The Three Gaps that are killing your Digital Strategy

Internal Gaps, Vendor Gaps, Strategic Gaps.

Many clients have one or more of these critical gaps in their capabilities, and its keeping them from achieving their marketing potential online. Is this you?

You have Internal Gaps

How’s your technology and in-house capabilities?

Website platforms have evolved tremendously in the last few years providing greater flexibility and actionable insights. You need to be working with tools you understand and control in-house.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:
– Are you in control of all of your digital assets? Or is it “that vendor from 2 years ago”?
– Is your staff able to update and maintain to your online presence quickly and efficiently without the help of developers and designers?
– Do you have web analytics and the in-house capabilities to translate online behavior into actionable insights?If you answered “no” to two or more of these, you need to consider whether your technology and in-house capabilities are holding you back.

Are you allocating enough resources to online?

The days of thinking about online marketing as a ‘free’ add-on are over. Your customers have plenty of choices and engage with brands and service providers at their leisure. With that kind of face-time competition, your customers are not necessarily coming to your site. You need to help them find you – and you need to go find them.

You’ll need a Content Strategy, follow best practices for Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media strategy.
These require time and money. Can you commit to that?

How savvy is the staff?

If an older C-suiter is holding the purse-strings, you need to help them get past the “I hate Twitter” mentality and understand that social media has caused fundamental shifts in business – corporations are no longer rulers of their domains. The new paradigm is a peer-to-peer relationship with customers.That has enormous implications for corporate planning. As we said to a client who wasn’t sure he wanted to be on Facebook, “You already are on Facebook. You’re just not taking part in the conversation.” Once managers realize that, they get behind your goals.

If you’re depending on younger staff members to drive your social media, then you need to understand that their facility with the tech is likely to be on a personal level, not a branding level. They need strategic help to represent a brand or company online.

You have Vendor Gaps

Traditional agencies have added a “digital department” to offer online services. Why doesn’t that work? Because online strategy isn’t an ‘add-on.’ Planning your online engagement needs to happen first on a high strategic level and inform the entire communication with the user. Most agencies don’t have the senior digital planning capability to offer that view.

What about your digital agency?

You probably met them when they did your website and you casually asked, hey do you guys do …Search? To which they said yes, and then hired out the Search Engine Optimization. But that’s not digital brand planning.Which leads us to the next gap…

You have Strategic Gaps

“Should we have an app?” is the wrong question.
The first question is “What are our business goals and how do we accomplish them?”.

How do you reach the right audience and drive awareness, inform and persuade?
– Digital strategy and brand planning is an unbiased, metrics-based, user-focused approach that matches the right execution to the business goal. To target the right user you need to “fish where the fish are” and that requires understanding your users’ media behavior.
– What media do they look to in each phase of the buying cycle?
– Does it hinge on their interests, their demographics, or their needs?

The strategic approach is to plan from the user outward, not from the tactic inward. It’s not about the trends. It’s about leading people from their goals to yours.