Groundwork for digital marketing

The first things a CEO needs to evaluate, in order to create and apply an effective digital marketing strategy, are threefold:

  1. A very clear objective of what he/she wishes to achieve in digital that the company has not previously achieved before offline and why this should change in the digital space.
  2. To what extent are the products and services in the company’s portfolio irreprochable in terms of quality?  After all, it starts with having a good product.
  3. A good understanding of the corporate culture and its limitations relative to speed, agility, cross-departmental collaboration and digital IQ.  To what extent is the client listened to in an authentic and lucid manner?

The basics of digital marketing

If a CEO were contemplating ramping up the company’s digital marketing activities, here is a checklist that I would recommend reviewing:

  • Internal talent pool: is there an in-house talent pool of digitally switched-on individuals?  Who and how many bloggers?  Who has any significant digital influence (for example, klout or kred).  It is my conviction that at least one person on the executive committee should be fully conversant in digital marketing, helping to evangelize at the senior level and to bring digital throughout the organization.  I advocate a position such as the Chief Digital Officer.
  • Internal communications systems: to what extent do the internal communication systems reflect the digital marketing tools?  Will the internal tools, at least, accommodate and facilitate the needs for effective digital marketing communications?  It is important that IT be brought into the loop at the earliest stages of the discussion.
  • Communications / Advertising Agency: How well versed is the agency of reference in digital marketing?  Specifically, what experience do they concretely have in integrating digital marketing successfully into a more “traditional” marketing media mix?  How does the agency function internally to ensure optimal cross media communications?  N.B. How does the agency expect to make money from the digital marketing activities?
  • HR: Measurement, reporting and G&Os: What methods will be used to track and measure digital marketing?   Through the proliferation of data, are the right numbers being reported and scrutinized?  To what extent and how will success (and responsibility thereof) be incorporated into the goals and objectives of managers, much less the entire workforce?
  • Social Media Policy: Is there a clear social media policy in place?  Typically, this should be a less-is-more policy that encourages and empowers the employees in a “what to do” as opposed to a “what not to do” approach.  What program is in place to accompany (i.e. educate) the employees of a roll out of a broader social media strategy?  Questions such as: Who owns the individual’s social media presence?  How will off-hours social media community management be managed?
  • Lastly but most emphaticallyKnowing the client.  To what extent is the client base online, how active are they, where do they ‘congregate,’ who are the real influencers?  The ability to understand the client’s digital existence will be crucial.

There are, of course, many things that go into a digital marketing strategy and it’s a moving feast in terms of knowing what will or will not work; but, it is my conviction that once the top brass can come to grips with the above set of questions and reviewed the checklist in depth, then the chances of creating a digital marketing strategy that meets expectations are vastly improved.

What do you think?  Have I missed anything major?  Let me know your thoughts!

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