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The 5 Elements of Digital Strategy

8 MINUTES TO READ
The 5 Elements of Digital Strategy
Summary: Is it time to check that your marketing activity is meeting your strategic aims?

What did your company do to survive the multiple lockdowns and restrictions over the last 18 months?

Were you one of the many businesses who “pivoted” marketing activity into Digital?

If so, it’s probably time to stand back a little and take stock of your digital presence and to review if the changes you have made really do fit with your strategic aims.

There are so many Digital Marketing solutions to choose from, many of which will help drive your business, so given that you’re working to a restricted budget, how do you select the right tactics for you?

In our experience, success comes from building marketing activity based on a strong digital strategy, giving you the framework to make wise investment choices to meet your business goals, to get ahead of your competitors and implement with discipline.

In many industries, the Digital Winners’ badge is still up for grabs – here’s how you can make it yours.

 

Digital Strategy development process
WSI Digital Advisors – Sept 21

 

  1. Know who you are

Why does your business exist (beyond making money or providing a service)? What is the “gold standard” that you measure your strategic decisions by?

If your objective is to protect the long term value of your business, you need a Brand Vision. Without one, it’s really easy to follow the money short term, and end up with a Brand which simply confuses customers.

It’s a good idea to develop your Brand Vision with your team – being part of the process engenders ownership of the output. There can be many elements depending on the nature of your business, but the 3 critical components are :

  • Brand heart – The essence of your Brand
  • Brand framework – What are you famous for? What is your brand personality? Name your “brand watchwords” (the filters through which you look at new ideas)
  • Values and beliefs – How do you behave as a Brand and as a Team?

 

  1. Understand your customer

Digital Marketing can be expensive if you “spray and pray”, so knowing who you are targeting, and communicating with them with laser focus will save you money.

There are hundreds of formats for persona or empathy mapping available free on line, here is one which we have found effective :

Customer persona template
WSI Digital Advisors – Sept 21

 

Next, understand their journey with you – what problems are they trying to resolve? Which channels do they prefer to use at which stage of their journey? Where can you improve your user experience?

Lastly, knowing what you do, and who you do it for, check out who else is in the game. As consultants, we often hear “we have very little competition”, but when we stand back a bit, we can see that this isn’t necessarily the case. The good news is that if you believe you have little competition, it’s probably because you have found your point of difference, your unique selling point. Once you recognize who else is serving your customers with products or services which solve similar problems to the ones you offer, you can continuously validate that you have an edge over them – price, quality, innovation, experience.

A great example of customer focus is Domino’s Pizza. Digital clearly couldn’t enhance the pizza, but the company realized that digital could strengthen its competitive advantage in speed and convenience. Introducing its mobile app streamlined the steps for ordering and receiving pizza for it’s customers. Interesting fact : Domino’s and Google both went public in 2004. If you’d invested a pound in both, you’d have made more money with Domino’s.

As an aside, it’s also good practice to watch other sector champions who serve your customers. A good example is Zara, who were the first fashion retailers to adopt the Lean Techniques pioneered by Toyota in the automotive industry to great effect, giving it’s customers it’s unique fast fashion model. And of course, we can’t ignore that what customers come to expect can be defined by the titans such as Amazon.

 

  1. Set your goals

Consider the full range of strategic possibilities – and risks – that digital brings. In your sector, which are the hygiene factors (the things that all the key players do and customers have come to expect)? What are the game changing opportunities which will enable you to leap-frog your competitors? What is the ongoing maintenance work that you need to do to retain your existing digital presence?

Understand the size of the opportunity for each initiative, but also understand what is involved – both in terms of change, skills gap and cost.

The car manufacturer, Renault, set, and achieved, an explicit goal of achieving a 25% increase in profit from their digital strategy over 5 years. To support this, they ran 15 pilot initiatives across their functions – from Marketing through to Production – to understand where digital could deliver the highest positive impact on profit.

 

  1. Focus on the big bucks

Your strategy may have multiple strands, but you will get the best results by focusing on the elements which deliver the biggest step changes towards your goals.

Don’t forget that Blockbusters developed an online platform before Netflix did. Kodak invented digital photography. Both of these previously market leading businesses failed because they starved these innovations of cash by focusing on their legacy business.

Growth hacking” is the technique of determining which sector of your audience will deliver you the fastest sales growth, and focusing the majority of your marketing efforts on activity to grow that audience. For example, if retaining a customer who buys clothing offers a better lifetime value than recruiting a customer who buys gifts from you, you should focus your efforts on clothing customer retention.

 

  1. Manage the change

Digital Transformation projects require more than a change in technology.

New skills and processes will be required, an organizational redesign might even be needed. The ease with which these are managed will determine whether the change succeeds or fails.

Define your roadmap, set your milestones, monitor your progress and celebrate your successes, respond to risks and change requirements, determine what your success criteria are.

Most importantly, involve your team and talk to them about the project – Some of the best ideas come from some of the most junior people.

Have a look at our Digital Strategy Development process  to understand how we help businesses develop coherent strategy

 

If you’d like some help with building your unique Digital Strategy, talk to us.

“We worked closely with Peter and Nicky on developing our digital strategies ahead of our new website launch. They made the process both thought-provoking and fun by including different activities to get us thinking differently about our brand and audience. Before the process, we didn’t have the clearest objectives or strategy, especially when it came to digital content. Now though, through the invaluable advice and support that Peter and Nicky provided, we feel even more confident that our strategy is the right one. We would recommend anyone who is looking to create a digital strategy to work with them.  Thanks Peter and Nicky!”  Lydia Jenkins – Head of Marketing – The Alternative Board

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