Digital marketing strategy — what it is and how to create one
Digital marketing has seemingly taken over the advertising landscape for today’s businesses, with the industry expected to reach nearly $680 billion in 2023. While traditional methods should not be overlooked, successful brands need to develop a digital marketing strategy that includes the leading platforms and channels that consumers use most.
If you’re considering adding digital marketing to your mix or have started to integrate digital aspects without a defined strategy, you’re off to a great start. The next step is to better understand how a firm plan can help improve your marketing outcomes and achieve core metrics.
In this article, we’ll walk you through what a digital marketing strategy is, how it’s different from a campaign or tactic, and some of the key components to include in a solid strategy. To do this, we’ll discuss the following:
- What a digital marketing strategy is
- Digital marketing strategy vs. campaign vs. tactics
- Components of digital marketing strategies
- Create your digital marketing strategy
What is a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a plan that includes the objectives, approaches, goals, and metrics that will direct marketing efforts focused on digital platforms and methodologies. Digital marketing specifically applies to any marketing aimed at online or mobile platforms such as websites, social media, email, and search engines.
Strong digital marketing strategies outline advertising goals aligned to business metrics and select the best digital channels to use to achieve those objectives. This includes selecting the mediums as well as how much to invest in each with an understanding of investment and returns to be expected.
Media available for digital marketing strategies vary but can be segmented into three main categories:
- Earned media. This is content other people create for the brand that the company “earns” through providing quality products and services or through excellent customer service.
- Owned media. This is content created, owned, or controlled by the brand, such as an internally produced blog post, website, or social media account.
- Paid media. This is content purchased to be displayed, such as advertisements on social media or search engine pages.
Digital marketing strategy vs. campaigns vs. tactics
When it comes to digital marketing, there are several terms floating around that are often used interchangeably, albeit incorrectly. Here are some of the most important and how they stand out from one another:
- Marketing tactics. Tactics are the actual steps and actions taken to market to a particular audience. These methods can include creating blog content, posting social media materials, or sending out marketing emails at set intervals.
- Marketing campaigns. Campaigns are combined efforts that center on a particular product or initiative. These efforts often have an integrated theme or topic and are implemented across different channels using many tactics.
- Marketing strategy. Strategies are the bigger picture plans that determine which campaigns are needed to achieve business goals. They are often made up of multiple campaigns and span a broader timeline.
Components of digital marketing strategies
When approaching a digital marketing strategy, marketers need to consider several key components. From team goals to audiences, budgets, and metrics, a well-defined strategy will reflect all the various business goals and the specifics of how they will be achieved over a set time period. Let’s take a closer look.
- Goals. Measurable objectives help marketers understand how to define success across a set period. These goals are important to defining the strategy and subsequent components. Examples of goals include obtaining a set number of likes or shares on social media or generating specific web traffic figures.
- Audience. Marketers need to understand who they are messaging to as much as what they are messaging about. Audiences can be broken down by target segments and buyer personas, helping teams customize messaging that will better resonate with groups of individuals.
- Budget. How much is available to spend and projected returns on investment are core to understanding how much marketing can or can’t be achieved for a particular strategy. The amount allocated for marketing dollars should be tied directly to the marketing goals previously defined.
- Metrics. Knowing what worked well and what didn’t is important for future planning. Examining campaign success based on metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) can help leaders track progress while also justifying spending when it comes to planning the next round of campaigns.
Create your digital marketing strategy
Having a digital marketing strategy creates a framework the whole team can work from as well as measure their results and personal performance against. Strategies establish goals, channels, budget investments, target audiences, and objectives that govern the campaigns and tactics to fulfill them.
A solid digital marketing strategy can provide the guidance a marketing team needs to be self-sustaining, organized, and on track to achieve a defined return on investment across all marketing efforts.
To get started — whether you’re new to creating a strategy or looking to audit an existing one — check out our digital marketing resources. You can also consider the following steps as you evaluate your program:
- Review your current digital marketing strategy. If you don’t have one, what are you looking to achieve by creating one? Does your current strategy have clear metrics defined or a budget that you are committed to working with? Familiarize yourself with any existing plans or limitations you will need to consider moving forward.
- Check your alignment. Does your current strategy support your marketing goals? Every campaign and tactic should roll up into a clearly defined strategy that supports business and marketing metrics and goals. If you don’t have a strategy, consider the goals you are looking to achieve and the steps needed to get there.
- Identify efficiencies and productivity. Is your team using all the available tactics at their disposal? Be sure to break down each strategy into manageable campaigns that have clear tactics in place to make team members successful.
- Audit your successes. Discuss which tactics or channels could be leaned on more heavily in future campaigns. This can help make you more effective over time.
- Incorporate the right tools. You don’t have to go it alone. Make sure to leverage the available tools that support specific tactics with the goal of making things easier on your teams. Many tools include options for automation, scheduling, and reporting that can help fulfill successful digital marketing strategies.
Adobe can help deliver success with digital marketing
When it comes to digital marketing, there are software tools available that can help leaders more efficiently measure and implement campaigns and tactics critical to their success. Adobe Marketo Engage can help support a team’s digital strategy while driving customer engagement across complex buying journeys.
From lead nurturing to content optimization, Marketo Engage provides a single integrated platform to manage customer experiences and personalization for individual campaigns and across strategies.