St. Louis Strategy Value
Any digital marketing strategy proposes the full integration of all marketing efforts and channels. That includes traditional advertising, peripheral materials, mass marketing, email marketing, direct mail, field sales, and so on. Each approach and channel must support the others, and there must be tracking on the experience for the marketing path and digital channel. Finally, the strategy must secure, archive, and analyze the data produced.
Value can be a movable target. You must back into it. If, for example, people spend 10.5 hours each day engaged with electronic devices as studies show, they are not exposed to most traditional marketing tactics. If you play with that math, people who make your market are spending over 40 percent of their week online. The hours are not all spent shopping, but their hours do expose people to any number of marketing channels your strategy could pursue. Putting a price on this exposure is difficult.
What’s good for the retail goose may be good for services, too. You tend to think of the Amazons and eBays of the world. But, hundreds of thousands of retailers want a strategy to sell their individual or unique products and services. Such “small” sites want to build brand and communicate a unique selling proposition, and digital marketing offers that opportunity to announce identity, develop brand, and optimize customer relationships. But, the value varies from one product line to another.
Until you have the tools to measure and the goals to benchmark, you cannot put a value on metrics like increased customer acquisition, improved time spent per page, and prospect conversion and retention. If these are clear objectives, digital tools will measure the results, but your plan must attach values to goal achievement. Where traditional marketing counted linear movements, digital tactics are more dynamic and cross-functional.
Social marketing opens multiple integrated opportunities. A good strategy uses social media to enable user engagement and promote customer advocacy, referral, and review. It requires businesses to create and sustain social content like blogs, vlogs, articles, and white papers. These present additional cost, a sunk cost which has no easily calculated return on investment.
Social media creates a real-time issue. Customer comments, positive or negative, need immediate response. Satisfactory and timely responses become central to current customer relations and to building relationships with new customers. The digital marketing strategy must include a response mechanism, but your strategy must link the customer communication with additional marketing action like additional sales or up- and cross- sales.
Customer loyalty has no fixed price. When customers leave, you may discount the loss, but you do not have clear or close contact with the word they spread. Likely to use the same social media that made them customers in the first place, lost customers will tell tales, take cheap shots, or blow whistles on your product or service. Your digital marketing strategy must put you where they are.
Missed opportunities can cost you a lot. Without the descriptive and predictive analytics available in digital marketing, you risk losing sales, resales, and repeat interest in your product or service. You lack the information on what customers want and need, when they want it, and how they prefer to get it. You miss data on preferences on size, brand, color, quantity, and the like. Research threatens B2B owners with a loss of 12 percent of the revenue when they lack the data to make better, more timely decisions.
Pricing the value of digital marketing is tough, even where there has been some history. The large number of variables challenges any planning. However, as a business accumulates more experience with digital marketing, it will have data on the metrics established in the digital marketing strategic plan. The value is sure and necessary if not easily forecast.