Business Strategy & Digital Marketing: Communication Matters
Us marketers can sometimes get caught up in the creativity of our profession. In reality, it’s imperative for us to stay connected to other areas of the business and understand the bigger picture. Keeping wider business goals as the overarching ambition will allow us to take the necessary steps to make them a reality.
In digital marketing, this disjoint can be more enhanced. Not only are we “fluffy marketers”, but according to some we’re not working in the “real world”. With over $1.2 million generated in global e-commerce every 30 seconds, I beg to differ. Furthermore, the relationship between online and offline marketing is becoming more blurred every day – something which is remarkably evident in the PR industry.
It’s impossible to ignore the impact of digital, that’s for sure. Getting your digital strategy working effectively in line with your business strategy will help your brand grow and prosper.
So, how can you get this well-oiled machine started?
Aligning Digital Marketing & Working Together
The first objective is to build understanding between the different parties. This could be between the leadership of an organisation and their internal marketing team, or it could also be between a brand and the agency undertaking their digital marketing activities. Everyone has their role in establishing the success of an organisation, and so ensuring their plans are communicated helps the combined drive.
It is essential for everyone to have an understanding of the bigger picture, and how they contribute towards it. This approach is similar to that of developing a content strategy for your marketing itself. A detailed understanding of target audience and KPIs of a campaign will determine which pieces complete the puzzle; i.e. the types of blog articles, videos, infographics, social, or anything else. If all activities contribute towards the end goal, the campaign will be a success.
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Similarly, digital marketing as a whole is just one element of a bigger business strategy – and should be aligned as such.
Ensuring that your business’ marketing team are in touch with a more general calendar means that they will not miss an opportunity to push your brand in the right places. This goes for your internal calendar of events, conferences, and meetings, but also for events happening outside your industry; national holidays, celebrations, and key dates.
Your own internal activities present an excellent opportunity for newsworthy content, as well as allowing you to demonstrate the identity of your business and its employees to your online audience.
Key calendar dates should form the basis of your social media strategy but should also allow for special offers or incentives – all of which need to be communicated through your marketing channels. For example, if a retail brand is offering a pre-Christmas sale – the marketing team must have a fully-prepared social media and content strategy to run alongside, thereby maximising awareness and increasing sales.
The same goes for piggy-backing events and key dates, although brands constantly get this wrong. A particularly horrendous example of this is Epicurious’ trend hop after the Boston bombings of 2013;
Here’s a much lighter example from Cadbury’s UK, hopping on the Pancake Day trend;
As you can see below, Salesforce demonstrated a knowledge of their specific market – leveraging The Oscars to create interesting and relevant content at the right time. Their business lessons from The Oscars are genuinely useful and relevant to their audience, contributing to the wider goal of engaging their readers and demonstrating Salesforce’s position as thought leaders.
— Salesforce (@salesforce) February 22, 2015
If your organisation is beginning to operate in fresh markets, and you’re making contacts in different countries across the world, aligning your digital marketing efforts could throw up some essential information about how you’re likely to perform.
The beauty of PPC is that you can test new markets immediately, with very strict budget limitations. A well constructed Google Adwords campaign will highlight very quickly if your venture is likely to be successful or not.
Furthermore, if your business is expanding into different areas of the UK, your digital marketing and PR activities should support this comprehensively. For example, if your brand is opening a new store in a city, contacting local press about your opening party will help boost brand awareness in your area. From a search engine perspective, location pages, Google Plus profiles, and other tricks will help your appear in Google for people searching in your area.
Again, the focus here is on communication between different parties. If your digital team is aware of these business developments they can shout about it online at the right time, in the right way.
Your digital marketing team is constructing a consistent brand online, and is committed to building the right audience. Sudden changes in business direction will confuse your audience, and could render previous content irrelevant. Whilst it is important to remain flexible and adaptable, any large-scale business changes should be communicated to the marketing team in good time.
After building the right audience, it’s imperative to keep your following loyal. In order to do this, digital marketers must feed them with consistently useful / inspiring content in line with your brand message.
The overall message here is one of communication and collaboration. If these philosophies are adopted, your digital marketing activities are sure to directly contribute to the success of your overall business strategy.
For more on how we can align our own digital marketing skills with your business strategy, give us a call on +44 (0)1865 684999 or contact us online.