives, often defined by the board; you can achieve those more effectively using unique attributes of digital channels i.e. measurability, cost-effectiveness and better targeting.
Let us take a scenario. Your CEO asks you to generate ideas and build a strategy to reduce cost per acquisition by 20%. A quick look at sales funnel will tell you that it can be achieved if you increase lead to sales conversion ratio by 25% and a look at your CRM dashboard will tell you that leads which have higher lead scores and the leads which are organic (inbound, a fancier term) convert better. Lead scores are a direct function of lead demographic & engagement; the more a prospect visits your website, reads and replies to your emails, engages with quizzes/ contests on social media, talks to your sales representative for long, etc. i.e. higher engagement, higher the lead score.
So you define marketing strategy objectives as
- Improving customer engagement (in turn lead scores)
- Generate more inbound/ organic leads. And note that it doesn’t have Google, Facebook or digital as part of it.
To achieve the desired objectives, you can list out the activities using digital or social channels. To increase customer engagement:
- Generating higher engagement through Facebook posts or quizzes (using Facebook)
- Creating short videos with sneak peek of product usage or customer stories (using Video/ YouTube)
- Sending important information through e-mailers (using email)
- Doing regular webinar with industry professionals or (using webinars)
- Sharing customer testimonials on your website, (using the website)
To increase the number of organic/inbound leads you can:
- Write for leading blogs or magazines of your industry (using affiliates)
- Work on spreading the word of mouth digitally (using Facebook/ LinkedIn)
- Create referral schemes using customer advocacy platforms (using referrals)
- Provide avenues for visitors to leave their contact details on your website (using website)
Remember what you do with Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram, affiliates or website are tactics deployed to achieve objectives outlined in marketing strategy.
More often building strategies around tools are what gets marketing teams in trouble. Marketing executives decide to do something with Facebook or Google or Video because everyone is talking about it or because it is working for a competitor and HOPE that it works for them too. And as a wise marketer once said – ‘Hope is not a Strategy’.
So next time you speak to your marketing team or the agency don’t get into the discussion on how Facebook or Google can work for you rather focus on what needs to be done and how can that be achieved by using either online channels or offline channels or a mix of both.