5 steps to a successful digital strategy
14. June 2018
Reading time: 6 min
If marketers stick to the classic "5 W's" of communication - what for, who, what, how and where - not much can go wrong, even in the digital age. The basic prerequisite for a successful digital strategy is comprehensive, networked thinking and a profound understanding of the multitude of new channels and touchpoints.
"What for?" Define clear goals and KPIs
Every strategy begins with a stringent definition of objectives and measurement parameters. The communication goals are always aligned with the corporate goals. So as far as that goes, everything remains the same.
Things get exciting when it comes to the KPIs: Here, in addition to conventional indicators such as sales figures or reach, other digital-specific ones are added. These include interactions such as click rates or downloads. This information can be used not only to measure the success of individual measures and thus of the entire strategy. When continuously analyzed, it also forms the basis for further optimization and even new business models. It is precisely from the knowledge of the target groups, their behavior and their specific needs that trends can be identified and these are then incorporated into the management of measures.
"Who?" Know the target group
If you want to make the most of the opportunities offered by digital communication, you need to know your target group as precisely as possible - that's nothing new either. But brands can reach much more precise target group segments via digital communication than with conventional communication measures. In addition, the habits of users on the various channels are playing an increasingly important role. The following questions should be in the foreground: How and on which devices does my target group communicate? Do they prefer forums, Facebook, or traditional homepages? And: How and when does the target group use the various digital platforms?
Digital communication channels enable brands to precisely differentiate and cluster heterogeneous target groups and provide them with the information they need. Therein lies a great opportunity. For example, a car manufacturer has many "normal" fans on Facebook, but also some hardcore fans who have very different emotional and content backgrounds and correspondingly different information needs. Some need information about the fuel consumption of the latest model, for example, or about the equipment, in order to make a concrete purchase decision. For the freaks, that's not enough. They enjoy exclusive pictures on their own Facebook profile, events or a content platform with films and vehicle tests. As active designers, they also want to be able to interact with the brand at all times.
"What?" Think like the target group
Digital is not a one-way street. Feedback comes quickly here - and sometimes harshly. That's why marketing managers should always keep in mind that the digital age is about much more than just placing messages and increasing sales figures. They should think like the target group and plan exactly what they want to offer users. A change of perspective helps here. The result is a sustainable, bonding dialog. The brand must convey to its users that it understands them and takes them seriously. This also includes giving people something - entertainment, service or information. The service concept should always be in the foreground. This is the only way to turn users into long-term customers.
"How?" New formats, new ideas
The increasing number of touchpoints and platforms opens up a great many possibilities - some of them new: Videos, images and infographics, audio formats, texts or apps. All these formats need to be considered in a target group-specific way in order to achieve the highest possible reach in the most important target groups. Through social media, brands can gain additional "allies" - bloggers, journalists, influencers - much more easily than before. An important part of the strategy is therefore to include the needs of these very specific individuals in order to win them over and achieve a positive brand perception.
"Where?" Define platforms and channels
The question of which platforms brands use to find their target groups is also relevant for a successful strategy. Social media are often an efficient communication channel - but not always. For B2B companies, for example, the question arises as to whether an investment in Facebook & Co. makes sense at all, since they hardly reach the professional target group there. Search campaigns have a higher success rate here, as they are more in line with the working behavior of buyers or entrepreneurs. So those responsible don't always have to reinvent the wheel. Marketers who stick to their learned tools and additionally develop networked thinking and action as well as customer-centric approaches will also be able to develop their brands positively in the digital age.