Twitter is Not a Strategy*
And neither is Facebook, Vines, Instagram, or any other digital social media tool or set of tools. Yet the first inclination of a company new to the world of digital marketing is to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and post some pictures on Instagram and then proudly report that they have a digital marketing strategy. This reminds me of when everyone had to have a web page, and then we had to do banner ads, and then email blasts and the search engine optimization. Those weren’t strategies either.
A digital marketing strategy starts with the same thing that it always has – an offering, a brand, and positioning, and then crafting messages that are focused on specific customer groups to influence customer behavior. The messages are still crafted to support specific customer actions, depending on where the customer is in their purchase and experience journey.
But then all heck breaks loose if we don’t recognize that in digital marketing:
- The concept of market segments has been replaced by ever-changing and overlapping affinity groups.
- The brand essence and the positioning can change depending on the focus on different affinity groups.
- The customer journey is no longer linear but is an ongoing process of engagement before, during, and after purchase.
- The digital channels require constant attention with branded content and customer interaction.
- And finally, once we set it in motion, our digital presence is largely out of our control.
The last point bears repeating and is the most difficult to embrace. In prior iterations of the marketing function – from production to sales to marketing and then to customer focus – we were in the drivers seat and spend a LOT of money (e.g. more that $5 billion a year at Ford Motor Company) to push awareness and the close the deal.
Now the customer has a lot more control over the information flow and over the brand message. And unless there is an integrated digital strategy, we have totally lost control over our brand equity.
Next Up – the steps in developing a Digital Marketing Plan.
* See TWITTER IS NOT A STRATEGY – Rediscovering the Art of Brand Marketing, by Tom Doctoroff, Palgrave Macmillan Trade