Understanding The How Of Digital Marketing Planning
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 module.
- 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.
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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