Whether you’re looking to start a digital marketing program from the ground up or you’re looking to enhance your existing efforts, launching a fragmented set of activities will unlikely result in success. Instead, approach this effort strategically by taking a broad, comprehensive look at Marketing at your company.
Are your programs interconnected? Are your online activities (your company’s web site, social media channels, blogs, and webinars) integrated amongst themselves and with offline tactics (industry conferences, print advertising, and collateral)? Do you develop original, valuable, relevant content that is consistently and broadly shared and distributed? Are you leveraging influential, industry voices to advocate for your brand? If you answered no to any of these questions, your company would benefit from a more thoughtful and logical methodology – one that is custom designed for your industry – to attract and retain a clearly defined target audience—and, ultimately, drive existing clients and prospects to consider your product or service in their purchase evaluation.
While it may seem overwhelming, the most effective way to begin this process is to first develop and document your strategy. Many of the clients and partners who I’ve come in contact with over the years minimize its importance and fail to complete this step. If you lack the internal expertise, then hire a professional. Your strategy should detail your business objectives and “big picture” priorities with the goal of achieving specific objectives (market place growth, profitability, etc.) and focus on delivering your product(s) according to how, where, and when your customers prefer to buy, and a definition of your target market and any sub categories. Once you’ve documented your strategy, you can begin to work on your end to end marketing plan which should contain the following essential elements: offline and online activities, a content marketing (custom publishing program), an influencer marketing program, a PR and advertising component, and an overall road map of how you plan to execute.
The first step is always the hardest but a well thought out, integrated and detailed plan is an essential foundation.