Being a digital marketing agency, it’s no secret we place great importance on digital strategy and planning. This week we’re chatting with our Senior Creative Strategist, Michaela Skilney, who gives some insight into her approach to digital strategy and its significance.
- What challenges do you face when developing a digital strategy?
One of the biggest challenges I face when developing digital strategies for clients is reconciling what’s a reasonable and realistic outcome for a campaign, and what the client expects to achieve. It’s essential to set goals and aspire to reach particular objectives, however social media isn’t an exact science.
More often than not, clients are under the false illusion that an agency can guarantee what content will go viral and how many followers they can attract. The truth is, if an agency can guarantee those types of outcomes, they’ll be employing the likes of automated bots, which are completely at odds with all platform’s T&Cs (and I would be running in the opposite direction!)
What a digital strategy can guarantee is that your social media presence is the greatest reflection of your brand, your offering and what appeals to your audience.
- Does your approach differ client to client?
Every client, regardless of how similar their product, service or audience is, will have a unique set of goals, a unique promotional calendar and to be successful, unique selling points. It’s therefore impossible to adopt a one-size-fits-all-approach from client to client. It may be less efficient on paper this way, to view client’s in isolation, but that’s the difference between what you get with a boutique agency like ours versus a strategy template you can download online!
- In your opinion, is having a digital strategy as significant as a traditional marketing plan?
Regardless of what medium you’re working in – traditional or digital marketing – a strategy is essential to give your efforts a sense of purpose. Without strategic thought and planning prior to the commencement of a campaign, you’re essentially setting yourself up to fail. Without the right preparation, you find you’ll always be in reactive mode and constantly behind the 8-ball!
- When developing a digital strategy, what research is involved?
There’s a ton of research involved when developing a digital strategy, predominantly around target audiences and their digital user habits. Most of the time, clients know their brands intimately and can share the history of their business off the top of their heads. What they mightn’t know, where I come in, is who their current digital audience is, and whether that marries with who they want it to be. The purpose – and outcome – of any digital content, whether that be a social media post, a blog or an EDM (electronic direct mail), is that it will reach someone and be consumed. Research at the digital strategy phase allows for your content to be targeted and seen by those you want to engage.
- Where’s the best place to start when constructing a digital strategy?
In order to create a digital strategy – a plan of attack for a brand that truly speaks to who they are and who they want to be – I need to fully immerse myself in what they do so that the end result feels as though it’s been crafted in-house. This usually begins by meeting with key business stakeholders for a complete brain dump on their part (their offering, their customer, their strengths, their weaknesses, their current digital output, their digital likes and dislikes, their projected sales etc.) as well as understanding what pre-planned promotions, product launches and events are in place for the next 3-6 months. These steps are the foundation on which I build my strategies, so you could say they’re non-negotiable!
- Do you believe every business should have some sort of a digital plan?
Embracing all things digital can be overwhelming for some brands and business owners, but it’s unavoidable. Consumer habits have changed from bricks and mortar stores to online shopping, and information gathering shifting from magazines and catalogues to social media and blogs. If you want your brand to thrive, let alone be relevant, you need to have a digital presence – and what kind of presence you have all depends on a solid digital strategy.