The need for a digital marketing plan is becoming increasingly self-evident, but the idea of venturing into new territory has obvious pitfalls and potential challenges. So, how should someone interested in building a solid, actionable digital marketing plan proceed?
Begin by making the case for your digital marketing plan. This will be the foundation on which to build a strategy going forward. This case should include why a digital marketing plan is a good investment, who the brand should target, and, generally, how to connect with those consumers. Focus on both complementing the current marketing plan as well as shoring up deficiencies in the plan that are failing to take advantage of digital opportunities.
Remember, this is essentially a pitch, not the actual plan. The idea here is to focus on the need, as well as why and how the digital marketing plan meets that need. Again, this is a preliminary sketch, not a detailed strategy. That comes later.
Next, determine how the proposed plan can complement and reinforce the brand’s overall marketing plan. The digital plan should fit comfortably within the current plan, so that team members can clearly see where and how the plan will benefit the overall marketing agenda.
So, if the digital marketing plan is meant to be part of the overall marketing strategy, what’s the purpose of a separate plan? It’s common for people who want to add a digital marketing plan to think they can just include the phrase “digital element” to their current plan and go from there. This mindset causes important steps to be skipped. Actions are undertaken without proper planning or cohesive strategy, leading to frustration and failure.
However, treating a digital marketing campaign as a stand-alone strategy within a greater marketing plan, leads to better results. Taking the time to think through the plan and build in tests and benchmarks allows marketers to more effectively target and optimize their strategy.
Once it’s been established that the digital marketing strategy will exist both independently and interdependent of the overarching marketing agenda, move forward into developing that separate digital plan. Set goals, identify benchmarks and targets, discuss potential problems with the team, as well as strategies to avoid or respond to any challenges that may arise. Also, include specific metrics to define or rate the success of the various aspects of the plan.
Then, review the plan and compare it to the goals and benchmarks of the overall marketing agenda. How does this plan complement the overarching goals, and does it hinder or complicate the pursuit of these goals in any way? It’s much better to consider these potential negatives and much easier to mitigate them before the campaign is launched.