7 Essential Pillars for your Digital Marketing Strategy


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In order to develop a rock solid digital marketing strategy for your brand or product, you need to have seven fundamental pillars as starting points. If you don't have a specific 'digital' strategy, you'll need to make these seven core points fundamental to your overall marketing strategy. If your brand, product or business has components of marketing via online, mobile and social, start with these essential pillars to build your strategy on.

1. Marketing Objective

What do you want to achieve? What are your basic and extended goals for the year? Do you have a clearly defined objective? Or is it based on "we need to have digital, so we'll do these few things..."? These objectives should not just be financially motivated. They may include driving sales, offering better value for your customers, engaging them, creating a lasting brand imprint, or maintaining a solid relationship via customer service with your audience. Outline your objectives clearly, remember that your objectives need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Start with a relentless focus on your audience.

2. Target Audience or Market

You need to have a clear idea of who your target market or audience is. Who do you want to talk to? Who will buy your product? What are the solutions they are looking for, and can your business provide those solutions? You cannot be everything to everyone – define who you want to engage, to sell to, and to have as your loyal customer in the long run.  Customer or Target Audience insight is key. Often, savvy marketers start with an understanding of the audience even before setting objectives.

3. Data and Insight

Data is what gives you insight. Big data is useless information unless it is converted to actionable, meaningful and relevant insight that drives your game plan. How do you plan to track data? How and who will convert this to usable information? As a marketer, you need to understand the types of data you have access to.. Particularly for social media marketing, you need to listen first – this is how you gather data. Make sure you have the right tools and the right people who know how to access and use the power of data and insight.

4. Platforms

Just like you can't be everything for everyone, you can't really be on every digital or social platform that's out there. Simply, each and every platform may not be relevant for your business at all. Go back to Pillars 1, 2, and 3, and define which platforms best suit your marketing efforts. Today, mobile marketing – every aspect of it – needs to be on your must-have list. But, on social, you need to choose your channels to suit your brand or product.

5. Timelines

End-to-end digital marketing strategy does not mean the plan is timeless and will last you forever. Every aspect of all seven pillars that are the foundations of your marketing strategy will change over time – and sometimes very, very quickly. You need to adapt and adopt as soon as you can, or you'll fall behind the competition.

The other timelines you need to nail down is how long you need for your go-to-market initiatives. From a first idea to execution, what's the amount of time you need? What does your marketing calendar look like? How long do you plan to spend on achieving each specific marketing objective?

6.  Budget

There was a stupid notion earlier that digital marketing is "cheap". While digital marketing is cost effective, it's not cheap. Search marketing needs investment. Social media needs investment, because all the platforms are now degrading the power of organic content. Paid is the way to go. Digital marketing hires – the right people – are not cheap. Have a clear budget that will help you meet your objectives. Remember, you pay peanuts – you get monkeys.

7. Resources

Resources – the right ones on your side is key. Are you going to do it all in-house? Are you're smart and will look into outsource options? Will you be working with specialist services like agencies and consultants? For every pillar mentioned above you need the right people to work with you. Digital marketing software costs money, so does mindware – the brains that run the marketing efforts. Make sure you hire the best and retain them – and work with a recruitment specialist if you need to offer specialized services as part of your strategy to identify the right resources.

Once you get these right, make sure you avoid certain crucial mistakes that marketers make today.

Remember, that these are your strategy pillars. Here are a few digital marketing focus areas that you then need to focus on – these are driving digital marketing strategies in 2016. That's the basics. That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

71 comments

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