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The Digital Marketing Arms Race: How To Get Started

DigitalRob Mulholland

Years ago, when I started my career in marketing, digital was only just emerging as a promotional channel. That’s quite a generalist statement, but that’s because digital was kind of seen as one beast - although it wasn’t even referred to as digital, more like web or online.

Since those early, early days a lot has changed. Gradually, specific digital disciplines emerged - SEO, Paid, Email, Display, Social, Content all underpinned by analytics.

This expanding array of digital specialisms may seem to some businesses like too many to manage but, as we frequently point out, if you don’t utilise digital you could be disadvantaging your chances against those organisations that do.

For all intents and purposes digital marketing, like many other forms of marketing, is a sector by sector arms race.

Terrifying as this may sound it needn’t be.

Here are our top 6 suggestions for how you can begin to be more competitive in the digital arena:

 

Research: Observe which digital channels your competitors or the leading organisations of your sector are using, and how they use them.   

Objectives: Go back to your objectives; the business's overall objectives and also your overall marketing objectives - if you don’t have these (at either level) we strongly recommend getting some before embarking on any digital activity purely from a measurement point of view (see why below).

Channels: With an eye on what you want to achieve (your objectives - above), pick the digital channels you believe will enable you to do so (SEO, Paid, Email, Display, Social, Content).       

Creative: Now with an eye on both your objectives and your digital channels it’s time to decide what you want to say. As well as being creative with the message, think about how you want potential customers to respond and ensure that you have the mechanisms and resources in place to handle those responses.        

Measure: Before you start, be clear as to what key performance indicators (KPI’s) you will be measuring on your digital strategy. For example; do you want to track your search engine ranking and the impact it has on the volume of visitor sessions, or do you want to measure the source of sessions and how these people engage with your website and content? Think how these metrics contribute to your overall business and marketing objectives, and be sure that they do.

Test: After starting your digital strategy set a date for when you will review activities and judge their success. Small strategies may suit shorter lead times between reviews than bigger ones. Please note, a strategy review is completely different to campaign monitoring, which needs to be done far more frequently, depending on the digital channel.

 

There’s so much more to write on this subject so if you would like further detail or help with establishing your entry into the digital marketing arms race, please contact McQueenie Mulholland.