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What’s the first thing you do when creating a new digital strategy? If you believe it entails a massive amount of work, you are sorely mistaken.

A digital strategy doesn’t have to be some huge report, an effective one can be broken down into about two or 3 sides of A4. Just remember to add a table that connects your strategies to SMART objectives.

More Companies See The Importance of a Digital Marketing Strategy

Despite their inherent simplicity, many companies have still shied away from formulating their own digital marketing plan. But, thankfully, there is some good news. Although there’s still a lot of work to be done in this arena, research shows that the number of companies who’ve begun implementing digital marketing strategies has grown. In fact, just a couple of years ago, well over 65% of companies didn’t have a digital marketing plan in place. But, nowadays this number has been reduced to just over 40%.

Interested in learning more about digital marketing strategies? Or, maybe you simply want to take a look at the important business issues in a strategic review? Regardless of the reason, here are what we consider to be ten of the biggest problems caused by the lack of a digital strategy:

Issue #1: No Online Direction

It saddens us to say this, but sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow. Companies without a digital strategy tend to lack clear strategic goals, in terms of making the most of their online presence. This is especially true when it comes to establishing and cultivating better relationships with their existing clientele or getting new customers.

Issue #2: Distant Relationship with Online Market Share

Unless you’ve done your research, then it’s highly likely that you’ve underestimated the customer demand for online services. And, what’s more? Chances are, you don’t have a comprehensive understanding of your online marketplace.

The dynamic in this medium is quite different from those associated with traditional channels. They include several types of customer behaviors and profiles, options and propositions (in terms of marketing communications) and competitors.

Issue #3: Your Competitors (new and existing) Will Gain More Market Share Than You

If you don’t focus enough of your resources towards digital marketing or you’re using an ad-hoc approach (with no clearly defined strategies), consider yourself digital lunch.

Issue #4: Your Online Value Proposition is Severely Lacking

An online customer value proposition that has been clearly defined will help you gain a high resolution picture of the features/products/services that set you apart from your competitors. Being able to differentiate yourself from the crowd will encourage existing customers to remain loyal and potential clients to flock to your brand.

Issue #5: Your Online Customers are Virtual Strangers

Digital is considered to be the most measurable medium created thus far. But, even when you make use of valuable tools like Google Analytics, you’ll only get one side of the story. These types of analytics only provide volume-related information e.g. the number of people who have visited your site. They don’t tell you anything about what your visitors think or feel.

To gain access to this type of information, you will need another type of website user feedback tool. Thankfully, there are a number of great ones available, like Kampyle, UserSnap, OpinionLab, etc. These tools will give you the information needed to gain a better picture of your weak points as well as what you need to do to address them.

Issue #6: You’re Disintegrated

The majority of digital marketing activities are completed by an in-house IT department or through a separate digital agency.  Some companies will also employ the services of a specialist digital marketer. And while these methods are convenient, they can also be ineffective. Digital media does its best work when integrated with conventional media and response channels.

Issue #7: Low Prioritization of Digital Means Little Support

When companies consider digital marketing to be more of an afterthought, they don’t make it a priority. That is, they don’t make it a must to set aside resources (both people and funds) for this area. There also tends to be a lack of specific e-marketing skills in their employee arsenal, making it harder to effectively respond to competitive threats.

Issue #8: Duplication is a Waste of Time and Money

Although a lack of resources can hurt digital efforts, mismanagment is also a huge problem. For instance, it’s common (in larger companies) for resources to be wasted because different teams  in the marketing department are using different tools or agencies for similar online tasks.

Issue #9: Your Company isn’t Agile Enough to Handle the Competition

All the successful online companies – Zappos, Tesco, Google, Dell, Amazon etc.- maintain a dynamic approach. In other words, they are always trying out to new techniques to either get or retain their online audiences.

Issue #10: No Optimization

As long as your company has a website, you can be sure that the analytics for it are available as well. The problem is that top execs don’t seem to factor in the importance of these tools. They don’t make sure that their teams have the time to review this important information, let alone use them to their advantage.

When you have a strategy that lets you easily handle the fundamentals, it becomes possible for your company to elevate its marketing campaign to other essential areas i.e. social media and email marketing, site user experience, and search marketing.

Getting Started

Now, that you’re ready to create an effective digital marketing strategy, what’s next? Don’t fret, we can help you get started. The first thing you need to know is that, effective digital planning often take place in two stages:

Stage 1: Create a Separate Digital Plan

Although many companies use digital marketing tactics, they all don’t employ a strategic approach. While they may luck out and gain some success with this ad-hoc technique, they are also missing opportunities for better optimization and/or targeting.

To sure up all your bets, create a preliminary digital marketing plan that clearly states the transformation your company needs to make. Also, include any investment you may need and (if it applies) any changes that will have to be made to your existing digital marketing plan.

Although this seems like a lot, this information will help you gain support for your digital marketing plan. It clearly states the opportunities and problems associated with implementing such a plan, while simultaneously setting clear goals (and a path to do so). It should also showcase specific strategies for digital marketing progression, like how to integrate this facet into other business activities.

Stage 2: Integrate Your Plan into Your Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve received approval for your rough draft (sotospeak), come up with another strategy that fully integrates digital into your company’s overall marketing plan. In this way, not only is the digital component in full alignment with your company’s goals, it becomes part of the norm. And, as an added bonus, (except for specific tactics) it won’t require any separate planning.
Coming up with a digital marketing strategy can seem hard. But, the negatives associated with not having one are just not worth the headache. Taking heed of the above issues and tips will help you take the first steps to creating a mindful and effective digital marketing strategy. Good luck!

Bjorn Wallman

Bjorn Wallman, a Swedish-born Web Developer and entrepreneur, has had a history of award winning work in his storied career. Based in Las Vegas he is a self-admitted adventure junkie who works hard and plays hard. When he’s not designing websites for Disney, Hakkasan Ltd, EMI Music Group, Warner Bros. or other major corporations, he can be found snowboarding or mountain biking in the surrounding hills. Having earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Long Beach State University, located just a short distance from Los Angeles, Bjorn has used the skills he learned in Southern California well. Previously the Director of Web Development at Angel Management Group, he has created effective and profitable business campaigns for clients such as Caesar’s Palace, MGM Resorts, and Revel Nightlife to name a few.