How to Develop a Digital World Marketing Communication Strategy


Digital marketing communication requires as coherent and cohesive a strategy as real-world marketing communication. Flooding websites with ads or jumping onto social media to flog your business without defining a clear brand or setting up objectives that reflect the limitations of a given communication outlet puts both your business and marketing communication on a course for failure.

Establish Brand and Positioning Messages

Your brand and positioning messages function as foundational elements of any marketing communication strategy, digital and otherwise. Your brand message relays the personality or attitude of your business or product. Brand personality or attitude informs how you communicate your marketing messages. If your brand aims for irreverence, so too must your marketing communication. Your positioning message tells customers how to perceive you relative to your competition. For example, if you aim to challenge an established brand, your marketing communication needs to highlight your position as an alternative. 7-Up positioned itself as an alternative to Coca-Cola and Pepsi by dubbing itself the "uncola." If you’re the first in a particular business or product, your marketing must communicate your leadership position. Without clear brand and positioning messages, marketing messages become muddled and even counterproductive.

Objective Setting and Social Media Selection

Many businesses move into social media without defining what they want to get out of digital world marketing communication or whether a particular outlet offers a logical benefit for the business. A sewage pumping company has very little to gain from Pinterest, as most consumers do not want to see images of sewage, but Pinterest offers tremendous opportunities for photographers and artists. You need to determine what represents your highest priority, sales versus engagement or information-sharing, and choose the social media outlet that serves those functions best. Social networks offer opportunities for engagement building and limited information sharing, but blogs provide excellent opportunities for information-sharing and building up sales.

Prepare for a Loss of Control

Moving into the digital world with marketing communication means not only accepting, but embracing, a degree of lost control over your message. Whether businesses like or fear it, consumers talk to each other about products and brands online. The challenge for businesses is no longer to control their message, but to structure their online communication in a way that reinforces their brand positively. For example, Microsoft backed away from planned restrictive policies on internet connections and game sharing for its Xbox One gaming console following negative customer outcry on forums and social media. This move, announced on the XBox Wire website, addressed the customer concerns in a rational way, and the online delivery of message increased the odds of customers seeing it.

Mind the Data

In most cases, your business website functions as the central hub of your digital marketing communication. Your marketing communication should drive traffic to that website, and the analytics for your website should tell you where that traffic originates. If you maintain an active Twitter or YouTube account, steady traffic should come from those sites. Keep a close watch on bounce rates, which indicate visitors leave almost immediately, and what pages get traffic. High bounce rates often indicate that even though the communication strategy works, the website fails to deliver on the message and needs work. Low traffic from places you spent time or money advertising on suggests that the strategy itself doesn’t work and needs adjustment.

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