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Stephan Marais

Is Your Digital Marketing Driven by Tactics or Strategy?

Stephan Marais
Is Your Digital Marketing Driven by Tactics or Strategy?

When it comes to digital marketing and other online tactics, you might be doing all the right things, but if you’re doing them in isolation your brand probably won’t make it.

Remember when things like design, dev, UX, SEO, paid search, CRO, content marketing, social and digital PR were separate disciplines that worked independently of each other? Today we know these tactics need to work cohesively as part of a larger strategy to be effective. But back when user experience and engagement wasn’t even a consideration yet, that certainly wasn’t the case.

Traditional Marketers Were Laughing at Us

Great customer experience relies completely on our ability as marketers to deliver a cohesive message. That’s something traditional marketers have known for years, as they’ve worked across mediums to deliver powerful messages to audiences. When it finally became apparent that the Internet was becoming a viable new channel, everyone jumped on the bandwagon, but only a few really thought it through. So while some marketers planned, analyzed and strategized ways to create the most impact online, others targeted a single discipline, became experts and blindly ran with it in isolation.

Why it Won’t Work Today

Focusing all your efforts on one element of marketing without integrating channels leads to a lot of work very little reward these days. The web has become an extraordinarily thrilling place full of noisy brands, messages and publications all vying for a moment of browser attention. Every single one of us has an opinion and none of us really care – unless we choose to. That means without a comprehensive strategy across the web, your brand’s message will be drowned out in the noise faster than you can blink.

If You Could Turn Back Time

Here’s what should happen when you launch online. From the get go, during initial design and development phases, a solid traffic acquisition strategy plus conversion rate and search engine optimization should be a non-negotiable part of the process. This is done to ensure your brand will be off to a flying start.

With the promotion of your brand the same applies. An integrated strategy utilizing multiple elements of the marketing mix is a must for success. Take content for example; you can create the most remarkable content known to man, but without a solid SEO, social and digital PR plan behind it, it’s nothing but a sad scrap destined for a lonely resting place on page 25 of the SERPs. No matter how great your content is, if no one can find it, no one will see it. The same can be said for any of the digital marketing channels. Without great content to support your social media pages, your profiles will be left uninspired and most probably dead in the water. The list is endless.

Let’s Get Back to Traditional Marketing, Online

As digital marketers we have no choice but to return to the solid foundations of traditional marketing to truly see rewards. It starts with a plan, a strategy, a roadmap that allows you to effectively conceptualise your ideas and brainstorm your approach. It’s about the assets needed, where to launch them, when, and how it all fits together to pack the most powerful punch. It’s about giving your customer one message, no matter where they choose to find you.

That’s Why We Love Digital Integration

An integrated approach allows us to visualize a clear path towards well defined targets, and ensures that all the tactics used in a marketing plan effectively work together like beautiful little cogs of the same perfectly working machine. By creating a well-defined concept and plan, you are able to build a strong sense of brand and drastically increase the chances of creating and nurturing a community of brand advocates. It is these brand advocates that will ultimately assist you with your marketing efforts, all because they know and trust you.

Here’s How to Do It

  • Get in a Room Together: For us, it’s all about getting the relevant people in the same room together. It’s easy to isolate yourself when it comes to digital, but everyone needs to be part of the planning process. By doing this, experts can work together to create a brilliantly executed plan across channels.
  • Brainstorm: Start fleshing out potential campaign ideas for the next three to six months. If someone comes up with a great idea for one channel, others will find ways of expanding it across the different services. Make sure you let everyone speak so that by the time you leave you have six or more solid integrated campaign ideas.
  • Plan: Planning an integrated marketing calendar in advance is crucial for creating a campaign that works across all channels. Get each of your channel owners to fill in the calendar with the ideas discussed for PR, content, PPC, SEO etc. for the next six months.
  • Map out your resources and set goals: The month before the implementation of a campaign, regroup. By doing this you’re able to pin point exactly what resources your campaign will be using and what actionable points to take next. It will also allow you to identify what your goal for the campaign really is. Are you trying to drive more traffic to your blog? Are you trying to increase ticket sales? By identifying your metrics for success, your team can work towards a common goal.
  • Get to work: From there, your entire client team should be on the same page. All that’s left to do is to create, promote and reap the rewards of your awesome campaign.
  • Do a post mortem: You’ll never learn if you don’t study your work, what you did right, what you didn’t, and what you can do next time to make it even better.

Don’t Forget to Be Yourself

The Importance of Brand Identity in Marketing

It is alarming to notice how many businesses and brands lack a defined brand identity. How does one promote awareness of a brand without an identity or unique voice? How do you gain followers or build a community around an entity that has no personality? The short answer is; you don’t.

The problem is that a disjointed personality will confuse users and search engines. Users want to be able to identify with you and have your brand validate how they see themselves. Say for example that you have a woman who fancies herself a sophisticated socialite. It goes without saying that she’ll want to interact with and buy from a high-end, sophisticated brand. But if the message isn’t on point, the brand isn’t consistent and the identity is fragmented, she’ll start finding it a whole lot less desirable.

Additionally, the language you use to describe your brand and where the links to your brand come from, both contribute to how accurately search engines rank you. It’s all about being put in front of the right target audience. For example, if that same high-end brand’s onsite copy points towards elegant, luxury clothing, but your PPC campaign is using words like ‘cheap’ in your ads, there is no way you’ll be reaching the kind of people who would actually spend a significant amount of money on a coat.

Have You Evolved?

What are your thoughts on a well-defined and integrated marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments.

Editor's note: This post is a modified version of the original which you may find here.

Stephan originally entered the world of digital marketing working specifically within the field of SEO. Over the past 6 years, he has become a key player in the MediaVision team. His role now is primarily that of digital strategist; ensuring integrated, multichannel marketing is the order of the day.

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