In this technology age, marketing teams have had trouble adapting a digital marketing strategy, but a new report from Gartner offers guidance on doing digital marketing with a bit more smarts and ultimately with more interesting outcomes. 

It has been frequently reported that many marketing teams are having trouble reaching their digital audiences. Recently, Forrester determined that many marketing departments simply didn't have the resources for digital marketing, while at the recent Marketing Nation Virtual Conference a keynote acknowledged the overwhelming amount of tools at a marketers disposal may also be causing problems.

According to the report, "Using Digital Marketing to Differentiate Yourself From Competitors",  marketing departments also fail to properly embrace the digital side of their profession -- they simply can’t just create an ad hoping that it will reach customers, as newspaper and magazine ads have done in the past. Now, marketers, advertising executives and their teams must be interactive in order to be successful.

The report says that many marketers use a “one way messaging” or a “frequency and reach” strategy where they aim to reach as many people through messaging, but fail to engage in an interactive relationship.

This formula may have once been successful, but isn't any more. For example, Gartner found that less than 1% of marketing emails are opened, but a finding from McKinsey and Company found that 63% of companies surveyed said that social media increases public awareness about them and their products or services.

Therefore, to not only promote their company’s products and services, but also strengthen their brand, marketers have to engage in an interactive relationship through social and other digital channels, striving for a "two-way message” strategy vs. the old blast and hope approach.

To do this, Gartner's report says that companies must adapt two key components: a vision and a strategy for that vision.

Vision Drives Success

One of the most common problems that arises for digital marketers is that they don’t really have a solid digital platform and even if they do use social media they aren't doing it properly.

As part of the first step to correcting this companies have to have a solid digital marketing vision statement. There are some common problems that companies can run into when trying to craft this statement, including: 

  • A vague and too generalized statement, such as “becoming a world-class digital marketer.”
  • A too ambitious or unrealistic statement.
  • An internally focused or too narrowly focused statement.

Drafting a good vision statement takes time and often multiple iterations, but according to the report, there are two things that good statements have:

  1. A realistic strategy or something that people can see themselves doing.
  2. A group of easily accessible strategies.

An example of good statement that is provided in the report is:

"Engage our constituents in personalized, authentic digital interactions where they participate in their own buying journey. Use a paradigm that is more contextual and more natural where we "listen and respond" versus "interrupt, push and pull." "

After brainstorming and making sure the vision statement is solid, marketing teams can then move on to improving their marketing strategy.

POEM Marketing

Before marketers can improve their strategy, they first have to be think about how it fits into digital marketing. The report says there are three types of media: Paid, Owned and Earned (POEM) that a company needs to properly optimize their digital marketing plan.

  • Paid media: This form of media is bought through other media, such as display advertising or paid searches. Paid media can help increase brand awareness as it's a quicker and larger type of promotion.
  • Owned media: Owned media are channels that a company controls itself, such has their website. This type of media is used when a company has a outbound campaign that is connected to the website or one of its sub-pages and marketers need to monitor web traffic or how long visitors stay on page.
  • Earned media: Earned media is media that is used when someone, such as a Twitter follower, says something positive about a company or its product. Those who advocate a product or company don’t receive any compensation, as their support is done through external blogs, social media and news articles and often shows how well received a product is.

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Remember the Vision

As the most important part of a marketing campaign the strategy can make or break it in terms of how successful it is. Problems that marketers constantly run into when forming a good strategy plan is that they avoid working with their vision statement or substituting it. Many marketers continue to treat digital marketing as a one way platform instead of a cross-channel, interactive space. They have to learn that tools such as targeted advertising, search marketing, email and social networks can work together to improve a marketing platform.

Keeping in mind the rest of the report, the final thing marketers should do is draft a strategy document that outlines the goals they’d like to reach in an allotted time frame.

For example, the three goals might be: giving more freedom to customers so they can show the company what they are looking for in products and services, becoming an “outside-in” organization where customer feedback is used in improving marketing campaigns and having a customer-orientation page on the company website, so that customers can talk about their likes, dislikes and concerns.