Why you need a digital marketing strategy
Your business and digital marketing
Whether or not your business is suited to digital marketing depends very much on the nature of that business, where it is now, and where you want it to go in the future. If, for example, you’re a dairy farmer in rural Ireland, have a fixed contract to supply milk to the local co-operative, and have little, if any, scope or ambition to diversify and grow your business year-on-year, then digital marketing probably isn’t for you. Likewise, if you’re a local butcher with an established client base in a thriving market town in the English Peak District, and simply want to maintain the status quo, then again you’ll probably do just fine without digital marketing.
Digital marketing – yes or no
There are really only two key questions you need to answer when it comes to deciding whether or not your business needs a digital marketing strategy. If your customers use digital technology to research and/or purchase the products and services you provide, then you absolutely need to embrace digital marketing now in order to engage with them and retain them. If they don’t, then you don’t. It really is that simple. Just bear in mind that as the next generation of consumers starts to become your new customers, they are likely to demand more digital interaction from your business. If you’re not in a position to deliver that, they could well choose to spend their money elsewhere.
Defining your digital marketing strategy
Once you’ve decided that you do, in fact, need to pursue some form of digital marketing, the next step is to actually sit down and define your strategy. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategic panacea here. We don’t have a magic recipe to ensure your digital marketing success, and neither does anybody else. Basically, every business needs to ‘bake’ its own unique strategy based on its own particular set of circumstances. While the available ingredients are the same the resulting strategies can be radically different.
Laying strong digital foundations
The good news is that you’ve almost certainly already started the process of defining your digital marketing strategy. Before even picking up this book you’ve probably been thinking about digital marketing in the context of your business, about what your competitors are doing online and why, how your customers and prospects are integrating digital technology into their lives, and how you can best exploit these new and exciting digital channels to foster longer, more productive relationships with them.
The process of formally defining your digital marketing strategy forces you to sit down and analyze with a critical eye the market in which you’re operating and to really think about the different components of your business and how digital marketing can help you to achieve your business goals.
Don’t get too bogged down in the technical details – remember, digital marketing is about people communicating with other people, the technology is just the bit in the middle that helps it to happen. Your strategy should provide you with a high-level framework – a bird’s-eye view of the digital marketing landscape with your business center stage – the details will come later.