"The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorted to formulae, recipes or other people's opinions." —— Paulo Coelho
It is shocking to know how many brands have lost their reputation and value overnight after making strategic blunders in digital marketing. Indeed, you learn from your mistakes, but the Internet can further amplify marketing disasters. Sometimes, it can be too late even to initiate damage control.
It may lead digital marketers to embarrassment and confusion as their mistakes are exposed to thousands and even millions of people. It may also lead to substantial financial losses as sales plummet.
In a bid to showcase their product as a unifying force in the US society, Pepsi decided to feature reality show star Kendall Jenner in one of its ads. The advertisers showed her trying to settle a Black Lives Matter standoff between furious protestors and the police. In the ad, they showed her offering a can of Pepsi to a police officer.
The advertisers intended to portray it as a warm gesture to forge camaraderie between both the parties, which were at loggerheads. Unfortunately, it didn't go down well with people, resulting in a widespread outrage.
After the spot being trolled on social media and SNL, Pepsi had to pull it off quickly. The brand's in-house team created the entire ad, and no professional agency was involved in it.
A few months down the line, PepsiCo president Brad Jakeman resigned. In a public comment, he conceded that the spot was "the most gut-wrenching experience of my career." A lesson learned the hard way by Pepsi is that understanding your audience is crucial to successful marketing.
How to Get Success in Digital Marketing?
This article discusses the components of a digital marketing plan, including the dos and don'ts of the game. Here are the thirteen key ingredients to succeed in digital marketing strategy making.
1. Define Your Brand
Explain how your brand is different from your competitors and what you're bringing to the table. Determine your USPs as they will convince people to choose your business over others. Whatever it is, it's all about making your company unique.
Understanding your current brand identity is at the core of all your efforts to improve your brand identity.
The "Golden Circle" concept helps businesses focus on "why" they exist on the planet. It doesn't matter what they do or how they do it. You can use it to define your brand.
Here are seven questions that you can use to simplify things and define your brand:
A. Why Does Your Company Exist?
It is a crucial question that decides the future of your company and something that makes you get out of bed every morning.
People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it and what you do proves what you believe. ā Simon Sinek
B. What Is Your Story?
Create and tell a story of your brand and share information about what you do and how you do it. You can use these five components to create a compelling story, i.e., the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. Compile a few case studies involving your best customer stories that you feel proud about.
C. What Problems Do You Help Your Customers Solve?
In this age, when more and more people research products online before making their first purchase, it's expected from the brands to create a fabulous firsthand experience. To do this, companies should research the market, especially the problems that their customers are facing. Besides a mad rush to promote their products, brands should take one step back and redesign their products to meet people's core needs.
D. Why Do These Customers Trust Your Team Over Your Competitors?
While performing a SWOT analysis, it's critical to know what makes you stand out from most of your competitors. Take advantage of other companies' deficiencies and weaker areas and improve your products and services to fill the gap in the market. Turn these improved features into the salient features of your products and advertise them vigorously.
E. What Brands Do You Look Up To?
There must be some brands you draw your inspiration from. You should imbibe those values and use some of their ideas to transform your own brand. For example, many companies look up to Tesla and Apple for the kind of innovation they have underway.
F. What Characteristics Would Your Employees Use to Describe Your Brand Today?
It's essential to know how your employees perceive your brand. To develop all probable conflicting adjectives, you can invite your teams for a survey and brainstorming sessions. Ask them what resonates with them when they think about your brand. Find out if your employees know your company's mission statement and vision. If their perception of your brand differs from yours, it's time to conduct sessions together so everybody is on the same page.
G. What Is Your Brand Voice?
Your brand voice decides the tone of your communication and the way you speak to your audience. Your employees should follow your brand voice everywhere, from blog posts to social media and print media briefings.
2. Create Buyer Personas and Identify Your Target Audience
Can you create a marketing plan if you are not aware of who your audience is? Buyer personas are fictional personalities who resemble your customers or the people who are most likely to purchase from you.
To create your buyer personas, you can begin with location, psychology, age, passion, pressing needs, advantages, routine, family size, income, job title, hobbies, interests, goals, etc. You can't approach a Gen-Z single woman the way you'd approach a married woman with three kids.
3. Set Your Goals
To achieve a big goal, you need to set twenty small goals. For example, your broader goal is to increase conversions by 50%; your small goal can be to grow your email subscribers or Instagram followers by 15%. Make sure each goal is measurable. Setting goals will help you rapidly achieve success in digital marketing.
While trying to establish realistic outcomes, always leave some room for uncertainty. And you should do so based on a set of predetermined KPIs as per your strategy and marketing objectives. Make your strategy based on a trimmed set of metrics. The idea is to sharpen your focus on those goals and not allow yourself to deviate. Keep things simple while delegating and communicating, and plan your project with a clear timeframe for your team, so everybody is focused and ready to collaborate.
4. Create a Customer Journey Map
Customer journey maps are an integral part of digital marketing strategy. These maps help you visualize the end-to-end customer experience with the help of infographics, diagrams, and illustrations.
With the help of these maps, you can know all the touchpoints customers interact with your brand. It includes offline touchpoints as well. Customer journey maps provide you a bird's eye view of your brand, products, and processes as the customer sees them. It gives a holistic idea about a customer's journey through the marketing and sales funnel. Here is the step-by-step process to craft a detailed journey map for your business and use it effectively.
In the 21st century, customer journeys are not considered linear and funnel-like as we believed in the 90s. These are far more complex and longer than a funnel that has a few fixed stages. Though a funnel is still relevant to visualize it from a marketer's perspective, journey maps include more than the four or five stages. Here is a customer journey map for your visual aid and understanding.
What makes it unique is that you can't use an official template to map customer journeys, because just like our fingerprints, our customer journeys are also not the same.
5. Make Your Buyer Persona
You can exercise a great deal of flexibility while mapping customer journeys as they can vary based on different factors such as the product, business, or service. You can be a bit creative here and use the following steps to create your primary customer journey map.
Making buyer personas will help you understand the customer and the way they think and behave. Despite individual uniqueness, psychographic and demographic groups act specifically, and buyer personas, though fictional, contribute significantly to understanding customers' collective behavior patterns. It provides us valuable inputs to map buyer journeys.
6. Understand Your Buyer's Goals
After creating buyer personas, brainstorm what customers' ultimate goals can be in each phase. You should keep in mind that goals are variable and will change as we move ahead in the funnel.
To create the right content for each such stage, you need to do the following:
- Figure out the different options available for the customer
- Ensure that the products are not overpriced
- Make sure that the prospects have all the necessary information about the products
The best way to understand this is to identify the path taken by your website visitors. Where do they go first? Is it the login page if they are a member? Then, which other pages? Do they compare products on your site? Or do they browse it?
Once you figure out their activity map on your website, you should identify different touchpoints and use them to achieve your marketing and sales objectives. The primary focus should beā€“are you able to help the customers achieve their goals and answer their queries?
Here are a few other methods you can try to get some insight into customers' goals:
- Conduct a survey or interview customer groups
- Go through customer support emails
- Carefully notice customer questions in each phase
- Try customer behavior analytics tools like Hotjar to collect information
7. Map Out Buyer Touchpoints
A "touchpoint" refers to moments and instances when a customer comes into contact with a brand. It can be anywhere in the funnel ā online or offline ā over the phone, online, or in person.
Some of these touchpoints can be critical. For example, a bad customer service experience can ruin your entire day when confronted with an emergency.
However, it's imperative that an organization takes advantage of every touchpoint and uses it as an opportunity to improve, make their customers happy and satisfied.
Here are some of the touchpoints you can identify and use:
8. Identify Customer Pain Points
When you club all your data to get a big picture, you can quickly identify the customer pain points or call them roadblocks in the funnel. The touchpoints and journey mapping will also help you discover the areas where you're doing good or improving further.
You can use tools such as UserTesting and discover issues like:
- Is our website allowing customers to achieve their goals?
- Where are they frequently facing roadblocks and experiencing frustration?
- Where are the most cases of purchase abandonments happening (and why)?
9. Prioritize and Fix Customer Journey Roadblocks
Finally, have a look at your touchpoints. Take note of what's happening there that's perfectly alright vs. where you need to improve. Is there anything that needs to be reworked from scratch? Identify a few simple tweaks that can dramatically improve the customer experience on your website.
Creating a customer journey map is not a one-time activity. You should update it frequently, mainly because your customer landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and it should also reflect in your journey map.
Use it as a living document to identify the bottlenecks and find ways to improve the customer journey. You must use it as an auditing tool to find out the areas of improvement in your website and how to plug the loopholes with parallel marketing action to move customers down the funnel.
We live in an era where businesses are all about customer experience, and customer journey maps help you transform it. You can use your journey map insights for various purposes, such as:
- Creating a user story
- Writing requirement description
- Figuring out KPIs
- Discovering measurement opportunities
To implement data-driven marketing, you need to collect the data from departments, teams, and stakeholders for decision making and distribute the knowledge you've gained with your team members.
10. Plan Your Content
Content is at the soul of digital marketing, but it should be well-planned to achieve your targets. There are numerous ways to do it, such as making content calendars, content mapping, and creating timelines. You can use various tools for that, such as HubSpot, Buzzsumo, and much more.
Content mapping helps you to target your buyer persona. The best thing about content mapping is that it allows you to create specific content according to the prospect's position in the buyer journey.
For example, if a prospect is already aware of your brand and in the consideration stage, they don't need the introductory content meant to create awareness. At this stage, you should focus on creating content that showcases your USPs against competition and why someone should choose you. You can use a Content Mapping Template for this purpose.
The buyer's journey or buying cycle is usually divided into three parts, i.e.,
11. Identify Digital Marketing Channels You Should Choose
Since digital marketing is so dynamic, you should change your method according to the situation and product. Here are some of the ways you can try:
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Influencer marketing
To learn more about such channels, visit our digital marketing blog.
12. Set Your Budget
Setting your budget for digital marketing is crucial. In the absence of a predefined budget, marketers tend to spend heavily on one of the methods only to find that they have no money left for an important channel. For example, if you invest $1000 in a PPC campaign thinking that it's more than enough, but you get negligible results. Then you realize that you won't get any significant results in your segment unless you spend at least $3000. That's why it's essential to plan your digital marketing budget, given the money you have in hand and your fiercest needs.
13. Measure Results
Without measuring your results, you can't succeed in digital marketing. After testing different methods, you'll want to measure the results, so you can tweak your campaign to achieve even better results. You'll also have to use your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure your success. If you can't reach the results you want, you need to optimize your strategy again.
Let's discuss how to measure the impact of your strategy and optimize it if required. Set up SMART goals. SMART goals are:
The purpose is to build a process where you can easily measure and scale.
For example, if one of your business goals is to increase brand awareness, your SMART goal should be along the lines of: "My target is to add 50% more Instagram followers within the next four months."
To gain success in digital marketing, having a strategy is crucial as it provides organizations the blueprint to thrive in the given situation. The strategy covers every aspect of online marketing operations, such as controlling the flow of work, achieving your business objectives, and tracking campaign performance in real-time. A well-planned strategy also helps you adapt to change swiftly, where everything is changing and evolving in this dynamic world.