Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The test

Does management constantly come to you with an article from their favorite magazine, or newspaper and say: "…why aren't WE doing this?" If this sounds familiar, then you need to consult our Digital Strategy Checklist and start to put together a proactive plan to own and manage your efforts instead of chasing after the hundreds of ideas that get published every week.

1. Know your consumer… digitally. Virtually every marketer has some information about who uses its product, or who is likely to. In the new marketing environment, it's critical to add a layer to target understanding: their digital habits and the ways that digital media impact their lives. Behavioral segmentation can be critical here because knowing that your users may fall into a demo like women 18 to 49, for example, simply isn't enough in the digital age. There are gigantic differences between the digital behaviors of the 26-year-old single mobile fanatic/MySpace diva and a 35-year-old mom who absolutely lives for her 20 minutes of playing Bejewelled every day on a work break.

2. Know your Flickr from your Facebook from your Frappr. Digital isn't like other media where you can simply think about audience composition. Digital is free-form, so understanding the technologies and communities available online is essential to driving the best results. Chances are, there is a website or platform offering ways to communicate with your customers and prospects that can precisely deliver on your business objectives. But you have to know the space -- or hire someone who does -- to find it.

One extremely effective approach to making sense of the space is to develop a matrix of your business objectives paired with a listing of the many digital platforms and technologies available. Then, make an assessment of how well those technologies and platforms can deliver on the business objective. Finally, select from your options by considering the penetration of the technology with your target, its "fit" with their lifestyle and the extent to which it can impact their decision making process.

3. Watch your competitors' pixels. There are very few marketers out there that aren't scrambling to develop a digital presence. You need to understand what your rivals are up to so you can learn from their efforts, leapfrog them to digital leadership and even do some blocking and tackling that helps thwart their access to digital audiences in the future.

4. Identify your overarching digital strategies. Once you have a solid basis of understanding, you need to turn that knowledge into a digital vision. Forget about all those press releases you keep seeing and identify four to six guiding principles for future digital planning. These tenets will guide how you evaluate your digital options now and in the future weeks and months. Then get everyone involved in your department to buy into those principles. When you have consensus on your digital strategies, you'll have a better plan, and you'll spend a lot less time running around answering emails from the C-suite asking about the latest press release.

5. Choose your weapons carefully. Selecting your best digital options should be relatively straightforward at this point. Just as your marketing tactics align with your marketing strategies, your digital tactics must align with your digital guideposts. 'Nuff said.

6. Get your yardsticks and slide rules ready. Digital offers unprecedented ways to measure and optimize program performance. In order to capitalize on these, we need to ensure that our measurement plans are in place when our programs go live. Because in the digital age, there is no excuse for marketers having to repeat those famous words of department store founder John Wanamaker, "I know that half my advertising works, I just don't know which half."

No comments: