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Since 2012, brands are slowly starting to realize they desperately need a plan when it comes to how they approach online platforms. In the latest market research, only half of businesses actually have a defined digital strategy in place as a facet of an overall marketing strategy. Being completely transparent, this fact causes me to feel a combination of utter confusion and early feelings of a panic attack. I am not here to talk to the 50 percent of brands that don’t have a plan. They are already behind. I am here to help the 50 percent of you who are doing something to improve your digital marketing efforts.
Here are five important lenses you should look at your digital strategy through that will help improve any strategy on any platform for any type of brand or business.
1. You Aren’t Honest with Yourself
Until recently, brands were dictating the narratives, and it was a one-way conversation. Brands were telling people what to think and feel, and for the most part, people listened and reacted. Then the internet and social media happened and everything changed. If you are only listening to what the people inside your building are saying about your brand and are not listening to what the market, and more importantly your customers, are saying about your brand online, you are vulnerable. The fact is brands are actively engaging with their audiences, and an open dialogue will help win the business. You are doing yourself a disservice if you are not completely honest about what your business’ strengths and weaknesses are because I guarantee your competition is.
2. You Don’t Actually Know Your Customer
Every brand has a target audience, and if you don’t know yours, stop reading this right now and figure out that out first. For those still reading, ask yourself how segmented your audience is. Are you painting with a wide brush and assuming the person who wants to buy your product has the same wants, needs and attributes on the website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.? If so, the simple answer is you do not know your customers as well as you should. All of those social media platforms provide very detailed analytics about your fan, and I suggest you go over them with a fine toothed comb for each and adjust your language based on your findings.
3. Your Strategy Isn’t Fun or Memorable
The middle is a safe place to play. You might limit the number of crisis scenarios that are possible, and you may not turn off potential or current customers. But you also won’t be remembered. The campaigns that stick with us (Old Spice, ASPCA and Skittles to name just a few) are those that take us out of our normal routine and demand our attention. When this happens, your brand has entered the opportunity to win someone’s business.
4. You Don’t Know What Action You Want to See
You know your segmented audience, you have a great strategy in place and memorable campaigns planned. Then what? Do you know what you are ultimately hoping to see your audience do? If you don’t know what action constitutes as a win, it was all for nothing. Clearly define your goals so you have something to mark against to determine what is or is not working and adjust accordingly.
5. Your Strategy Doesn’t Scare You
If you are looking at your digital strategy and do not have any fear, then it is not ambitious enough. You need to go back to the drawing board. Every great digital strategy should scare your boss just a little. That means you are pushing the brand out of the middle, and that is where your brand will begin to separate itself from the competition.