Analysing Planning Stage Considerations In Digital Marketing
In my previous article, I have talked about some of the facts that you need to know about 3i principles in Digital marketing. In this article, I want to talk about some of the facts that you need to know about planning stage considerations in digital marketing. Follow me as we are going to look at that together in this article.
Now that we have seen the basic principles of digital marketing and you have a better understanding of the strategy, buyer’s journey, and how media integrates, let’s see how to get into the first function of digital marketing: Planning. As we stated, the planning function sets time-bound actions that will lead to achieving your marketing objective. In this article, we will see how to move through the planning stage and what key considerations should be taken.
The Planning stage is the basis for all future decisions in terms of content creatives, media, and optimization. As such, you need to spend some time defining the context of your marketing strategy. Why are you putting together this campaign? Who are we talking to? Where are we talking? What are we promoting? How do you win?
The main considerations listed below will help you grasp most of the important information needed to take direction:
- Market trends
- Product value proposition
- Target audience
- Creative execution
These can be broken down in three parts: the What, Who, and How?
1.What: This encompasses what you are solving, what the product is solving, and what you are trying to achieve
2.Who: This encompasses the audience who you are talking to, who they are and how they influence the touchpoint and creative decisions.
3.How: This encompasses the practical means necessary to achieve the goal and integrate the strategy, i.e. how will you push your strategy?
In the ‘What’ stage of your planning, you want to define the context of the problem, the market, and your product position within this market. The three elements to consider here are:
1.Goals: The marketing strategy should focus on the outcomes, not on the outputs, through clearly articulated, inspiring and measurable goals. The role of the goal is to set direction and check every decision against it. When thinking about your tactical choice, ask yourself: “How do they help me reach the set goals?”. We will discuss goal setting in the next few slides, but globally the marketing goals should be aligned with business goals as the primary marketing function is to help a business grow and reach the market with a message. It helps to think about your goal in terms of the buyer’s journey. How does your goal fit in the stage and is the goal set on moving the audience form one stage to the other? Does it keep them in this stage and re-enforce the quality of the current leads? Goals are key in order to report and communicate with other departments, they help quantify your actions to legitimize budget spend and choice.
2.Value proposition: We have defined the value proposition in the previous slide as innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers, giving them a selling point that sets them apart from others within their market/industry. This is your selling point and should drive your message across all channels, this is the proposition that you should use to keep consistency and check your content against. When creating content, pause and ask yourself if it translates your value proposition. This key differentiator help set your position on the market and the consumers mind, the stronger and simpler it is to understand the more efficient it will be.
Market Trends: Market trend can be defined as when the trading market responds to the ups and downs of the prices associated with investments and securities. That is the strict business definition, applied to the market, meaning that consumers might be spending more in specific area of your industry or are starting to demand a different way to consume the product. There are multiple ways to uncover market trends that we will see in the next section. But generally, the marketing team can position its product base on these trends in two manners: reactively or proactively.
One marketer might be able to spot a trend before it breaks out and position its product as a leader on the market under this specific trend, while another will see that the market is growing under this specific trends and see competitors specializing and decide to follow the movement and position the product as a challenger on the market. Studying market trends on a regular basis will help developing goals and value proposition, by better defining how your product stands to form a competitive point of view. It helps get idea on product development or product re-positioning. Using trends is a way for marketers to attract attention to the product by promoting it under a new light to the market.
In the ‘Who’ stage of planning, marketers should think about their audience – who they are and how this audience influence content and media channels choice. Your entire strategy relies on your audience research, as the best way to communicate with someone is to talk to them, not at them. You have to talk to them in their language, with words that resonate and in the place where they are already listening and talking. For this to happen the ‘Who’ stage considers the following elements:
- Target Audience: Defining your target audience works hand in hand with the previous stage. In order to impact on your market, you need to know who you are addressing your message to. Target audience is defined as a particular group at which a product such as a film or an advertisement is aimed. Marketers need to know what group of consumers they want to reach in order to set goals and develop content because reaching everyone is as effective as reaching no-one at all. For successful marketing strategies, understanding the needs, aspirations, lifestyle and habits of your audience ensures you know how to talk to them and where. The definition of your target audience will depend on the product intended audience and audience research. You might discover that your product can actually be consumed by a broader audience and that the original intended audience, or simply understand the product target audience better to know what message will move them through the funnel. Once again, this is something we will explore later in the Research section of this blog.
- Creative Execution: When the ‘What’ stage and the audience is defined, and marketers start thinking about the creative execution of their campaigns, they need to keep focusing on the audience. An idea might be brilliant but if it doesn’t appeal to your target audience, then it is not worth investing in. The creative execution will define the look and feel of your campaign, the language used, the image shown, the colours etc. Creative execution can help you express your differentiation, and attract attention by being unexpected, skilful and visually impactful. It should not be underrated as creativity expresses who your brand is and how it wishes to express itself. This directly impacts your audience’s perception of your product. The creative choice should be tested to verify its efficiency, and while traditionally this was done through focus groups and qualitative research, now with digital media, it is easy to A/B test your campaign creatives, change them if necessary, and invest more on creative that performs the best.
Touchpoints: The touchpoints of your strategy are the channels you desire to use to reach your target audience. Once again this choice should be heavily influenced by the audience. Where do they spend time? Where do they make decisions? Who are they speaking to? You want to be present where they are and be visible on your target audiences channels. This ties in with our previous discussion on integrated campaigns and channels and how different factors will influence your choice depending on your objective, your audience insights and the performance of the channel. By thinking about your touchpoints in the planning stage and analyzing the previous information, you are able to make informed decisions to target the most cost-efficient channels that will bring ROI with the least effort.
Lastly, now that you know what are you want to achieve, for who, with what creatives and on what channels, now you need to set the costs and timeframe of the strategy. This last stage is crucial as it will define the marketer’s capacity to invest money and time into the planned strategy. Working within a budget can be challenging and thus will impact on the previous planning elements. Smaller budgets will need to focus on high impact, low-cost channels and creatives, while larger budgets will be able to scale and invest in high impact, high-cost channels.
Let’s see how budget and timeframe shape your strategy:
- Budget: Developing a solid marketing budget is an important part of creating a plan of action that is realistic and will help improve revenues. The global marketing budget is usually set at the organization level based on previous spending, current company needs and goals. The marketing department might push a number that they have planned based on their yearly action plan, but at the end of the day, the budget will depend on the organization’s disposable income and priorities. Once the budget is set, the marketer’s role is to divide that budget across all efforts, by prioritizing based on past experiences, objectives, expected ROI. The budget will also be a starting point for defining measurable goals by understanding how much is put in and how much revenue this will generate by newly acquired customers.
- Timeframe: Finally, the last consideration that will tie all the previous elements together is the timeframe. Creating a plan is necessary to spread the marketing strategy across the appropriate period and cover the buyer’s journey over time. Defining a timeframe can be done in multiple ways. marketers can work around a specific date that makes sense, such as a product launch, an event, a bank holiday, or any seasonal event. It can also be spread across the entire year with the main event but focusing on being present for longer periods of time. The time frame will depend on the objective and audience, but also on the business reporting period. If the product team is launching a new product and wants to create awareness, the marketing goal for this period will be centred around the product and using branding campaign and channels, instead of focusing on increasing the sales of the previous product. Multiple marketing goals can be addressed in the same period, but this depends on the available resources, budget and employees.
Now your take on this article…
I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.
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