Strategy & Tools
We’ve discussed the martech foundational elements of data and predictive analytics, as well as the benefits to modern marketers in Digital Marketing Part 1: A Solid Foundation. Clearly of value to businesses in all categories, digital marketing offers us tools ranging from simple to complex, and free to highly expensive. Choosing the right tools depends not only on a business’s marketing budget but on the marketing strategy implemented and objectives decided upon.
Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy
Building an effective digital marketing strategy begins with a set of objectives relevant either to the brand as a whole or a particular campaign being launched. Once the objectives have been decided upon it’s a matter of gathering the tools most likely to achieve the required results. In the constantly evolving technological landscape, a digital marketing strategy is sometimes as much about what not to do as what you do, bearing in mind that some of the ‘tricks’ have been overplayed and certain target markets will shy away from, or entirely overlook, certain devices.
Thankfully, exploiting our troves of customer data and employing some illuminating analytics can tell us a lot about our target markets and pave the way to an effective and relevant digital marketing strategy that suits both the customer and the business objectives. Demographic information including customer location, income, and age is a good starting point, often the basis of a customer database. But with the added psychographic information of hobbies and interests, current priorities and life stages, and goals and challenges faced, a more compelling picture of the market can be drawn.
The marketing objectives should relate directly to primary business goals, be they overarching brand marketing objectives, or objectives in place for the promotion of a particular product and service. Once these have been decided upon, it’s necessary to appraise current digital marketing resources including social media, email database, and digital marketing platforms available. It’s always easier to begin a campaign with tools already in play, but don’t let that prevent you from taking up others if they too fit your strategy.
Growth hacking is an informal, and often inexpensive, form of digital marketing that typically involves experimentation across digital channels until an effective and efficient growth tactic is found. It can be employed in both the development of brand awareness and the distribution of product knowledge and appeal to customers. The categories of tools include email marketing, social media promotion, marketing automation, and a few other behavioral wiles such as endorsement through exclusivity and word of mouth marketing influenced by price reductions and special offers.
Some of the simplest tools have been employed very effectively in the past, including ‘share’ buttons that make it easy for customers to post product content directly to their social media feeds, and exclusivity campaigns that force prospective customers to wait for an invitation while the lucky ‘few’ enjoy early access. Of course, there are also far more sophisticated tools that provide the means of content marketing automation, email and web advertising analytics, and information gathering that puts marketers in touch with journalists and publishers who may be amenable to sponsored articles.
Popular ‘Commercial’ Martech Tools
There are also many commercial martech tools available, and though they tend to be more expensive than growth hacks, they also come with the advantages of refined dashboards and greater integration. All of the social media platforms offer their own models, and some ingenious applications bring these together in one dashboard for more simplified utilization. And then the tech giants get involved with heavy-duty digital marketing platforms, the likes of SAP Hybris Marketing, Adobe Digital Marketing, Oracle Commerce, and Google Analytics 360 Suite. Each offers a broad range of applications and functions, with the marketer needing only to match budget and device specifics to the final decision.
Martech tools and platforms are evolving and developing so quickly it’s impossible to choose a favorite tool, but instead, each campaign will have a best fit. No matter the objectives, a matching platform or set of tools awaits.
By Jennifer Klostermann