So your advisor says you DON’T need a Digital Marketing Strategy

How to know if your Digital, Online, Social, Media Optimisation Strategist/Guru is telling the Truth.

Once Upon a Time in Marketing Land

There was a time in marketing when life was pretty simple.  There were only a few clever terms and big words for us to remember and we all kind of knew what they meant.

For example:

  • Marketing Plan or Strategy
  • Strategic Marketing (i.e. Term preferred by consultants and visiting experts or Gurus)
  • Branding or Brand Strategy
  • The Marketing Mix
  • The Four P’s – Product, Price, Place/Distribution and Promotion (Highly controversial because one of them was not always a ‘P’)
  • The ‘Extended 7 or 8 P’s (Possibly for those with ‘P’ envy)
  • 9 P’s and above (You knew they were all based on the first 4 P’s so you could nod and/or frown knowingly and just go with the flow)

Wait There’s More

There were certainly more clever concepts and devices such as these before the opportunities presented by the online world and social media came along.  I have left out many of these from my list above simply due to the need for brevity and also because they were not as well known.

However, what is useful about the above traditional marketing concepts is that they were all designed to help us plan our marketing and capture the attentional and hearts of our customers.

(If you have a thirst for more information regarding the above I expand upon the concept of strategic marketing during my Marketing Summer School series of articles)

Marketing Logic 101

Bear in mind the primary reason you develop a strategy in the first place is to ensure effective and cost-efficient use of your resources.  That is by avoiding mistakes and inefficiencies via a planned and targeted approach instead of a ‘shotgun’ approach.

Believe it or not there was quite a bit of logic in the traditional approach to marketing planning. 

Let me elaborate on this using the Four P’s which along with the ‘Marketing Mix’ are probably the most well-known marketing planning tools.

The Four ‘Ps’ Comprised the following:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place (Distribution)
  4. Promotion

To apply some strategic planning logic here I suggest that the first three (Product, Price and Place) be considered strategic decisions. 

There is some debate regarding what is actually included in the extended 7 or 8 P’s.  However, they typically include strategic planning concepts such as People (i.e. Target Markets), Positioning (i.e. Brand Positioning), Packaging (i.e. Physical presentation of product or service) and Planning (i.e. concepts related to process and programming etc.).

The Fourth ‘P’

The fourth ‘P’ (i.e. Promotion) has more to do with implementation.

This is the stage where you start to allocate funds to tools designed to reach and influence your customer groups. 

Tools that you would consider under the heading of ‘Promotion’ include:

  • Advertising (i.e. TV, Radio, Print, Outdoor advertising etc.)
  • Public Relations and Publicity generating activity (i.e. Media Release activity or Lobbying etc.)
  • Personal Selling (i.e. Face-to-face or Telephone Selling etc.)
  • Sales Promotions (i.e. In-store sales promotions, Point of Sale Materials etc.)
  • Digital Promotions (i.e. Online or Social Media Promotions etc.)

The Natural Order of Marketing

So let’s put things in order.  Back in the good old ‘olden’ days we used to get our marketing strategy right first and then plan our implementation.

For example:

  • Marketing Strategy = The first 3 P’s (i.e. Product, Price and Place) plus or minus the other 4 P’s (i.e. People, Positioning, Packaging and Planning)
  • Marketing Implementation = Promotions (Including Digital Promotions)

Why you DON’T Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

It’s not so much that you don’t need a Digital Strategy or Digital Marketing Strategy.

However, when you put things in the right order it becomes obvious that what you need is a Marketing Strategy first.

What you need is a Marketing Strategy first

As you can see from the above your marketing strategy is where you make important decisions that define your brands future, including:


  • Which customer groups are most attractive and profitable to your brand
  • What are the most important needs and desires of these most important customer groups that your brand can satisfy

Brand Positioning:

  • What is your desired perception that you with to create in the minds of these customers i.e. your desired brand positioning
  • What are the most powerful communication messages that you can use to communicate to these customer groups that your brand can in fact satisfy their needs

Place or Distribution:

  • Which distribution channels will be most effective and are the best strategic fit with your brand

Product and/or Services:

  • What is the best assortment mix of products and services for you to satisfy the needs of these customer groups


  • Which promotions tools are going to be the most efficient and cost-effective at getting your key communication messages and desired brand positioning across to your target customer groups (i.e. Should you use Advertising, Personal Selling, PR/Publicity Generation, Sales Promotions and/or Digital Promotions etc.)

Do you need Digital Promotions?

Damn right you do!

Digital Marketing promotions present tremendous opportunities for brands and business owners to reach their target customers with increased frequency cost effectively.

When compared to many of the traditional forms of promotion (i.e. TV, Radio and Print Advertising etc.) Digital Promotions are highly cost effective and generated repeated contact and frequency with customer groups.

Which Digital Promotions should You Invest In?

Now this is a good question.

It is difficult to know which Digital Promotions tools you should invest in until you have addressed your marketing strategy planning decisions detailed above (e.g. Target Markets and Desired Brand Positioning in particular).

There are plenty of Digital Promotions tools in which you can invest your time and money.

Digital Promotions that you can consider include:

  • Keyword Research to help you improve your ranking in customer searches
  • Blogs and other Search Engine Optimisation activities
  • Location based marketing websites (e.g. Google Places, Yelp etc.)
  • Customer review websites (e.g. Urban Spoon, TripAdvisor etc.)
  • Online Photo Sharing websites (e.g. Instagram, Pinterest etc.)
  • Group Buying and/or Coupon sites (e.g. Groupon, Scoopon etc.)
  • Facebook Business Pages and Advertising (i.e. Boost your posts and/or advertise etc.)
  • Other Social Networking sites (e.g. Google+, Myspace etc.)
  • Twitter and other Micro Blogging sites (e.g. Tumblr, Friendfeed etc.)
  • LinkedIn Pages and Campaigns
  • YouTube and other video sharing sites (e.g. Vimeo, Blip etc.)
  • Many other online advertising and promotions websites and platforms

Patrick Patrick (Marketing Director, Baker Marketing) and I will provide recommendations and ideas for using the above Digital Promotions tools to generate traffic, sales and build your brand as part of future articles and blog posts.

When you have made decisions in these marketing strategy areas it then becomes very obvious which Digital Promotions are best for your brand and business.

Need More Information?

Marketing Strategy

As I mentioned above, if you have an interest for more information regarding Marketing Strategy I expand upon the concept of strategic marketing during my Marketing Summer School series of articles.

Digital Promotions?

If you are looking for more information regarding Digital Promotions and websites then please consider our other articles including our WordPress Wednesday blog series written by Patrick Patrick.

Of course if you would like more personalised help, you can always contact us directly and ask for Patrick Baker or Josie Hodge.

Feature images by Karyn Christner on Flickr (CC by 2.0).