From your storefront to your social media pages to your CRM, no aspect of your company should be operating in a vacuum. Why? Because to consumers, your ads, database, website and storefront are one in the same. There are many touch points but just one brand.
So what happens when these touch points are operating in siloes? — A disjointed customer experience and a poor return on investment (ROI).
A digital strategy is imperative for businesses today, no matter how big or small your company is. Mobile devices and web recognition have become the new normal, and digital business models have changed the way users interact with businesses.
At smart panda labs, we help our clients align their digital efforts to maximize efficiency, optimize results and provide a consistent customer experience. Here’s what we think everyone should know about digital strategy and planning:
start at the end
Maybe you’ve heard terms like SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) so often that you’re convinced you need them. Or you’ve signed off on a mobile app because it seems like every company has one but yours. Digital initiatives often fall short of expectations, however, when focus is misplaced on the marketing tool instead of the customer experience. Companies also miss their mark when their organizational structure is not equipped to fulfill the opportunities and requirements of these digital initiatives.
For these reasons, we encourage clients to think first about their vision and end goal before focusing on specific tactics. What are the (measurable) goals you want to achieve? Are you looking to attract as many new visitors to your website as possible for the purposes of brand awareness? Or do you need to focus only on qualified leads that are likely to convert? Are you trying to promote new products to repeat clients, or are you trying to expand into a new target market?
fitting digital into the big picture
Once you have clearly defined your business objectives and key performance indicators, then it’s time to identify the ways digital can help. These are some of the questions you’ll need to answer as you begin to fit digital into the bigger picture of your organization:
- What is your organization’s digital purpose, and how is it connected to your strategic initiatives? If your digital strategy and your business strategy are not parallel, it can create a poor experience for consumers and make measuring ROI difficult.
- What marketing channels make the most sense for your business? Have you researched your target market’s digital consumer journey? (You can learn more about some of these approaches, such as SEO, paid search and email marketing on our blog.)
- How is your digital marketing integrated with your other marketing efforts, such as print or television ads? Digital should not be done in isolation—it’s part of a larger effort to tell the story of your brand. How can all these components work together to ensure the best possible outcome?
- What core competencies are required to properly manage these initiatives? Do you have dedicated internal resources that can oversee the campaigns, or will you require external consultants? Knowing who is responsible for monitoring, implementing, maintaining and measuring your digital strategy is crucial— whether it’s an entire team or just one person.
- How will you measure these initiatives? Do you have analytics software in place? Read our post, “the art and science of analytics,” to learn more.
- How do these digital initiatives affect all corners of your company? Sales? HR? Senior management? Customer service? How can someone from every department be involved?
Asking tough questions like these will help you define a viable digital strategy, share your business’s story and meet specific business objectives.