Digital Marketing Basics: Digital Strategy is Not Social Media Necessarily


Digital Strategy is not tactics.  It is a frame work of digital patterns knitted together to meet a set objective, a clear purpose, a well defined goal.  Collaboration is not a strategy, nor is Facebook or twitter, they are digital tactical patterns that you can use to meet a strategy like “connect with the customer or fan.”

The new age challenge is to have a vision and travel in the right direction at a rapid speed.  Website redesigns to put new lipstick on the same pig is not a strategy.  Its what ego centric execs do when they feel like the world is moving forward and they want to keep up.  If you rebuilt your site because you needed a big carousel on the home page I would question digital strategy.  If you told me you needed to be mobile ready for the next generation of devices and need to make the website responsive that is a strategy with directives behind it.  There is a difference between the two although it seems like similar work.

Some tactics being thrown around are

  1. We need an app
  2. We need IG, Twitter, Facebook, more social
  3. We need a CMS
  4. We need more Video
  5. We need SEO
  6. We need responsive
  7. We need collorabation
  8. We need a redesign

Tactical, tactical, tactical.  No vision.

I have observed that many execs drive decisions based on competition and the tactics of others NOT internal vision, NOT Digital Strategy.  I am not saying do not look at the competition and certainly do not let then run away but act from a position of vision.  A Big Hair Audacious Goal (BHAG) can be “Become one of the number one influences in your chosen market place”.  What tactics would drive that Strategy?  Are any of them digital?

Now that we looked at what Digital is not, let us look at what it is. Digital is a format that promotes speed.  Consumers have the I must have it now attitude and for that reason digital has really caught on.  It is embrassed because it delivers fast, so fast that at the press of a button I can send a message and in less than 2 seconds someone in India is reading my message. Let us keep this in mind as we proceed into the guts of the mechanisms of digital.

There are 3 fundamental processing channels of distribution for digital content.  

  1. PUSH, this is where you push your info to the audience eg email, SMS, Chat bots, Messenger
  2. PULL come in different flavors of consumption patterns, direct reference websites, SEO, referral links
  3. HYBRID OF PUSH AND PULL, like RSS, newsfeeds and Social Media

The key idea is create compelling content that will be consumed by one of the patterns above.  it would vary by the users consumption or data eating habit.  The menu of  content types the user can pick vary as follows:

  1. Video/Audio
  2. Photos
  3. Text

The receipts to create for these content types would depend on the user taste and mood. Some days I want to eat Chinese food and other days I want Indian and so too the taste can follow these categories

  1. Belonging to a community, just getting into social networks personal and professional drives this behavior and is probably the most insatiable of them all.
  2. Sensual Experience, upfront and hands on events and experiences
  3. Passive Entertainment using video, photos, text jokes
  4. Hot Deals, like groupon needs text, photo coupons and some visual appeal
  5. Learning and Self Improvement: doing it yourself, growing and ascending to something greater

Digital Strategy is how you creatively mapping your value proposition to one of these human wants.  The way you modulate the frequency and timing of the packaged content message is the art of digital strategy.  Monitoring your target audience in one or many of the 3 processing channels of distribution and tuning your message is the zen of digital marketing.

Stephen Choo Quan