Recession-proof your business: Digital Marketing Strategy for 2023
Digital marketing is more important now than ever.
Now is the time to create, streamline, or optimise your digital marketing strategy and safeguard your business against inflation and the recession.
Many business owners still struggle to get on top of their digital marketing. Where do you start if you have a digital marketing strategy? Many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels are today for acquiring and retaining customers. Yet they don't have an integrated plan to support digital transformation and business growth, that engages with their audiences effectively online.
If your business doesn't have a strategic digital marketing plan aligned with your business plan you likely experience the ten issues we highlight in this article and you will lose out to competitors who are more digitally savvy.
For each of these ten digital marketing challenges, we recommend marketing solutions and the next steps to help you optimise your marketing strategy in 2023.
Why is digital marketing more important now?
We are back in the time of Inflation. Inflation levels are rocketing globally. The impact of inflation can be felt in the USA, UK, Europe and East Asia too. The impact of inflation will result in a recession.
So, critically, all businesses need to think about the impact of this phenomenon on customers, production, services, staff, overheads and survival. The one crucial strategy of managing and preparing your business that needs your attention more than ever is your digital marketing strategy.
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing must support your marketing and business goals.
Digital Marketing for the purposes of this discussion can be described as:
Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies and media.
This is the big picture which you need a strategy to support. You need mastery of the details to compete across the main digital platforms that consumers or businesses use to find and select products.
The algorithms used to power Facebook, Instagram, Google and LinkedIn control your visibility and how much you pay, so to get visibility digital marketers need to get to grips with the latest digital techniques, tactics and strategies.
How many different types of digital marketing are there?
When training and consulting we discuss six types of marketing activity, categorised by the role they play in your customer's value journey and the interaction they have with your brand.
These 6 types are:
1. Strategy and governance (or management): Goals – Analytics, Strategy (Segmentation, Targeting, Brand Positioning), integration, marketing and sales alignment, resourcing, structure, marketing technology and data
2. Goals and measurement: Forecasts, digital reporting including KPI dashboards, attribution and customer insight
3. Media: Paid, owned, and earned media including Search, Social and Display ads
4. Experience: Desktop / mobile website and apps. Customer service.
5. Messaging: Email, Chat, Social media, customer service, on-site interactions and personalisation
6. Content: Product and blog content to populate content marketing, PDF downloads, Interactive tools
How important is digital marketing today?
A simple measure of the importance of digital marketing is how much money is spent on digital media. In the United States, over three-quarters of media budgets will be in digital media. This is a global trend and is driven by how you can measure your return on investment in digital marketing. Unlike other forms of advertising where only part of it works but you are not sure about what part.
So what does the data tell us?
The data shows that social media marketing and search marketing are important digital marketing investments. The data also shows that digital display and digital video are significant.
The data is more representative of spend by larger businesses who are now using these channels to replace investment in TV and print advertising.
Digital strategy advice for businesses
Within each technique, there are lots of detailed tactics that are important to success. So, they need to be evaluated and prioritised. For example, dynamic content for email automation, website personalisation to programmatic, retargeting, and skyscraper content for organic search.
The challenges of digital marketing
It’s our experience that the most common challenge is where to start drawing up your digital marketing plan. I think there is a fear that a massive report is required, but we believe that lean planning works best.
How does your digital marketing compare?
Extensive research by Smart Insights in the UK found that nearly half of companies don't have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy.
Currently, about 12% are still using a separate digital document, which is the first step in the process towards a fully integrated strategy.
When working with marketers and business owners, we find the creation of digital plans often works best in two stages.
First, a separate digital marketing plan is created. This is useful to get agreement and buy-in by showing the opportunities and problems. At this stage, you can map out a path by setting goals and specific strategies for digital.
Second, digital becomes integrated into marketing strategy, it's a core activity, "business-as-usual". But, it doesn't warrant separate planning, except for the tactics. This is the stage at which your integrated omnichannel marketing will be the most effective.
What are the 10 issues and challenges you have with your digital marketing strategy?
You need to invest more in digital marketing because the future of your business needs to evolve through a period of digital transformation. You won't be able to build your brand and attract new customers in the future if you don’t.
When formulating a strategy, you should be addressing the 10 most common problems, issues and challenges relevant to achieving that business objective.
1. You're directionless
Companies without a digital strategy don't have a clear strategic goal for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones.
2. You won't know your online audience or market share
Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven't researched this.
Perhaps, more importantly, you won't understand your online marketplace. The dynamics will be different from traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behaviour, competitors, propositions, and options for marketing communications.
Spend some time looking at your Customer Avatars and the Customer Value Journey they go on when engaging with your brand.
3. Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share through optimising an always-on marketing approach
If you're not devoting enough resources to digital, or you're using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will be all over you and your business.
Always-on marketing refers to the investments in paid, owned and earned media needed across the customer lifecycle. These are needed to maintain visibility and support conversion and retention continuously as people search for and select products online.
4. You don't have a powerful online value proposition
As part of defining the scope of opportunity when using a strategic approach to digital marketing, it’s helpful to think about how digital experiences can improve your brand appeal.
This involves improving online services, interactive tools and digital audience interactions to improve customer service.
A clearly defined digital value proposition tailored to your different target customer avatars will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage and stay loyal.
5. You don't know your online customers well enough
It's often said that digital is the "most measurable medium ever". But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes of visits, not the sentiment of visitors or what they are thinking. You need to use other forms of research and website user feedback tools to identify your weak points and then address them.
6. You're not integrated ("disintegrated")
It's all too common for digital activities to be completed in silos whether that's a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT, or a separate digital agency. It's easier that way to package 'digital' into a convenient chunk. But of course, it's less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media works best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.
That's why we recommend developing an integrated digital marketing strategy. With your integrated plan in place, digital will become part of your marketing activity and part of business as usual.
7. Digital doesn't have enough people/budget given its importance
Insufficient resources will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing. There is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.
By working with an organisation like DigitalxMarketing we can help you learn the skills and expertise needed to execute your strategy.
8. You're wasting money and time through duplication
Even if you do have sufficient resources, they may be wasted. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organisation purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.
That's why you need to invest in a marketing strategy that works for you and your team, to plan, manage and optimise your digital channels and platforms. Drive the marketing results you need to achieve your business objectives, and boost your marketing ROI.
9. You're not agile enough to catch up or stay ahead
If you look at the top online brands like Amazon, Booking.com, Dell, Google and Zappos, they're all dynamic to gain or keep their online audiences.
10. You're not optimising
Every company with a website will have analytics. But many senior managers don't ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once your digital channel strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to the continuous improvement of the key aspects like brand building, site user experience, and lead nurturing.
Now is the best time to put together your digital strategy for your business.
With a good digital strategy you can protect your business during the recession by ensuring you can get the best return on your marketing and advertising investment.
If you are looking at developing an integrated digital marketing strategy then DigitalxMarketing can help.