• strategy

The Four Stages of Digital Strategy

A good strategy should have a solid foundation that allows you to be scalable, flexible, and modular as your business grows, customers evolve and technology emerges. Otherwise, you’ll do a lot of things, but accomplish very little toward your long-term business goals.

  • Define long-term business goals, near-term needs, set S.M.A.R.T. goals
  • Put the right people, process, and policy in place to set you up for success
  • Stop reacting
  • Stop doing something for the sake of doing something. That’s not momentum.

Setting the Stage for Digital Strategy Success
Digital Strategy can be broken into four graduated but overlapping stages. Each stage builds off of and benefits from the work that came before it. This ensures the most efficient, sustainable, and desirable return on your marketing dollars. As a forewarning, however, don’t get caught up in trying to get your strategy perfect. Perfection is subjective. So, it just needs to be right. Right for you, your business, and your customers. Things can be continually improved from there. After all, marketing is part experience, part best practice, part analysis, and part experimentation. It is both quantitative AND qualitative.

Below, I outline a high-level approach that is independent of any business model, industry, or audience. Go. Build something effective!

Stage 1: Developing a Foundation: Discovery & Assessment
Stage 2: Developing a Destination: Adding Value. Nurturing Trust. Establishing Authority
Stage 3: Developing an Ecosystem: Recognition. Reach. Relationships.
Stage 4: Building on Success: Continuous Improvement.

Developing a Foundation: Discovery & Assessment
Stage one is the strategic foundation for all future marketing efforts and affords you a springboard for continuous improvement and added success. This discovery & assessment period is critical to the effectiveness of your marketing plan and the efficiency of your budget. So, the more disciplined, accurate, and thorough you are now; the better your results will be over time. Do…NOT…be…overconfident of how well you understand stage one items. This is especially true when it comes to understanding the behaviors and expectations of your target audience(s).

Developing a Destination: Adding Value. Nurturing Trust. Establishing Authority
Stage two begins the creation of, or improvements to, your marketing initiatives, proprietary channels, and existing ecosystem. The primary focus will be to add further value and nurture trust while establishing authority and leadership on topics directly related to your products/services. Stage two outcomes increase the effectiveness and accessibility of your brand along with the returning value of your online properties. Never assume you have enough or are maintaining, online authority in your industry.

Developing an Ecosystem: Recognition. Reach. Relationships.
Stage three begins acting outside your online properties to increase your reach and brand sentiment while driving more targeted inbound traffic. The primary focus involves optimizing your marketing initiatives, nurturing industry relationships, and monitoring your marketplace more closely. Stage three outcomes open resourceful, established, and/or new avenues for inbound traffic that fully leverage the trifecta of content marketing best practice. These are owned media, earned media, and paid media.

Building on Success: Continuous Improvement.
Stage four is the ongoing, iterative maturation of your online presence as a whole. The primary focus involves continually analyzing and improving your ROI, conversion rates, SEO, messaging, and brand awareness. Stage four outcomes are perpetual: maintaining ongoing best practices and industry foresight in response to emerging technology and customer behavior. This produces a living and breathing, nimble approach that responds to the needs of the business and your audience more rapidly.

Discover the three critically co-dependent components to marketing success.