Why you probably don’t need a digital marketing strategy

Dave Chaffey, over at his Smart Insights site, has posted a neat summary this morning of 5 reasons why you don’t—and 10 reasons why you do—need a digital marketing strategy (DMS).

In my experience, there’s one common reason why some companies still need a DMS: if your marketing approach is still stuck in the pre-digital era or you’ve merely dabbled in digital platforms without notable success, a DMS can help you improve in a controlled and measurable way. It can help you assess the relative costs of traditional versus digital techniques and channel your focus onto those approaches which best serve your business goals.

Here’s how I see it. If your marketing focus is from 70-100% traditional (i.e. pre-digital era) then you may benefit right now from developing a dedicated Digital Marketing Strategy:

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing continuum

If, however, you’ve been testing and learning, piloting and refining your use of digital marketing channels over a few years, the need for a standalone DMS may well have passed. In this case, digital marketing probably accounts for 30-100% of your focus and you’re more likely to benefit from a Marketing Optimisation Strategy to tailor your marketing mix to the unique needs of your organisation and chase out further cost efficiencies.

Of course, there’s a real danger of over-simplifying the challenges in a short blog post like this. Every business is different and every set of customers responds differently to marketing stimuli. And there’s no recommended mix split between traditional and digital marketing techniques; every business has its own specific solution.

But I do believe the days of companies uniformly churning out an annual Digital Marketing Strategy may soon be behind us. After all, as Dave rightly points out, “increasingly digital marketing is marketing.”

About Allister Frost

I'm a marketer who helps companies adapt and grow in our digital world. This site is the place where I share my thoughts about marketing, how it's evolving and what great marketers are doing. Let me know what you think.

Posted on January 10, 2012, in Digital Marketing, Marketing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Being in Digital Marketeer for one year now, I totaly believe that a Digital Marketing Plan its absolute essencial to the sucess of a digital campain, Is a process to realize where you are and where you want to go. In my opinion a digital marketing plan is always essencial!

  2. Hi Pedro – there’s a difference between digital marketing plans and strategy. My post is about strategy which defines how an organisation will achieve its goals (e.g. which channels should be used, how budget should be allocated, which tools should be used, how people will assigned tasks etc.) I completely agree that every marketing activity/campaign still requires good planning and plans but would reiterate that in a mature digital marketing company there’s a declining need for focus on defining the overarching DMS. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I love the fact that you acknowledge every business and customer is different. I think a marketing strategy should constructed and designed according to the target market and the business offering. Check out my blog and thanks for the content.


    Angela Giles

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