We do not say much new about the extent to which COVID-19 has enhanced the importance of online solutions. (At least, this is it if we must mention anything positive in this pandemic situation.) The necessity has forced everyone to digitize and accelerate their digitization efforts. Many brands have also reached out to digital solutions, whose communication has not played a significant role in the past.
However, it does matter how a brand that starts or continues the initial steps on this digital path. The following questions may be asked by the communication specialists and brand managers of different companies:
Are we going to the right direction?
Are we using the channels that works for the company the best?
Can we effectively reach the target audience online?
Did we manage to provide all the information to the target group on the website?
Does the webshop /website serve all the purposes and meet the needs of the consumers?
Are we aware of how the target audience behaves in the online space?
How can we increase the traffic without increasing the advertising budget?
Probably hundreds of pages could be filled with similar questions. It is not possible to answer all the questions in such an extent (perhaps several lexicons could be written about the topic). Therefore, in our two-part series of articles we will write about essential themes that helps to think and keeps the brand on the online path.
Let us start with part I, where we write about the strategy and the construction of the digital ecosystem.
Digital strategy - the basis for creating the right digital ecosystem
Digital marketing offers many opportunities to reach the target audience. Moreover, hundreds of software are available to make the job easier, and the software also automates, collects, analyzes data, and creates graphs. Not to mention the agencies who offer dozens of advertising opportunities and digital solutions as well.
Before we dive into these possibilities let us not forget to ask the basic questions: Where is the brand now and what is the goal in the digital space? Why is the brand present online? How does the brand want to use the online tools? What does the brand want to achieve? Where is the target audience present? Where do we find the target audience right now? How big is the brand's digital awareness? How much budget do we work with? And so on...
The point is that strategic planning - as in all areas of marketing, must precede the tactical steps in online marketing. This will affect all levels of the communication and this is the only way the brand can have coherent communication in which everything has its exact place and role. This way the brand can make the most of the synergies presented in the channels. This is also important in an area that seems simple at first: social media communication. The brand can engage effectively in social communication if they know why they are doing it and what their purpose is.
All elements of the digital ecosystem will be placed in the strategy, each will have its own goal, but each will serve the same higher communication goal. On the one hand, it is important not to be blindfolded when thinking about the digital space and keep an eye open for offline channels. On the other hand, it is essential not to forget about connection points and synergies. With a good digital strategy, we can save time, bad decisions, and money.
In the development of the strategy, of course, involving an expert or an agency is a good idea. It is very important that no expert will be able to prepare a strategy on its own, the client is needed to decide and answer the basic questions for it.