Digital strategy doesn’t start with a social media campaign or a creative brief.
It starts with finding a digital strategy agency that can help you build a scalable & compelling foundation anchored in the reality of your target market.
Digital strategy agencies provide organizations with a measurable strategy framework that they can use to build brand awareness, generate leads and get more sales online.
The strategy development process has three phases, namely DISCOVERY, POSITIONING, followed by individual CHANNEL STRATEGIES.
A well developed digital strategy will incorporate:
- Product and service analysis & positioning
- Competitive analysis
- Jobs-to-be-done market segmentation
- A storytelling framework & irresistible offer(s)
- SEO & content strategy
- Social media & PR strategies
- Affiliate & influencer strategies
- Lead generation and sales automation strategies
- Marketing automation, analytics & budget priorities
*NOTE: A digital strategy is distinct from (and precedes), digital marketing campaigns.
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What is a digital strategy agency?
Digital strategy agencies provide business owners with a complete strategy for their online presence.
A digital strategy agency focuses on user acquisition, lead generation, and analytics to measure results. These agencies work with businesses across different verticals. Some may focus very narrowly on certain verticals, where others would take a more generalist approach.
It is sometimes assumed that digital strategies start with the execution of digital marketing campaigns.
This is wrong.
A sophisticated digital strategy agency will first carry our some research, understand the competitive positioning of the client’s offer, segment the market, help craft compelling offers, develop channel strategies, and only then would they start developing digital marketing campaigns.
Find yourself an agency that works with you to build a solid foundation from where you can launch measurable & sustainable digital marketing campaigns.
Why is it important to have a digital strategy?
The rise of the digital world has fundamentally changed the competitive landscape across every industry. Consumers’ expectations have also changed.
Gone are the days of setting direction annually. Businesses must constantly monitor, shift and learn, while balancing risk and reward.
Digital strategies are a vital part of digital transformation, and the right one can help your company take its business to the next level. A good strategy will focus on user experience, brand voice, ease of interaction, and customer delight.
What are the benefits of a digital strategy?
Firstly, it is a good way to track how well your business is performing compared to your competitors. By benchmarking your company’s performance against your competitors, you can have an analytical perspective on how you stack up in the market. This analytical view is useful in refining your digital strategy. Moreover, it helps to keep you focused on what clients are actually interested in.
As digital continues to change the world, business leaders are often tempted to fall into the trap of a digital “shiny object” syndrome. Their approach to innovation is often characterized by the use of buzzwords, such as “machine learning” or “AI.” This approach will lead to market loss and irrelevance, as the world keeps accelerating to a digital and mobile first transformation.
The numbers don't lie
Common mistakes made when developing digital strategies
Companies that lack a digital strategy tend to fear the digital future because it tends to cannibalize their existing (analog) business model.
Instead of focusing on digital, companies simply tinker with it.
This can lead to disastrous results, since revenue directly correlates with the adoption of digital. To avoid this, businesses should hire a digital agency to assist with their efforts.
The strategic approach to digital marketing requires a long-term view. By developing a long-term strategy, businesses can maximize their results while avoiding common mistakes.
Here are some common mistakes that organizations make:
- Thinking that digital strategy is only a marketing function
- Thinking that digital strategy is the same thing as digital marketing
- Not understanding that digital provides way more granularity than traditional approaches
- Not realizing the power of trend analysis and keyword research to shape value propositions
Companies should make their digital strategy a core part of the organization’s transformation. Any attempt to resist the digital revolution is guaranteed to have a negative impact. Unless they embrace digital as a core initiative, their strategy will eventually become obsolete. Digital transformation is a core theme for the foreseeable future, and the only way to avoid irrelevance is to fully embrace it.
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What are the components of a great digital strategy?
“Digital strategy” means different things to different people.
Depending on who you ask and what their level of expertise is, you will get many different answers. Some people think of it as a marketing strategy, some would interpret it as narrowly as just dealing with a particular aspect of digital marketing, like Social Media, as illustrated.
We believe that anything with the word “STRATEGY” in it exists at the foundational layer of the organization. Anything higher up is a project, plan, tactic, and so forth.
To us, “digital strategy” originates in the C-Suite, and forms part of the core organizational strategic initiatives.
The digital strategy development process
The digital strategy development process takes place primarily in the bottom three layers of the the UX Value Stack (R). It is foundational work that positions the organization for the long terms in terms of its products, services and market attitudes.
STEP 1: ANALYZE THE ORGANIZATION’S IDENTITY AND CULTURE
- What does the organization stand for?
- How trustworthy is the brand?
- What red flags are there that need to be addressed?
STEP 2: ANALYZE PRODUCTS & SERVICES, MARKET, COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT
- Are the services/products compelling?
- Is there a demand for them in their current form?
- Who are the obvious/non-obvious competitors?
- Scope for expansion or repositioning?
- Market segmentation using JTBD.
- Data analysis of trends, keywords & competitors.
STEP 3: STRATEGIC POSITIONING & OFFER DEVELOPMENT
- What is the strategic narrative that will stand the test of time, defy trends and become associated with the identity of the organization?
- What does the user’s “Hero’s Journey” look like?
- Develop compelling, one-of-a-kind service & product offers.
- Position the company and its offerings “culturally” in society.
STEP 4: DIGITAL STRATEGY ENABLEMENT
- Based on the foundational work in steps 1-3, develop the appropriate channel strategies.
- Develop traffic strategies.
- Develop content strategies.
STEP 5: BUDGET PRIORITIES AND TIMELINES
- An interactive budget that allows for scenario development.
- Setting priorities and implementation timelines.
- Developing analytics KPI framework to measure success.
How long does it take to develop a digital strategy?
A full digital strategy development process can take anything from 1 to 6 months, depending on the size of the organization, the complexity of its service offerings, and the alignment of the C-suite with the process.
Often, company politics are the biggest hindrance to developing an effective digital strategy for an organization.
How will I measure success of my chosen digital strategy?
The beauty of digital is that there is constantly data being generated.
Whether it’s web traffic, conversions, views, likes, A/B testing, heat mapping or whatever other metrics are important to the organization, you will have clearly measurable KPIs that you can use to evaluate the success of your digital strategy.
Cost of developing a digital strategy
Developing a digital strategy can be costly, but the cost is not the only consideration. A business must consider the opportunity cost of NOT having a well developed digital strategy.
While the cost of developing a digital strategy varies depending on various factors, you are typically looking a figure of between $10,000 and $100,000 for a comprehensive digital strategy development.
How ChangeMASTR can help you
Everything we do at ChangeMASTR is anchored in digital strategy. Whether you are interested in SEO, content, social or lead generation, we will start every engagement with (at least) a strategy conversation.
If you need help with positioning your company for the long term, planning to expand globally online, or considering a complete digital transformation of your company, let’s have a quick call.