Home Media SCU Leavey Blog The Ins and Outs of Digital Marketing Strategy

The Ins and Outs of Digital Marketing Strategy

11 Oct
Digital Marketing Strategy graphic

One of the most important marketing skills in today’s highly connected world is knowing how to create a digital marketing strategy. According to Statista, e-commerce revenue in the retail sector is forecasted to exceed 1.3 trillion dollars by 2025.1 With 81% of shoppers researching a product online before buying, it’s essential for advertisers to reach and engage customers through digital marketing.2

Keep reading to learn why a digital marketing strategy is important, how you can create a robust plan that can readily adapt to a changing marketplace, and why you need top skills to excel in this high-tech environment.

Why is a Digital Marketing Strategy Important?

Digital marketing is the backbone of most companies’ business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing strategies. As of 2022, 89% of all businesses already have a digital-first strategy or are planning to implement it.3 In addition to this competition, McKinsey & Company reports that during inflationary times, consumers will reduce their discretionary spending, which means that companies must stand out even further when fighting for fewer consumer dollars.4

Tips for Optimizing Your Digital Marketing Strategy

These ‘must do’s’ for business success point toward a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, rather than just disconnected digital marketing tactics.5 Research shows that companies wanting to achieve financial success in an uncertain marketplace must step up their game by:

Know your consumer

Companies must respond to changes in customer spending habits using insights from analytics. They’re advised to create personalized customer communications and touch points—that is, varied means of connecting with customers, such as email marketing, social media posts, and mobile device ads.4

Take big growth bets

For greater returns, businesses must use their expanded knowledge of their customers to create individualized strategies for groups of consumers and product subcategories.4

Boost efficiency

Retailers must eliminate inefficient spending practices. Instead, they should reinvest ‘surgically’ in marketing and spend optimization that recognizes today’s complex omnichannel marketing and consumer expectations. They can do so by focusing on the touch points, channels, and strategies that provide the greatest value for their company’s brand. 4,6

Create agile operations

Since consumer behavior shifts with changing sentiments, companies must be able to make fast decisions, adapting their operations to a regularly changing marketplace.4

What is the Zero Moment of Truth?

In 2011, Google coined the term ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ (ZMOT). It represents the key moment when a customer researches a product online, just before deciding to complete a purchase.7 Since nearly all Americans (97%) now own a smartphone—up 85% from just 35% in 2011—we can conduct product searches and make buying decisions within minutes, either from home or while in a brick-and-mortar store. This makes the ZMOT more widespread and instantaneous and, therefore, critically important for all businesses.8

Adapting to the ZMOT Marketing Reality

One marketing tactic that has a tremendous impact on the ZMOT is paid search, which drives internet traffic to a company’s website through relevant advertising based on specific search terms (keywords). In the U.S., Google dominates the search engine market at nearly 87%, making the Google Ads and paid search platform the main game for digital marketers.9,10,11

MarTech’s Essential Role in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

When creating a digital marketing strategy for your business, it’s important to be familiar with the large variety of tools at your disposal. These digital marketing tools fall under the category of MarTech, the abbreviated term for marketing technology. They include applications, tools, and software that help companies improve the efficacy of their marketing tactics. This group of tools is often referred to as a ‘marketing stack.’12

Examples of MarTech include content management systems such as WordPress, email marketing platforms such as Mail Chimp, and customer relationship management tools such as Salesforce. These programs help a company strengthen its relationship with its customers through communication, advertising, and reporting, and they create multiple touch points that allow the reciprocal relationship to flourish. It also helps companies personalize their marketing campaigns and better manage subsets of consumers, with specific marketing messages presented at certain times for a better customer experience.12

With so many tools out there, it’s important to choose the right ones that will integrate to form a complete digital marketing solution for your organization. Foundations of MarTech, one of the core marketing courses in the Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business Online Master of Science (MS) in Marketing, will introduce you to key technology platforms at the intersection of marketing and information systems. Popular software, such as Oracle’s Eloqua, Salesforce, and Adobe’s Marketo, allow businesses to drive success by engaging with their customers in meaningful ways.

Defining Your Digital Marketing Strategy and Needs

Digital marketing strategies aren’t ‘one size fits all.’ Companies’ needs vary depending on their customers and the products or services they offer. In e-commerce marketing, for example, a clothing retailer might simply want people to click on a button to buy a shirt or a pair of jeans. In lead-generation marketing, a company demonstrates value in exchange for obtaining personal information (e.g., special content in return for a customer’s email address). A web design firm that sells various services, for instance, must help customers learn the details about what’s being offered and how each service can benefit them. This is a much longer process.13

Each of these marketing objectives requires different strategies. Typically, lead generation marketing involves a larger purchase, such as buying a service and paying an ongoing subscription cost.13

ROI and Goal-Setting

To be successful, a company needs a robust and agile digital marketing plan that can quickly be adjusted to meet the demands of changing market conditions and customer expectations. It’s also essential to have a good return on investment (ROI). ROI measures the profit or loss a company generates from each of its digital marketing campaigns.14

Every digital marketing channel, such as email campaigns and social media, will have its own ROI metrics. To calculate ROI, use this formula: ROI = (net profit / total cost) x 100.15 Marketers will often represent the ROI calculation as a ratio, such as a common ROI of 5:1, which means that for every dollar spent, the company is making $5.15

Calculating ROI for your digital marketing campaigns will tell you which are working and which aren’t. Some of the digital marketing channels for which you can calculate ROI include:

  • Regularly updated blogs
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Landing pages on websites
  • Native advertising (conforms to the style of the website)
  • Programmatic advertising (targeted ads such as website banners)
  • Mobile video ads
  • Social media channels15

Take the following steps to measure and improve your company’s digital marketing ROI:

Set a suitable ROI goal

You may choose to use the SMART method, in which you set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.15

Select key performance indicators (KPIs) and software tools

KPIs are measurable values or statistics.15

Track conversion rates

This is the percentage of site visitors or email recipients that take the desired action (such as clicking on a link to buy a product).15,16

Calculate cost per lead

How much are you spending to generate each new customer?15

Track the average value of an order

This is used to monitor profit increases or customer retention. 15

Track unique visitors

This metric tells you which channel is most popular.15

Monitor click-through rate

The click-through rate (CTR) measures the number of visitors who come to your website or app through a link that was posted elsewhere, such as an email or ad on a different channel.15

Look at search engine position

Your site’s ranking in the search engine result pages (SERPs) affects your website’s traffic.15

Perform regular testing

This will show you which campaigns achieve the best results.15

Monitor metrics

Adjust future marketing campaigns and budgets as needed, based on the current data.15

Just as needs vary from company to company, so do results. Some companies will be able to leverage search engine optimization (SEO) more than pay-per-click (PPC) and others may have greater success with email marketing campaigns than SEO.

Major Fields in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a huge industry with many different specifications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities in the marketing field are projected to grow by 10% through 2031, with median pay of $133,380 annually.17

If you’re interested in exploring this exciting industry, take a look at some of the top specializations in digital marketing:18


As an analytics specialist, you will collect and evaluate marketing data from revenue and customer reviews. You will track data trends, record data history, and test data validity to find areas where digital marketing strategies can be improved. 18

Content Management

A content manager produces content that engages readers. Skills include copywriting, SEO, and social media marketing. They understand how to optimize a company’s digital marketing endeavors. This includes analysis to create strategies that optimize resources. 18

Email Marketing

An email marketer recruits, converts, and manages a company’s customer base. They also analyze data from clicks, conversions, and subscription rates to create engaging emails, as well as drafting and scheduling emails to boost subscribers.18

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

A PPC specialist monitors digital traffic to determine ROI. They might also analyze clicks for quantity and origin to measure a marketing campaign’s success. These professionals examine how successful a digital marketing strategy is through advanced analytics and conversion optimization. 18

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As an SEO expert, you work to improve a company’s web pages and brand visibility. It is your mission to get your company or client a top SERP position to help improve engagement and customer retention. 18

Social Media

A social media specialist uses different platforms to reach target audiences. This includes researching user demographics for each platform to customize the organization’s marketing strategies to reach a wide audience. They also engage with users to provide support and information, ideally gaining positive reviews. 18

Targeted Advertising/Display Marketing

This involves researching customer demographics to help inform advertising campaigns for targeting and retention. They work with others in the digital marketing department to develop campaigns and marketing materials. These displays (text, images and video or animation) can be delivered on various devices like smartphones and computers. 18,19

User Experience (UX) Design

A UX design expert is concerned with the function, readability, and aesthetics of a company’s website and application interfaces. UX designers play an important role in digital marketing, as they help ensure that customers will want to browse the company’s website and make purchases.18

Leverage Digital Marketing as a Leader

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and other team leaders can use digital marketing to communicate directly with their customers. For a small business, digital marketing is a way to have a larger online presence that’s on equal footing with more established competitors. It’s cost-effective and personalized, with a global reach that lets you communicate with prospects at every stage of the purchasing process.20

Earning your Master’s in Marketing is a guaranteed way to stand out from your competition. In SCU’s Online MSM degree program, you’ll receive the training and expertise you need to become a leader in digital marketing. In as little as a year, you can gain a strong and diverse background in everything from marketing trends, MarTech, and analytics to brand management, channel marketing, and digital advertising.

Download a program brochure to learn more.


1. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/272391/us-retail-e-commerce-sales-forecast/
2. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.invoca.com/blog/retail-marketing-statistics
3. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://quixy.com/blog/top-digital-transformation-statistics-trends-forecasts/
4. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-great-uncertainty-us-consumer-confidence-and-behavior-during-inflationary-times
5. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.mediafly.com/blog/5-considerations-digital-marketing-strategy/
6. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from
7. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/micro-moments/zero-moment-truth/
8. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/
9. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.adlucent.com/resources/blog/five-ways-paid-search-influences-the-zero-moment-of-truth/
10. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://ads.google.com/intl/en_au/home/resources/what-is-paid-search/
11. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share/all/united-states-of-america
12. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://onlinedegrees.scu.edu/media/blog/martech-the-future-of-marketing
13. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/06/26/e-commerce-versus-lead-generation-marketing-whats-the-difference/?sh=253b43622422
14. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/digital-marketing-roi/
15. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/digital-marketing-roi
16. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/conversion-rates/
17. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm
18. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/specialization-in-digital-marketing
19. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://en.ryte.com/wiki/Display_Marketing
20. Retrieved on September 24, 2022, from https://www.business2community.com/digital-marketing/using-digital-marketing-to-reach-your-customers-02385688