Digital marketing is more important now than ever. Take steps to create, streamline, or optimize your marketing strategy today and accelerate your results in the coming year
Where do you start if you want to develop a digital marketing strategy? It’s still a common challenge since many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels are today for acquiring and retaining customers. Yet they don’t have an integrated plan to support digital transformation and business growth, and engage their audiences effectively online.
If your business doesn’t have a strategic digital plan aligned with your business plan you will suffer from the ten problems I highlight later in this article and you will lose out to competitors who are more digitally savvy.
For each of the ten problems, I will also recommend marketing solutions and next steps to help you optimize your marketing strategy to win more customers in 2022.
What is digital marketing? The six pillars.
Digital marketing must support your marketing and business goals, so in my book – Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice – I define Digital marketing, also called online marketing, simply as:
Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies and media.
This is the big picture which you need a strategy to support, but, as we explain on Smart Insights, to be successful in online marketing you also need mastery of the details to compete across the main digital platforms that consumers or businesses use to find and select products.
The algorithms used to power Facebook, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn and the publishers control your visibility and how much you pay, so to get visibility digital marketers need to get to grips with the latest techniques. It’s why my books on digital marketing run to over 500 pages, yet they can only touch on the best practices we detail on Smart Insights.
Before we review the different channels that make up digital marketing, it’s useful to simplify since business managers like the owners, finance or operations directors ultimately want to know what they need to invest in at a top level and the returns they will get. There will be a finite budget assigned to online marketing for the year and they want to ensure their team are spending time on the right activities and investing in the right types of media to get a positive return.
The six pillars comprising digital marketing
When training and consulting on digital strategy and as recommended in our free template, I recommend grouping digital marketing in these six areas which each need someone responsible to manage them and improve results.
A focus on each of these is important regardless of the size of business. The pillars help show that success in digital marketing isn’t just about digital media and platforms, important as they are. Creating an effective digital experience, messaging and quality content to fuel your digital strategy are all vital too.
In smaller businesses, it may be one person such as a digital marketing manager responsible for all, or one for each pillar with many team members in larger businesses. The six pillars are:
- 1. Strategy and governance (or management): Goals – Analytics, Strategy (Segmentation, Targeting, Brand Positioning), integration, marketing and sales alignment, resourcing, structure, marketing technology and data
- 2. Goals and measurement: Forecasts, digital reporting including KPI dashboards, attribution and customer insight
- 3. Media: Paid, owned, earned media including Search, Social and Display ads
- 4. Experience: Desktop / mobile website and apps. Customer service.
- 5. Messaging: Email, Chat, Social media, customer service, on-site interactions and personalization
- 6. Content: Product and blog content to fuel content marketing, PDF downloads, Interactive tools
Our free digital marketing plan template has more details on the key decisions for each of these.
This simple division of digital marketing can also help students learn beyond the complexities of the different types. I have created this video to introduce these terms.
How does digital marketing differ for B2B and B2C marketing?
Many of the largest brands in the world today including the digital platforms like Facebook (Meta) and Google (Alphabet) are consumer brands, but when considering how best to use digital strategies, it’s important to consider business-to-business brands too. There are many B2B companies which often serve B2C brands.
Smart Insights developed our RACE Marketing planning framework so that it works equally in B2B and B2C markets. This is the case since it integrates your customers’ digital experiences interacting with brands across Reach, Act, Convert and Engage – the full customer journey.
The 16 digital media activities forming digital marketing
As I’ve mentioned, success in digital marketing requires mastering the details.In my book I explain how these 16 examples of different types of marketing technologies span 6 digital media channels, plus a range of paid media, owned media and earned media options.
- Search engine marketing
- Social media marketing
- Digital advertising
- Digital PR
- Digital partnerships
- Digital messaging
- Pay-per-click PPC
- Paid social
- Programmatic display
- Online advertorial
- Affiliate marketing
- Publisher email/push
- Organic search (SEO)
- Organic social
- Native advertising
- Guest blogging
- In-house email/push
- Earned mentions
- Influencer outreach
- Partner emails