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How to create a Digital Marketing Strategy

13 Mar
Colleagues gather around a smiling marketer while discussing marketing strategies.

The marketing landscape has evolved greatly in the last few decades. In recent years, new technological platforms and tools have emerged (e.g., TikTok, Twitch) while others have drifted out of popularity (e.g., Myspace, Internet Explorer, Google Buzz). All the while, the need to connect with the right customers at the right time has remained. Digital marketing is the key to making that connection in the digitally-connected modern world.

With a successful Digital Marketing Strategy (DMS), billions of customers can receive critical brand messaging and persuasive content that helps them become brand aware, engaged, and likely to convert and advocate for your brand as loyal customers.

Read on to learn why creating an effective Digital Marketing Strategy is important for today’s companies, large and small, and how an SCU Online MS in Marketing degree can help you obtain the skills and knowledge to craft your own DMS and win customers.

What is Digital Marketing Strategy?

The term “digital marketing” first came to use in 1990 with the launch of the world’s first search engine, Archie, and refers to the usage of digital channels to market products and services on both the B2B and B2C levels.1

A DMS is the backbone of most B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing because of its low-budget expansive outreach and measurables.

Digital marketing allows businesses to reach a wider audience through social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization. It's also more cost-effective and measurable than traditional marketing methods such as billboards, print ads, and TV commercials and allows for the personalization of messaging. With real-time data and feedback, businesses can quickly adapt their campaigns and messaging to changing market conditions and customer needs.

Your Digital Marketing Strategy is a clearly-designed plan to help your company reach its goal/s. When well planned and executed, it can help you achieve larger business objectives as well and can be done so through smaller tactics and channels that target more specific customers. The outcome is a maximized return on marketing spend.

Smaller channels for DMS can include:

  • Social media
  • Website
  • Digital ads
  • Emails
  • Mobile
  • Additional online promotions

Why it’s Important to Learn How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy?

Since many industries are now digital-first, learning how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy is more necessary than ever before. Competition in the digital space is especially crowded and especially high, though day-by-day new options emerge to break through the clutter and come out on top of your customer’s devices.

Today’s brands need to reach customers where they are. The good news is with modern tech advancements and connectivity, this can be achieved—right where your customers are. This is especially true for U.S. marketers. The USA has the highest smartphone penetration with over 80% of the population owning such a device.2

In total, an impressive 86.2% of the world’s population, or approximately 6.9 billion people, have smartphones. 91.4% have mobile phones.2 While smartphones come with internet access and other advanced capabilities that add more ways to reach their owners, mobile phones can receive marketing via text and should not be ruled out of your DMS. Ericsson & The Radicati Group expect the number of smartphones and mobile phones to rise to 7.33 billion smartphones and 7.49 billion, respectively, by 2025.2

That means incorporating concepts like “Zero Moment of Truth” into creating an effective DMS for the present while keeping a vigilant eye on which future DMS plans should be part of your long-term marketing game plan.

The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is a concept in digital marketing that refers to the moment when a potential customer starts researching a product or service online before making a purchase decision.

ZMOT is crucial in Digital Marketing Strategy as it provides an opportunity for businesses to influence customer decision-making by providing relevant and informative content. A strong ZMOT strategy can increase brand awareness, build trust with potential customers, and improve conversion rates—the goals of every DMS.

DMS are imperative for any successful modern marketing plan. It’s imperative to see the possibilities of dynamic DMS strategies and tactics and to think of DMS as a powerful tool that can reach any customer, whether they are at your store, on the road, or at home for the evening tucked safely in bed, their room illuminated by the glow of a cell phone, smart tv, or laptop.

Although a traditional roadside billboard might catch a potential customer’s eye as they speed by on a particular highway, digital marketing allows your customers to hear about you, learn about you, and buy from you in a matter of minutes, no matter where they are in the world, with the click of a few buttons. The power of digital marketing is undeniable.

Maximizing Your Digital Marketing Strategy with MarTech

In today's digital age, businesses have an array of tools at their disposal to enhance their marketing strategies. These tools, collectively known as MarTech or marketing technology, encompass a range of applications, software, and platforms that can improve the efficacy of a company's marketing tactics.

The MarTech toolkit includes content management systems like WordPress, email marketing platforms such as MailChimp, and customer relationship management tools like Salesforce. By utilizing these tools, businesses can strengthen their relationship with customers through effective communication, advertising, and reporting, resulting in multiple touchpoints that foster a reciprocal relationship.

Moreover, MarTech enables companies to personalize marketing campaigns, target specific subsets of consumers, and manage them more effectively, leading to a better overall customer experience. To achieve the full benefits of MarTech, it's important to choose the right tools that can integrate seamlessly and provide a complete digital marketing solution.

The Foundations of MarTech course, offered by the Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business Online Master of Science (MS) in Marketing program, provides a comprehensive overview of the key technology platforms at the intersection of marketing and information systems. Popular MarTech software, such as Oracle’s Eloqua, Salesforce, and Adobe’s Marketo, can help businesses engage with their customers meaningfully and achieve success in the competitive digital marketplace.

Marketing is Everything: Mastering Digital Marketing Strategy for Today's Business Landscape

One of the core courses in the SCU MSM curriculum is "Marketing is Everything," which offers students a comprehensive understanding of Digital Marketing Strategy.

This course provides managers with essential decision-making tools for effective market segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Key concepts, including new product development, pricing strategies, distribution channels, customer relationships, and performance metrics, are explored within a strategic planning framework.

Through case studies, students gain practical experience in applying these frameworks to real-world scenarios, culminating in the development of a comprehensive marketing plan aimed at sustainable profitability and capabilities. With an emphasis on Silicon Valley industries, the course covers diverse environments and industries to prepare students for a wide range of marketing challenges.

Digital Marketing Strategy: Guiding Modern Marketing Plans

Digital marketing should be a pillar of your overall marketing strategy and work in tandem with all of your other marketing materials (printed materials, public relations communications, sales content, etc.).

Just as a GPS leads you to your destination on the best route possible, a Digital Marketing Strategy is the clearest, most efficient way for your brand to optimize your digital content. Rather than adopting a lot of disparate tactics, a strategy helps guide your decisions and keep things focused and streamlined. You might hear this called being “on strategy,” where all materials a customer sees and interacts with are aligned with the brand’s vision and mission. Customers respond to this as well. Brand identity and familiarity increase when all marketing is aligned and in harmony, no matter the channel or method of delivery.

Like GPS, your DMS sets expectations for everyone involved and provides clear direction and destination, including turns or tactics that should be leveraged to help reach the end of the trip successfully.

A DMS Your Whole Company can Embrace

All of your team’s work must be in line with the strategy and working to serve its goals to meet the criteria for a well-planned DMS. While a Digital Marketing Strategy is important for everyone at your company to be informed about and to buy into, from the sales department to the C-suite, it's essential for Chief Marketing Officers, digital marketing managers, marketing coordinators, email developers, and creative team members who work on your digital content to be in the loop.

Digital marketing strategies that are misunderstood, ignored, or otherwise unsupported during marketing efforts can send the wrong message to your customers and even dissuade loyalty and conversions when received.

Wavering, wandering, inconsistent DMS that don't align with your overall strategy and tactics of your goods and services won’t only leave your customer confused. They can leave you and your marketing team stopping at the proverbial wrong destinations, confusing the customer, and ultimately spending a valuable part of your budget spinning wheels in the wrong direction.

With an informed Digital Marketing Strategy, you can show executives and stakeholders exactly when, why, and how you’re using digital channels to achieve goals and roll out adopted plans to everyone at your company. You can also provide timelines and benchmarks for specific initiatives, which in turn helps your team members understand what they are working toward and achieve greater success.

Defining Your Digital Marketing Strategy and Needs

As a digital marketer, it's essential to understand that each company is unique and has different needs when it comes to a Digital Marketing Strategy. Some companies may be focused on lead generation, while others may be focused on e-commerce sales.

Before diving into your digital marketing efforts, it's important to take the time to define your goals and needs. This includes understanding which channels of digital marketing are most effective for your business and how to measure the ROI for each of those channels.

Goal-setting is a crucial component of any successful Digital Marketing Strategy. By setting clear, specific, and measurable goals, you can better track your progress and make informed decisions about your marketing efforts. However, it's important to remember that all channels of digital marketing have their own ROI metrics, and what works for one company may not work for another. For example, some companies may find that they can leverage SEO more effectively than Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, while others may see better results from email marketing campaigns.

Ultimately, the key to a successful Digital Marketing Strategy is understanding your audience and their needs. By tailoring your approach to your unique business goals and leveraging the channels that are most effective for your target audience, you can achieve sustainable growth and drive real results for your business.

Master the art of Digital Marketing Strategy Now

Defining a successful Digital Marketing Strategy can be a complex process, particularly in today's fast-paced, data-driven business landscape. To create a strategy that truly resonates with your target audience, modern marketers must leverage their analytical skills and utilize the wealth of data at their disposal. By analyzing consumer behavior patterns, marketing teams can identify key trends, preferences, and pain points, which can inform more effective marketing messages, content, and campaigns.

It's crucial to develop a deep understanding of your customer’s journey, from initial awareness to conversion and beyond, to ensure your strategy is tailored to their needs at every touchpoint. By employing a data-driven approach, marketers can maximize the ROI of their digital marketing efforts, while building strong, lasting relationships with customers.

Since your strategy is constructed around goals, you need to outline exactly what those goals are. Use the SMART method to identify goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

A mix of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help track your progress.

One approach that can help marketers define their Digital Marketing Strategy is the SMART goal-setting framework. By establishing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals, marketers can create a roadmap for their digital marketing efforts that align with broader business objectives.

For instance, a SMART goal might be to increase website traffic by 25% within the next six months or improve conversion rates on a particular landing page by 15% over the next quarter. These goals can then inform specific tactics and metrics to track, such as search engine optimization, social media advertising, or email marketing campaigns. With a clear set of SMART goals, marketers can more easily track progress toward their objectives, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their digital marketing strategies over time.

Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy requires setting SMART goals that are meaningful and measurable. As a marketing professional, it's important to move beyond aspirational statements like "being everybody's favorite tie in California" and instead focus on clear and achievable objectives, such as becoming the best-selling tie in California.

While sales numbers may provide insight into progress, they are not always directly linked to digital marketing efforts. To set a clear strategy, identify specific accomplishments that can be tracked on digital channels, such as increasing website traffic or improving email open rates by a certain percentage.

These objectives can then be broken down into smaller, related goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By setting SMART goals, you can monitor progress, refine your approach, and ensure that your digital marketing efforts are driving sustainable growth for your business.

Digital Marketing Domination: The key Fields for Business Success

Marketing, and specifically digital marketing, is a field that offers abundant opportunities for professionals.

With a projected growth rate of 10% from 2021 to 2031, the field is rapidly expanding, especially in key areas such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising, Display Marketing, and Email Marketing.3 These areas have become increasingly important in today's digital age as businesses seek to connect with their target audiences in innovative ways.

For those interested in marketing, specializing in one or more of these fields can provide diverse and fulfilling career paths with high earning potential.

Take a look at what comprises digital marketing’s major fields.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Being an SEO expert involves having a deep understanding of how search engines work and being able to optimize websites to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). It requires technical expertise, analytical skills, and the ability to create effective content strategies that meet the needs of both search engines and users.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

As a PPC specialist, you're able to create and manage powerful advertising campaigns on search engines and social media platforms. You must understand your target audience, research keywords relevant to them, plus optimize ads to achieve clicks & conversions while keeping costs low - expertise that can truly increase a company’s online presence.

Display Marketing

Display marketing is a dynamic and innovative way to connect with target audiences and make a lasting impression. Utilizing creative design elements, precise targeting technology, and highly engaging visuals, businesses can effectively capture attention in today's competitive digital landscape.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful way for businesses to turn leads into conversions and foster relationships with their audiences. Skilled email marketers who can write compelling messages and understand audience segmentation are in high demand as businesses recognize the importance of personalized communication with customers.

Today’s Leaders are Leveraging Digital Marketing

To use digital marketing to reach customers directly, CMOs and other team leaders can:

  • Develop a strong online presence with a website optimized for search engines and a social media presence
  • Use email marketing to send targeted messages with clear calls-to-action
  • Utilize search engine marketing to advertise on Google and Bing and drive traffic to their website
  • Leverage social media advertising to reach specific demographics and increase brand awareness
  • Use data analytics to track campaign performance and gain insights into customer behavior

By following these strategies, CMOs and team leaders can be well-equipped on how to create effective digital marketing campaigns that directly connect them with their customers.

Revamp Your Marketing Game with SCU's Online MSM Program

SCU's Online MSM degree program offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers a range of digital marketing topics, including social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, and data analytics.

The program is designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals, with flexible online coursework and experiential learning opportunities.

With a faculty of industry experts, the program emphasizes ethics and social responsibility in marketing and provides networking opportunities to gain insights into industry trends and best practices.

Overall, SCU Leavey School of Business’ Online MSM program equips students with the knowledge, skills, and practical experience needed to create a strong Digital Marketing Strategy that aligns with business goals and drives success in today's digital landscape.

Schedule a call with an Admission Advisor.