What is Digital Marketing Strategy? Objectives, Action Plan, Budget Allocation, Emerging Trends

  • Post last modified:10 August 2023
  • Reading time:31 mins read
  • Post category:Digital Marketing
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What is Digital Marketing Strategy?

Digital marketing strategy refers to the plan of action that a business or organization creates to reach its target audience, promote its brand, and achieve its marketing objectives through digital channels. A digital marketing strategy typically includes a comprehensive set of tactics that are tailored to the specific goals of the business or organization, such as driving website traffic, increasing social media engagement, generating leads, or boosting online sales.

The world of digital marketing is very complex with ever-increasing digital media platforms and technology advancements. Hence, it has become essential for brands to have an effective digital marketing strategy.

SMART Marketing Objectives

The amalgamation or perfect mix and match of paid, owned, earned media is the core of the digital marketing strategy. The objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Attainable, and Timely (SMART).

Specific: Is the detail in the information sufficient to pinpoint problems or opportunities? Is the objectives sufficiently detailed to measure real world problems and opportunities?

Measurable: Can a quantitative or qualitative attribute be applied to create a metric?

Actionable: Can the information be used to improve performance? If the objective doesn’t change behaviour in staff to help them improve performance, there is little point in it!

Relevant: Can the information be applied to the specific problem faced by the marketer?

Time-bound: Can the objective be set for different time periods as targets to review against?

Objectives of Digital Marketing Strategy

The following are the main objectives of the digital marketing strategy:

Increased Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is defined as the total number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. It defines the number of website’s visitors that fulfil the desired goal. One of the primary reasons of the digital marketing strategy is to increase the sales and revenue of the organisation.

Spending money and resources on digital marketing is done with an objective of increasing conversion rate and direct sales.

Brand Awareness

If you have an offline business or if you are a new company or brand, creating a Web presence can aid in creating or enhancing the overall brand awareness. With increased smartphone users and high Internet speed, it has become essential for businesses to be available on the Internet to interact with the existing customers and potential prospects.

Increase Traffic to Your Website

Most digital marketing efforts are performed to gain traffic on the website. Consumers or prospects search the Internet either for gaining information or because of the intent to purchase. Increasing the organic search traffic and visibility to build the brand is a powerful online value proposition.

A Larger of Market Share

Digital marketing strategies are aimed at increasing the sales and profit of the brands and the organisation by attaining more new customers and also retaining the existing customer base.

By utilising digital marketing tools such as SEO and Pay Per Click, a company can reach out to potential consumers and convert those leads into sales.

Therefore, the strategy aims at effectively using tools such as SEO, online display advertisement, search engine advertising, content marketing or E-mail marketing keeping in mind the objectives and goals of the business.

Creating Digital Marketing Strategies and Action Plan

A digital marketing strategy that uses the most appropriate channels to attain the maximum reach and engagement is considered successful. Developing a digital marketing strategy is an iterative process that needs constant review and changes.

Therefore, digital marketing strategies should be flexible enough to adapt as per the changing marketing environment and the dynamics of the digital landscape. The process defines specific objectives and various action plans to achieve those objectives.

A digital marketer should possess the skills to bring together all the elements of various digital media campaigns from content management, SEO, Website optimisation, digital analytics, etc.

Let us study the various steps involved in the process of the digital marketing strategies formulation:

Situational Analysis

Before establishing goals and objectives of the digital marketing strategies, marketers need to perform a thorough SWOT analysis to map the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of the businesses. With the help of situational analysis, marketers can identify the best route to opt for the digital marketing campaigns and strategies.

The SWOT analysis helps in knowing the internal and external analysis of the firm. At this stage, information about your audience, competitors and market is gathered to define your target audience. Digital habits of the target audience and the best digital marketing practices are to be identified.

Social listening can be used to turn a conversation into getting insights into customers’ behaviour. Marketers can also follow some popular or trending pages on Facebook or any specific trending hashtags on twitter to gather information.

In terms of internal analysis, the current digital media and website status of the organisation are assessed. It is crucial to check whether the website is customer-centric and how good the user experience of the website is. All digital media, such as website, social media, and mobile are assessed by delineating the Return on Investment (ROI) of the existing campaigns and what advanced application and expert practitioner can be employed.

Establish Digital Marketing Goals

Once you are well-versed with your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, existing status of digital media and performance, the next stage involves the establishment of the digital marketing goals.

Your goals should define where your digital marketing actions will take your brand.

The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) goal framework needs to be followed while setting goals for your digital marketing efforts. For example, “My website should have at least 20,000 visitors every month. To achieve this, search engine advertising, SEO, and content marketing tactics will be employed.” This is a good digital marketing goal.

Define the Marketing Strategy

At this stage, one needs to identify the digital tools required to meet the digital marketing goals, such that they are aligned with the overall marketing strategy of the organisation. Customisation and personalisation are becoming increasingly essential in the digital marketing strategies.

It is important at this stage to segment your target audience as per the demographics, tastes and preferences to establish the buyer’s persona. It is essential to provide customers with reasons to buy from your brand, and you need to communicate with the audience on those digital media platforms where they are available.

Hence, you need to create, distribute, and manage content to attract consumers. Tools like Google Trends, Google Ads Keyword Planner, and Google Alerts can be used to know the marketplace information of your customers, industry, and competitors.

Formulate Digital Strategies and Tactics

Depending on the organisation’s digital marketing objectives, such as improved brand awareness, conversion rate and/or brand loyalty, different tools, such as E-mail marketing, CRM, social media marketing or SEO strategies are employed.

The number of digital media channels are increasing fast, which also induces the brands to become more and more aware of their customers. These days, there are various automation marketing tools and software which allow organisations to run and manage multiple campaigns with mere clicks.

Personalised and customised messages can be created and disseminated as per the buyers’ persona. Hence, the appropriate channels and tactics are developed based on the target audience’s availability. A brand’s digital marketing strategy could comprise talking to their customers on phone or websites or apps, inducing their excitement and imagination via digital display marketing, getting insights into their psyches via SEO research and finally persuading them through E-mail marketing.

Measure results

Analytics play an important role in digital marketing. It helps in tracking the real-time data, results and performance of the digital marketing efforts. With the help of Google Analytics, SEM rush and other analytical tools, marketers need to make the relevant changes in the strategies by mapping what is working and what is not.

The basic information on the audience can be easily got through the analytics features available on the websites, and social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Most digital automation software offers analytics packages as well. Website information offers extensive information on customers and key insights can be drawn from that to know the behaviour of the target audience. This process is continuous as marketers plan, create, publish, monitor, review, and start all over again.

Budget Allocation for Digital Marketing Strategies

It is important for marketers to assess how much cost and resources will be employed in digital marketing strategies. Through proper allocation of budget for digital marketing, a company can emphasise on specific goals to reap the benefits in long-run.

Marketers need to be flexible while allocating budget for digital marketing operations and can opt for any marketing channel as the nature of the digital marketing landscape is dynamic, and it changes and evolves over time.

Prior to ascribing digital marketing budget, a marketer needs to develop revenue goals, along with the strategy that will be used to attain those goals. Irrespective of the industry, the prime aim of the organisation is to achieve or surpass a revenue goal as efficiently as possible.

To incorporate a digital marketing strategy, a marketer needs to harness digital platforms including website, social network sites, blogs, customer testimonials, etc., to get better knowledge of consumer aspirations.

As every digital marketing strategy will differ, there is no one size fits all policy for budget allocation. A marketer must strive to balance channel and conversion costs from historical data against the overall goal to distribute the budget across your different channels. It is also plausible to shift budget from one channel to another if the organisation witnesses good performance from a digital medium.

It is always advisable to start with a small budget and check the results by performing small tests. Once you get the surety on the success of one method, increase the budget. It also provides you with an idea on how much bigger the campaign can go and how much cost will be incurred in increasing the scale of the campaign.

There are several types of cost attached to digital marketing. Some of which are as follows:

  • Digital media: Creating content, graphics or visuals for social media posts or website needs time and cost. You can either do all the content creation on your own or outsource it. Creating content on your own requires investment in time. Hence, time will be count as a cost.

  • Media spend: Cost incurred in third party advertising, such as Google Ads or display banner ads or rich media ads.

  • Personnel cost: The cost incurred on the internal and external digital marketing team.

  • System and technology cost: Cost incurred in hosting services, upgrading to a professional version, such as SlideShare on social platforms like Linkedin or hosting your website in a foreign market.

The core of budget allocation is testing. Always start with small experiments and perform tests to check whether the platform works for you or not.

Integrating Digital and Social Media Strategies

Integrated digital marketing facilitates the best possible impression at every interaction between brands and customers. The aim of integration of all digital marketing efforts is to optimise the communication with the target audience through all major touch points.

Throughout the purchase process, marketers use digital media strategies for communication and making the customers move towards a purchase decision. It is important to be present on those channels on which the target audience resides.

Social media platforms help your brand in getting feedback and criticism. Therefore, the application of social media tactics should be aligned with a specific customer objective.

Integrated digital marketing involves the integration of multiple digital media strategies to formulate a unified approach of your business over the Web. To create a more influential Web presence, every organisation formulates an integrated digital marketing strategy.

Content should be developed to engage the target audience over a specific period of time. Content at every touch point should be consis tent, engaging, and interactive so as to prepare the potential prospect for the final phase of the purchase journey.

Trust, Privacy and Ethics in Digital Marketing

Trust, privacy, and ethics in digital marketing pertain to the techniques adopted by the companies for marketing their products and services with focusing not only on how they would be beneficial to the customers but also how they benefit the environmental causes.

Trust, privacy, and ethics in digital marketing are standards guided by the principles, code of conduct and practices of the marketing people while making their business decisions.

These are governed by the process of ethical reasoning related to specific marketing activities and being socially responsible towards society and the environment. It can be deduced that trust, privacy, and ethics are the pillars of digital marketing.

Trust, privacy, and ethics in digital marketing are essential because of following reasons:

  • To build customer loyalty
  • To ensure long-term goals
  • To carve a credible goodwill
  • To attract talent
  • To attain the status of market leader
  • To showcase rich and authentic culture
  • To establish and enhance brand value

Digital Authenticity

From the digital marketing view, authenticity infers to being original and true, while maintaining a perpetual perspective and image across every single channel and customer interaction.

In reality, authenticity infers to sticking to the ethical business practices while totally understanding the consumers and what they expect from the organisation.

Digital authenticity has become of prime importance owing to surge in social media platforms, where consumers and companies are interacting more and more with one another. When consumer and companies engaged in communication over social media, companies develop a culture of belongingness that builds loyalty and trust.

To create and sustain effective authenticity, organisations have to take into account a range of unique factors such as organisation’s unique values, vision, missions, products, services, and customers. Companies also have to maintain consistency when communicating this perspective across every marketing channel and customer interaction.

Digital Privacy and Regulations

Digital privacy and regulations covers a wide range of issues and topics. As in the prevailing scenario, the Internet has increased the trend of increased information accumulation, there is an urgent need to safeguard privacy rights of the Internet users. While using the Internet, a user is susceptible to online data breaches, security threats, and cyber-crimes, which may have unforeseen and even detrimental implications, so it is utmost important to formulate digital privacy and regulations.

Owing to the dynamic nature of the digital technology, privacy concerns and issues have gained prominence. Digital privacy and regulations have been at forefront as increasingly users data is shared over the online platforms for commercial purpose.

The manner in which the Internet enables digital data to be created, accumulated, exchanged, stored, and analysed is perpetually changing, which in turn jeopardises with consumer privacy. For instance, Facebook users feed in their data and information for which Facebook has access.

It is estimated that Facebook reaped a profit of $100 billion through the cumulation and sharing of its users digital data to the third-party advertisers.

At present, India’s most comprehensive legal provisions are promulgated under Information Technology Act (ITA) 2000 and The (Indian) Contract Act, 1872. A codified law on the subject of data protection is likely to be introduced in India in the near future.

The ITA has various provisions that can, in some cases, vanguard online privacy or in other cases even dilute online privacy. Provisions that clearly safeguard user privacy include: password, financial information such as bank account or credit card or debit card or other payment instrument details, physical, physiological and mental health condition, sexual orientation, medical records, and history and biometric information.

Ethical Issues in Digital Marketing

Increasingly budding entrepreneurs and big companies are harnessing digital marketing in prevailing business world. It is crucial to decipher and oversee ethical business practices well when interacting and undergoing business transactions on a digital platform. Digital marketing facilitates organisations to reach a wide range of probable consumer without incurring much cost and time taking nature of conventional business advertising.

Owing to the substantial rise in digital mode of running business, it is important for every digital marketing organisation to develop a proper mechanism for monitoring ethical practices.

This mechanism and its incorporation should be in place when marketing strategies are being formed. There are a slew of aspects that need to be taken into account when addressing the ethical issues in digital marketing.

When an organisation is advertising about the benefits of product/service on digital platform, it is essential to be as accurate as possible. Any claims or promises made pertaining to product/service should be veracious. The company must be ready to take onus if the product or service fails short to fulfil the claims. While engaging in digital marketing, an organisation must exercise all measures to assure it does not transgress privacy rules.

Data mining and extracting data discreetly through platforms such as Facebook or Instagram to launch marketing campaigns amounts to the breach of privacy laws. For consumers to feel secure shopping online in this evolving digital marketing scenario, ethical practices are of utmost importance.If organisations overlook ethical business practices, a moral lapse in ethical business practices may surface.

Many trailblazing digital marketing organisation fathom the essence of working consistently and ethically on their digital marketing strategies to make sure they conform to the ever-changing environments of the digital marketing world.

Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the term most pervasively used term nowadays. In a simple way, digital marketing aim at attaining marketing objectives through applying digital technologies and media. The system of digital marketing is run through an infrastructure network that is globally standardised for the business processes of the enterprise and their system of Information and communication technology.

So, digital marketing is about utilising digital technology to achieve marketing objectives. Gradually, we are heading towards a digital India which is evident by the way digitisation is taking place at such a rapid pace speed. E-commerce websites are offering all the products and services through online portals and there is a sharp increase in the magnitude of e-commerce websites.

Digital marketing is an aspect of electronic media to reach the target customer through ways of promotion of products or brands. Digital marketing pertains to the process of promotion of products brands activity, selling of products and services via online marketing.

Digital marketing consists of online marketing, Internet marketing or Web marketing. The changes in the digital marketing have resulted in new forms of communication evolving towards new methods of marketing.

Digital transformation is the shift from the traditional way of business to the digital ways of interacting with the outside world by adopting cloud-based tools and technology. Digital businesses use technology that creates new value in business models, customers’ experiences and the internal capabilities to support their basic operations.

Digital marketing provides an organisation the competitive advantages that involve unique combinations of digital and physical resources. Furthermore, digital marketing includes both the digital-only brands and traditional players that are introducing digital technologies in their business operations.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is making an immense impact on a wide range of industries. IoT is also having unprecedented impact on day to day life of the average consumer as electronic devices can seamlessly transmit data to the Web and back to product manufacturers.

IoT technology is enabling organisations to make their products/services more alluring for consumers by addressing to customer aspirations and responding accordingly. IoT is empowering marketing organisations to better market their products/services as they are now able to access customer data.

The collected customer data can be harnessed by organisations to gain better understanding about customer preference and create more precise marketing strategies. This customer data is invaluable as it offers insights into consumer behaviour, making it easier for organisations to market products/services as per customer needs.

Nowadays, IoT is deemed as the most popular digital marketing technology that ensures the ubiquity of various mobile devices, such as smart phones, digital devices, and personal digital assistance. These interlinked devices are effectively applied and cover various fields, such as smart cities, smart buildings, vehicles, and smart health care systems.

IoT applications are used by modern marketing organisations for remote asset control, remote monitoring, office Internet, and smart attendance system. Today, organisations are tracking their target audience search history to approach them on different platforms. It helps the organisation in framing digital marketing strategies.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is making its presence felt globally adding to the capabilities of business analytics and business intelligence. A large amount of data and the complexity of handling business data have resulted in business enterprises adopting artificial intelligence in business analytics tools.

Artificial Intelligence is a method of modelling human intelligence and using it effectively for controlling business intelligence applications. AI helps with developing analytical insights into studying fresh data using technologies like machine learning, predictive analytics, and natural language processing.

Business entities can organise data by creating performance metrics, spreadsheets, charts, graphs, and other forms of visual applications needed for making complex decisions more easily.

Artificial intelligence enables organisations to perform the following business functions:

  • To comprehend and read the written text like suggestions and user feedbacks

  • To classify and recognise photos and visual images

  • To enable facial recognition by recognising facial features and objects and allow product recommendations

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a fast emerging digital marketing trend that enables organisations to offer their customers unique experiences with the ease of tapping into their mobile devices. In general, a customer seeks to try out products including clothes and jewellery to check how it looks on them.

Through augmented reality, potential customers can model and try on cosmetic product (make up), fashionable apparel and an extensive range of home-related products without actually being at outlet. AR obviates the need for physical inventory as it enables consumers to try on various items and choose the one that best aligns with their needs.

AR enables organisations provide their customers with unique, engaging experiences through a combination of real and virtual interactive elements. It also allows organisations to augment their brand value and brand perception through smartphones, mobile devices and related devices.

AR-powered changing rooms discard a great deal of hassle, facilitating consumers to browse through the digital wardrobe of clothing products at the touch of a finger. AR also empowers consumers to specially customise and tailor products as per their needs.

Famous fashion brands such as Topshop and Timberland are spearheading in developing AR fitting and changing rooms to offer their customers a visualised shopping experience to assist them in choosing clothing items.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a term used to describe the experience that essentially put the consumer or potential consumer in another world or dimension. It may be used in reference to entirely virtual world or the world that assimilates a mix of real and virtual scenario.

Through the use of VR, organisations can place their offerings closer to the eyes of consumers. VR enables consumers to try on the products in a new way.

Organisations utilising VR offer consumers an opportunity to browse various products without physically coming to the store. Virtual Reality (VR) enables the organisation to bridge the void between shopping experience and action.

Organisations can leverage VR to provide digital experience in lieu of a physical experience, which can promote products and services. A prime example of VR is of IKEA virtual store that offers a chance to explore room departments virtually at any time. This empowers consumers to explore and even buy products without leaving their comfort zone.

Article Source
  • Chaffey, D., Ellis-Chadwick, F., Isaac, H., Mercanti-Guérin, M., & Volle, P.(2017). Marketing Digital. Montreuil: Pearson.

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  • Ptc.com. 2023. What Is Augmented Reality? | PTC. [online] Available at: https://www.ptc.com/en/technologies/augmented-reality [Accessed 21 May 2023]

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