Whether you’re a marketer or an MD, how do you know you’ve found the secret formula for digital marketing success? Or maybe you’re struggling even getting started, and you’re not alone.
A recent Boston Consulting Group / Google survey identified that the average digital marketers ranked themselves as 57 out of 100 in terms of digital capability.

So it’s no wonder why so many brands don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy.
With this digital skills shortage, many companies have to outsource to agencies and quite often find themselves left in the dark when it comes to what the agency or consultant is doing for their business. And how does this activity complement the other marketing activity?

I don’t want this to be a digital agency bashing post, as there are lots of many reputable agencies and consultants. If you’re about to embark on new activity, you first need to get the fundamentals right.

1. It’s beneficial to do a digital audit which looks at historical data and what you achieved from previous activity. Here you will look at data and previous campaigns, you can assess what’s worked for you in the past and will help you identify what to do more of.

2. It might seem a bit basic, but digital marketing strategy also starts with looking at your target audience and their demographics. It’s a good idea to look at revisiting your customer buying personas here or to invest some time in developing these. By understanding your customers you can create a strong Customer Value Proposition which will help shape both your digital and traditional marketing strategy.

3. It’s important you set objectives (with marketing metrics) for any marketing activity and ensure you measure and refine on a continual basis. Keep on top of your KPIs and ensure you evaluate and revisit either yourself or with your agency on a regular basis.

4. Understand how Google Analytics works – even if you’re using an agency to produce reports for you. First things first do you have access to your Google Analytics account or have your agency set you up a dashboard so you can log in at any time? You’ll be amazed at the amount of companies that don’t have access or have lost their Analytics login details and it can be a pain finding them if the website was set up by a previous agency who you no longer deal with.

5. Do you have the digital skills team in-house or do you outsource? How do you know that the agency is any good? For example some SEO or digital agencies for example tie you into a years’ fixed term contract, which you might not be happy with the results half way through the year and you can’t get out of it. The more transparent will recommend a time period for activity e.g. 6 months, with a monthly review and some offer a get out clause, so if you’re really not happy you can walk away.

6. How does your digital strategy work hand in hand with your overall marketing strategy? How does that big idea translate into digital strategy? (You might want to read our blog on being creative in a digital age.)
You might have multiple agencies e.g. one creative agency, one marketing agency, one web agency so who do you turn to for advice?  In an ideal world your creative, marketing and SEO agencies or consultancies should be able to work together harmoniously, but in reality with shrinking marketing budgets they may well have to compete for work.

7. At VSM we don’t profess to be SEO and PPC experts, but we do partner with some of the Regions’ trusted experts who we will bring on board as our extended team. All our consultants are transparent in their approach and if they take a look at your existing activity and it looks like your incumbent agency are doing a good job they’ll tell you so and leave it at that. There may also be things which you could be doing better or new areas worth exploring that your existing agency are not doing.

If you need any help or advice on digital marketing or just a fresh pair of eyes and ears please get in touch.