Digital strategy

Digital strategy fundamentals

This is an establishment of a set of goals and practices which will guide the long term digital objectives and operate across all digital channels utilized by the customer.


Core components of digital strategy:

  • objectives: awareness, consideration, conversion and retention
  • channel strategy: understanding what is possible to do with available channels, but choosing either to use a specific channel or feature which is the most pertinent to the audience
  • content strategy: decision what will be put in the channels, it is informed by the overarching digital strategy
  • media strategy: how the paid activity is utilized
  • tactics: individual executions which are a part of making up the strategy


Understanding outputs of the digital marketing strategy: establishing the fundamentals, strong familiarity, confirmation of requirements.


Philosophy of digital strategy:

  • digital as content
  • digital as advertising
  • digital as participation
  • digital as a balance of the first three points

Overarching strategy

It is the most important guide to the whole activity. It is a key statement what identifies, regardless of the platform and execution, what is the digital strategy applied.


Digital marketing

Consists of all online activities, creative formats and messages that aim to engage with the consumers online by using free and paid channels, for the purpose of delivering on the company commercial objectives.


Core elements of digital marketing strategy

  • time: workforce recruitment and training, campaign timelines, production of creatives
  • money
  • people


Resource map: it is a transparent layout of all the resources required and identified gaps in current possessed resources.

Budgeting: taking into consideration media cost, production of creatives, fees of agencies and al remaining digital tools. To develop a budgeting plan, resources should be split to:

  • people
  • technology
  • training
  • processes

Key considerations in this matter:

  • target audience
  • settings
  • money
  • allocation of the budget
  • allocation to ad spending
  • under-investing


Return on investment (ROI)

ROI is the cost of all digital activities versus the return generated. Is reported as a percentage and the formula to calculate it is:

((Revenue – marketing costs)*100)/marketing costs


Determination of ROI

Marketing success is principally measured in sales and leads.

Sales: when someone buys a product or service through a digital channel or as a result of digital activity. It is an effective measure how much income comes from sales versus what is an actual cost to deliver .

Leads: a way to determine a value of a lead is to calculate the revenue per lead. If a lead has 10% conversion rate, that means that 10 leads generate 1 sale. If the sale is worth 50 USD; then one lead is worth 5 USD. (50 USD/ 10 leads = 5 USD revenue per lead)


Micro conversions

Micro conversions are all the actions the user takes and they contribute to the purchasing decision making process.


Setting objectives

Purpose: to set clear objectives for all marketing activities.

They should be set up for:

  • sales
  • site visits
  • leads
  • engagement
  • reach
  • sentiment
  • video retention
  • hashtag usage
  • interactions
  • mentions
  • visits
  • video views
  • search volumes

And they should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.


KPI (Key Performance Indicator)

KPI is a measureable value demonstrating how effective is the company in achieving key business objectives. It is important to set the KPI realistic and meaningful. It needs to be done by understanding which metrics are available and best tailored to measure channel performance.


Provides many metrics of performance. Is is a benchmark how the metrics perform in a given time (day, week, month).

Assigning responsibilities

  • who identifies patterns of success
  • who makes decisions for change
  • who is responsible for performance
  • who tracks the performance


KPIs within specific business areas:

  • marketing: sales, awareness, awards, engagement
  • product: sales, conversions, CTR
  • customer service: response time, response rate, sentiment
  • public relations: reach, sentiment, company image


Reviewing the past

Past campaigns can give a valuable insight how a good strategy can deliver on objectives. Results can be forecasted by looking on similar campaigns and benchmarking for performance. Forecasting is an iterative process which starts with traffic.

  • traffic: (budget/CPC) = traffic cost
  • traffic conversions: traffic x conversion rate = total conversions
  • CPA: budget/total conversions = CPA


Once a forecast is agreed, it is necessary to follow a number of metrics to ensure that everything is on track. Those metrics are Key Performance Indicators and they are evident in the forecast.


Role of a review

Reviewing the performance is a key in every company. It allows to maintain high standards and identify new opportunities.

Launch => Review => Adapt => Review => Adapt => Report


Research activities

Research activities consist of:

  • research mapping
  • channel analytics
  • audience research
  • keyword research
  • social listening


A research map is a plan which assures that all areas of research are being covered correctly and allows to map the research to deliver insights. Thinking about research must be critical, as weak research can led to false reports. Reasons for false reports are: absence of data sources, old information, too small sample sizes, origin of the report.

Common reasons why pages are not placed in the index: web analytics, current customer research and social channel insights.

Resources available for desk research can be accessed from the simple Google search. It consists of free to access articles, studies, research papers and other similar documents online. This type of research allows to discover demographics, trends and insights.

Premium research: services like WARC, ANA.

To conduct a research it is possible as well to use google and search for a research: it allows to use rigth keywords, but also permits to set up time to ensure that the research is relevant.


Digital audit

It is simple an assessment of all active media channels used by a company to evaluate how effective they are in the current campaigns.

It can be split in:

  • site audit
  • access and login details
  • existing sources
  • chain of command
  • social audit and channel audit
  • administrators
  • history


Audience research

It consists of developing specific insights into target audience, which guide following activities. Audience research is excellent for building key insights and allows to identify specific types of interest, channels, and demographics of the target audience.


Audience research tools:

  • FB audience insight tool
  • Google Ads
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • ConsumerBarometer
  • Brandwatch
  • Pulsar
  • Twitter Audience Insight Tool


Audience personas

Building audience personas allows to build audience insight by perceiving them as real people.


Key insights in developing audience personas

  • device usage
  • quirks
  • search behavior
  • content preferences
  • gender
  • age
  • interests and motivations
  • choices of digital channels


Prioritizing the audience: it allows to revise and adjust budget effectively to a right type of the audience, which is easier to reach.


Social listening

It involves observing live conversations to derive insights from conversation topics and used language. It can be split into observational listening (where assumptions can be made about the audience and a theory how the audience behaves) and empirical listening.


Developing insights

  • identification of keywords (commonly used keywords when discussing the brand, product or service)
  • use of social research
  • checking for additional keywords
  • identification of trends
  • establishing insights


Competitor research

It is a process of establishing of a picture of the competition landscape. It involves identification of each of the competitors, size and quality of their digital media channels and applying similar strategies.


Key benefits of competitor research

  • comparison of channels
  • comparison of channel sizes
  • identification of channel gaps
  • assessment of the content
  • assessment of format gaps


Developing a brief

  • creative brief: a document using product, audience and insights from a competitor to inspire campaign ideas to deliver objectives. Outputs of a brief should be clearly defined and include a copy of message, creative formats and banners, social posts and videos.
  • media brief
  • media plan


Creative strategy

Creative strategy is an approach of a long term how to develop visual stimuli for a brand, product or service. Covers 4 key areas: ideas, activation, visuals and narratives.

Has transferable content: high quality videos, converted assets, aid SEO, GIFs, existing assets.


Content strategy

It is a guide how the content should be written and what formats should be used to drive towards success outcomes.

  • is derived from the overarching strategy
  • captures what is the story and the narrative
  • states the main purpose of the content
  • lists key elements
  • ensures that the content is developed for a purpose and effect

Content planning

Involves addressing all details of the established content strategy that will help to plan the content from the guide to implementation.


Format plan

This is a list of all formats that will be implemented and is needed to ensure that the creative formats will be developed up to required specifications.

The content has to be laid out in a given time period, all relevant channels have to be listed, all content has to be listed, format details have to be specified, dimensions and requirements need to be understood.

Each channel requires specific formats: video, display, LinkedIn, Twitter have all different formats, as well as Facebook, Instagram, Snapczat or PPC.


Executing a digital marketing strategy

First, digital channels need to be identified for every campaign:

  • social
  • paid search (PPC)
  • display
  • SEO
  • content
  • email

Then a toolkit needs to be developed to achieve objectives: a selection of channels needs to be made, based on how they can deliver objectives. Each channel has a core function which can be related do delivery of the objective.


Media plan

Media plan serves as a guide for budget planning, but also for budget tracking. Usually is done in Excel and contains one channel per line.


Campaign action plan

The campaign action plan is similar to media plan and lists in detail:

  • paid media channels
  • non paid channels
  • briefings and deadlines for creatives
  • run dates for each channel and timings for production
  • budget for each item


Digital adds value to other media

If there are larger campaigns with offline elements, try to integrate digital media to reinforce and enhance performance across all the channels.

Trans time mapping: when the publicity runs as a TV commercial, it runs on very specific channels and during very specific time slots. This are called trans times. To reinforce the impact of a TV commercial, you should ensure that the audience is also targeted with creatives and search activity during the same time. It can occur such actions:

  • users will be willing more likely to click on social content or search for the advertised product
  • the recall of the creative is far much higher


Communicating the results

The following items need to be communicated:

  1. Objectives
  2. Outcomes
  3. Creatives
  4. Channels
  5. Media plans
  6. Costs


Structuring the strategy: Once the digital marketing strategy starts to take shape, it should be first written and validated in Word, then put on Power Point presentation.

On PPT presentation all items which can be send or presented to customers should be highlighted. Costs should be revealed only towards