Understanding your objectives
As with any strategy, the first question is ‘what are we trying to achieve?’ You will of course have your own unique goals but you will most likely find that they will fit into one of a few distinct areas, each bringing with it a unique set of challenges; growth, financial gain or brand. For example, businesses such as Facebook and Specify focused solely on growth in their early period and didn’t overly concern themselves with monetization or profit until the business model had been proven and the user volumes were so large as to make the monetization potential and business value extremely high. More established businesses, however, or those that have a significant number of shareholders, will often be more focused on ensuring a return for their shareholders and long-term stability.
Your market and website function
So we have looked at some of the overall goals but now we need to look at some of the specific challenges you may have. One of the first influencing factors to consider is your market. For example, are you operating in the business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) space? The B2B consumer has a different frame of mind to the B2C consumer and it’s important to appreciate this: it will have an effect on your overall digital strategy, from your PR program me and distribution to your on-site funnel. To illustrate this let’s look at a couple of examples of customer journeys.
Understanding decision making and knowing your decision makers
Now that we’ve started to assess the situation and develop some overall justification we need to ensure we understand the process that our decision makers will be going through. As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, what we’re doing here is simply marketing, and with any marketing you need to understand your customer and their mindset.
So far we have considered your organization’s objectives and we have begun to understand the decision-makers themselves. It is at this point that we can begin to look at other factors that will dictate the shape of our proposal. The first of these is the budget. A bigger pot of cash certainly allows broader spend across the digital mix but it doesn’t necessarily result in greater response. There will be a ceiling to the amount you can spend effectively so let’s quickly try to understand how to demonstrate to your decision maker that you are using their pot of money to its best advantage.
Key channel benefits
As mentioned above, this book covers each channel in detail and so I won’t duplicate that by going into detail here. The purpose of this section is to pull out which of those channel benefits can be used to best effect when justifying digital marketing investment to your decision maker. Whatever mix you choose when developing your digital strategy there will doubtless be multiple channels. Even if you are working with a limited budget you are still likely to at least be developing both SEO and social strategies. How these channels interact is tackled towards the end of this section, but before that we will look at the specific benefits you can use when selling-in.
Search engine optimization has been an art form since the early days of search engines and is a constantly developing channel. The core to success is, of course, developing a website and digital marketing strategy that is compelling in terms of high-quality content alongside a great user experience. What you spend on SEO can vary greatly along a scale from simple website development to a multichannel content strategy.
The benefits of social are numerous. There are over 1 billion users on Facebook and a similar number on various social media sites in China that many people know nothing about (yet). It’s clear to see that whoever your customers are, they are using social media.
For acquisition e-mail marketing you will be tapping into external sources of data. This is where understanding your customer in terms of who they are and which customers convert is vital. Purchasing lists can be a minefield and so working with reputable suppliers is important, but if you get this data selection right then the CPA can be highly effective.
Finally, the actual delivery cost of the channel in terms of creative and send is also very low-cost. You therefore have the opportunity here to improve acquisition volumes and customer lifetime value at minimal cost. Again, this is a no-brainer.