3 Digital Marketing Strategy Mistakes You’re Making

Having got past a tumultuous 2020, many marketers are facing pressure to recoup lost revenue and supercharge campaign performance. CMO Survey found that 64 percent of marketers reported sales losses, with 16.9 percent saying they’ve lost 50 percent of their revenue during the pandemic.

As communities open and economies recover, marketers look forward to renewed opportunities to engage, nurture, and sell to their customers. Marketers must approach 2021 with concrete plans to reach and convert their audience while remaining flexible enough to adapt to evolving preferences and changed sales environments.

Of course, this is easier said than done. In fact, the same CMO Survey found that 61 percent of marketers relied heavily on improvisation and team member experience to adjust their approach throughout the pandemic, as opposed to following marketing plans.

To reduce improvisation and solidify strategic plans, we’re sharing three digital strategy mistakes that impact marketers’ ability to maximize success and achieve their goals. 

Digital Marketing Strategy Mistake No. 1: Your Plan Isn’t Based on Data

Successful marketers leverage their most important asset—data—to pivot their digital strategy whenever necessary.

Build a data-informed marketing plan by first looking back at the year prior. Review Google Analytics or your business intelligence tool to understand the channel mix that your audience engages with most frequently, web pages and product categories that drive the most traffic and orders, and keywords most searched to find your products or services. Review A/B tests and experiments to identify key optimizations and insights.

For example, if your goal is to acquire new customers, review metrics like increases or decreases in new users/registrations, repeat log-ins, conversion rates, transactions, average order value, and web form completions. Once you have a clear idea of what is working and engaging your audience, incorporate those themes and focus areas into your 2021 campaign calendar.

Document business goals and set KPIs against each goal, and then build out the campaigns and channels you’ll use to reach these goals. Be sure to share this measurement document to guarantee your teams are aligned and operating from the same performance objectives.

Digital Marketing Strategy Mistake No. 2: Your Content Is One-Size-Fits-All

Today’s customers expect personal and relevant content and offers, on the cadence frequency and within the channels they prefer. CMO by Adobe found 67 percent of consumers say it’s important for brands to personalize content based on their current context, which means marketers can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to content.

Meeting these customer expectations means segmenting your audience while tailoring content and tactics to be personal and relevant. Take the time to understand your audience and their customer journey so you can personalize messaging and promotions in a meaningful way.

Developing user personas—fictional representations of different segments of your audience—places you in customers’ shoes to understand their needs, challenges, and preferences. This exercise finds you again deep-diving into your data, combining qualitative and quantitative data elements to validate your assumptions and identify ways to better tailor each customer’s experience. You’ll want to understand your customers’ preferred channel mix, emotional drivers and motivators, device preferences, purchasing power, and timetable in order to reduce friction, answer questions, inform value, and improve personalized outreach.

We recommend you start by developing three to five user personas—you can always add more later. Next, map their customer journey across a typical sales life cycle and pinpoint opportunities to engage and guide deeper interaction with your brand across touchpoints.

Stay focused on your goal—improving your customer experience to be more personal, memorable, and satisfying.

Digital Marketing Strategy Mistake No. 3: You Set It and Forget It

Many of us are guilty of creating an ambitious marketing plan in January, saving it in a folder, and failing to return to it. As we go on our merry way, we’re left with improvisation, gut feelings, and whims.

Your digital strategy must be data-informed and flexible. Obsess over KPI performance to understand what works and what doesn’t, and continually modify your plan based on these insights. Return to your goals and the KPIs against them—did you move the needle? If not, what could you do differently to drive a more favorable result?

Look at campaign success and apply it across different channels. For example, if a social post is widely popular, can you create an email campaign featuring the same product mix or visuals? Can you reuse the copy in your subject line to increase open rates? Can you retarget website visitors to drive further engagement and tailor the campaign to your personas?

Last, always be testing. Whether you’re running A/B tests or using a robust platform like our partner Optimizely (formerly Episerver) to run continuous experiments, the results must be analyzed and built into your digital strategy to scale ongoing results.

A Smart Digital Strategy Foolproofs Success

2020 taught us that anything can happen. Your digital strategy is critical to creating the foundation and flexibility to roll with the punches, while safeguarding business revenue and audience reach. Cement your digital strategy in data, then take a personal, customer-first approach to every campaign. Follow that up by optimizing your strategy to achieve continuous performance improvement.

As vice president of strategic solutions, Lynne DeRoché leads and mentors Whereoware’s media, creative, delivery, and digital strategy teams and is responsible for rigorous strategic planning, data-driven digital road maps, continuous optimization, and measurable achievement of client acquisition, retention, and maximization goals. DeRoché has more than two decades of experience in both traditional and online marketing – previously as VP, digital and social, for Marriott International, where she focused on introducing industry-leading capabilities and standardizing social and digital marketing practices across 30 hotel brands and the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

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