Choosing what to do — and what not to do — is at the heart of strategic decision making. It invites us to not only analyze the world for how it is, but also imagine how it could be.
Whether you’re planning your digital marketing investment for the upcoming year, getting ready to launch a new product line, or struggling to address a challenge that’s been plaguing your company — when it comes to making decisions about digital marketing, a few questions can help you develop a winning strategy.
#1: What is the challenge your business is currently facing?
A few examples may include:
-We are struggling to recruit the number of new employees we need. How might we use digital marketing for recruitment?
-We are confident in our product, but people don’t know about it. How might we successfully reach more people in our target audience?
-We have a strong social media following, but they’re not buying our products. How might we drive conversions through our digital platforms?
#2: What strategic possibilities could address this challenge?
Try to think outside the box, and stay open to new ideas. You should pay careful attention to “Where to Play” and “How to Win.”
When thinking about “Where to Play” consider the digital marketing channels you’re currently using, and don’t be afraid of considering channels you haven’t considered before. A few examples: Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, content marketing, online public relations.
When considering “How to Win” think specifically about what your competitive advantage will be. Is it the humor and relatability you use when talking with customers online? Is it the quality of your product that needs to be highlighted? Is it the outstanding benefits package that sets you apart from your competitors? What will set you apart in how you conduct your digital strategy?
#3: What would have to be true for each possibility to be a winning strategy?
Consider what would have to be true about your audience, your company, and your competition for any of the strategy possibilities you brainstormed in Step 2 to make sense to pursue. Frame these as statements, not questions.
Examples of these statements: “It would have to be true that our company has the cash flow to sustain a PPC campaign” or “It would have to be true that our target audience values humor” or “It would have to be true that our competitors are not currently matching our benefits package.”
#4: What do we NOT know about each possibility that we should test before making a decision? What barriers should we be considering?
Based on the conditions identified in Step 3, determine the conditions you are most concerned about. Perhaps you already know that some conditions are true. Others may raise more potential questions. Make a list of the conditions you think are important to test, then move on to Step 5.
#5: For each of the conditions we are still unsure about, what tests can we run to support our decision making?
Identify fast, scrappy, and low-cost tests to help you learn more and to gain (or lose) confidence in the likelihood that what needs to be true actually is true. For example, before you invest in a full-fledged PPC campaign, you might want to test various messages with a focus group. Or before you build a full site for a communications campaign, you may want to build a microsite to test how many people actually visit the site as a result of your various channels.
When you work with Simpler Site, you can be confident that each tactic we support is grounded in sound strategy. It’s important that we help our clients achieve results, and we are here to help companies design and implement digital marketing strategies that overcome obstacles and support growth — contact us if you’d like to get started.
Special thanks to IDEOU and the “Designing Strategy” course for providing the framework outlined in this post.