Holistic Digital Marketing Part 1: Strategy
How to maximize your outcomes and budget
Digital marketing offers endless possibilities to get your messages in front of members and prospects. It’s tempting to jump on the latest trend, platform, or technique to cast a wide net. The result, however, can be a hodgepodge of offers and images that don’t support your core value proposition and don’t speak to individual customer journeys. Poor ROI and low engagement are the inevitable outcomes with this approach.
A better idea is to take a holistic approach to your digital marketing. Holistic marketing looks at the big picture of your brand and how all the pieces work together. It inspires and engages your audience through consistent, unified messaging that meets people where they are in the buying cycle. Holistic digital marketing will tell you where to focus your online efforts to maximize your resources, budget, and outcomes. Here’s how to get started.
Take inventory of your brand ecosystem
Before you can take a holistic approach to any marketing—digital or otherwise—you must take inventory of all aspects of your brand. Consider your digital platforms, such as your website and social media feeds. Add in your organization’s assets, like your events and membership. You will also need to consider your audience and segments as well as your budget and the timing of your initiatives.
Establish Objectives and KPIs
Before you ever brainstorm a campaign, establish objectives and KPIs to measure progress. These will help you know where to focus your energy and budget. In addition to your attendance, membership, and retention goals, your digital marketing objectives might include click-though rates, reach, impressions, and conversions (ex: downloads, purchases, form submissions).
Analyze Past Performance
Take a look at your past digital marketing initiatives and try to extract key insights. Was there a particular offer or message that resonated with your audience? Did a specific platform gain more traffic than others? Which information piece was downloaded most? Were there any flops? Knowing where you’ve been can help you determine where to go next. Quantify results whenever possible (ex: cost per click, lead, or conversion).
Examine Your Audience
Next, take an in-depth look at your audience. Besides the standard audience analysis (who are they, what do they care about?), holistic digital marketing requires a few additional questions.
- How do people access your content and messages? (ex: mobile vs. social, Explorer vs. Chrome)
- Which social media platforms do they prefer?
- What communication formats do they prefer? (ex: email, social, SMS, direct mail)
- What are they actually reading? (ex: blogs, whitepapers, microsites, event info)
- What insights can you gain from available data? (ex: age, geography, demographics, member/non-member, etc.)
Give the People What They Want
Tailor your efforts based on the answers to these questions. If your audience prefers a mobile experience, your website design must be responsive and optimized for mobile users. If they spend more time on Facebook than Twitter, don’t worry about advertising on Twitter. If they convert more often over email, allocate additional resources to email.
Optimize Your Budget and Timing
Choose digital strategies based on how you can best move people along their customer journeys within your available budget. Time your initiatives with the buying cycle as well as your organization’s calendar and other industry events (ex: conferences, course offerings, changing regulations, membership renewal deadlines).
Whichever strategies you settle on, keep in mind that holistic marketing is a 360-degree approach to reaching your audience. Its success depends on consistency online and off. To build trust and recognition among your base, your digital assets should match your real-world assets—not only in look and feel but in voice and personality as well.
Track KPIs over time to gauge the success of your digital initiatives and timing. Did you meet your goals and objectives? Make adjustments as needed—in real time if possible, or use your findings as benchmarks for next year.
Holistic digital marketing makes it possible to reach your audience with the right content on the right channel at the right time. It helps you get the most out of your budget while minimizing staff time and resources. What does that look like in practical terms? Tune in next week for Holistic Digital Marketing Part 2: Platforms and Tools.
photocredit @adamkuylenstierna via Twenty20