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6 steps to digital strategy success in 2016

in Social media

Are you planning to launch your first digital marketing strategy in 2016? At the end of last year, our team visited the CIM’s Digital Summit set in the stunning British Museum. The theme was digital disruption.

Hearing from an impressive line-up of speakers including marketing bosses from the Post Office, Metropolitan Police and Sky Movies, they shared personal learnings and insight from their own digital journeys.

We left brimming with ideas and inspiration.  So we thought it was only fair to share these gems of advice with you.

We hope it helps you on your path to digital success.

                                  6 steps to digital strategy success

1. Clarity of brand

Before diving head-first into your digital strategy, there’s some ‘housekeeping’ to do.

First – you must be confident about your brand.  A common theme from all speakers.

  • What does your company want to be?
  • What are you really about?
  • What do you stand for?
  • Have you got a clear, coherent mission statement?
  • What are you most proud of?

The whole team must have a common brand view before you start to lay the foundations of your digital strategy.

2. Digital audit

Step two. Review your team.  Are your people ready for the digital journey?

  • Do you have the right skills in your team?
  • Does your CEO or MD know their SnapChat from their Google+? Do they understand all the social media platforms you need to be communicating on?
  • Is a social media policy in place to guide staff on roles, responsibilities and rules?
  • Do you need to invest in infrastructure, IT and software?

Then it’s time to get going. Your strategy can now start to take shape.

3.   Reaching everyone. Being personal

The most successful digital strategies are guided by a brand’s most valuable asset – its customers.

Do you really know them? Inside out?

Social media, data and web analytics are powerful research tools, giving you the chance to get familiar with your customers. No matter how large or small your organisation is.

Digital communications is not the place for a ‘one size fits all’ approach. It’s time to get personal.

Understand your customers and design an online experience tailored to their needs, wants and interests.

You need to discover:

  • When are your customers online?
  • Where are they online?
  • What is attracting their attention?
  • When do they feel moved to engage?
  • When do they want to interact with you? For what reason?
  • When are they most receptive and willing to listen to your message?
  • What content do they want from you?

4.   Putting customers first

The best digital brands put the customer first. Always.

“Customer experience is the new branding” said Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer for the Post Office Group.

What does that mean for you? And how can you deliver an exceptional experience online?

We learnt that the best digital brands:

  • Are human
  • Create an emotional connection with their audience
  • Act with empathy and integrity
  • Constantly put the interests and intentions of customers (and staff) first to build trust
  • Hire people who can put themselves in the shoes of the customer.

5.   Follow the ‘herd’ to drive participation 

Next we learnt about the importance of entertainment to drive and enhance customer engagement.

Addressing the topic was Andy Crang, Marketing Director at Sky Movies.

Brands compete for customer attention all the time, he said, as we go about our daily business in a heads-down, switched-on mobile culture.

So how do you execute a successful digital campaign that really gets noticed, builds momentum and gets people talking, sharing and spreading your message?

Andy spoke of the need to make online marketing more entertaining to earn consumer attention.  Because “We’re all part of a herd”  he explained. And we like to follow the pack!

As consumers of content, we are constantly distracted with businesses competing for our time.

To stand out, Andy had these words of advice.

  • Be entertaining
  • Be visual
  • And bring your brand story to life.

Marketing that is entertaining drives participation.

Deliver rich online content, around what your customers are looking for.

And if you make people smile, laugh and feel good, then they will want to get involved.

6.   Committing to your digital resolution

Three years into their digital journey, Ash Roots, Director of Digital at Direct Line Group shared his advice for creating a digital culture. Crucial to ensuring your organisation is committed to its digital strategy for the long-term.

Andy told us what makes a successful digital team.

10 habits of a successful digital team

  • Is bold and brave
  • Tries new things
  • Embraces new digital opportunities
  • Involves everyone in social media
  • Takes the time to understand the social behaviours of customers
  • Is comfortable with how the brand connects with people online
  • Uses a ‘Test and Learn’ approach
  • Disrupts itself – before someone else does!
  • Works collaboratively
  • Experiments to move forwards.

Which to us, sounds like there’s a lot of fun to be had in the digital transformation journey!

Are you embracing a new digital direction in 2016? Or are you about to launch your first digital strategy?

What are your big digital ambitions for the year ahead and what are the challenges you’re facing?

Join the discussion on our LinkedIn page.