11 March 2024

5 Principles of Digital Strategy

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5 Principles of Digital Strategy
Ava PannellWritten ByAva Pannell

Ava is the Head of Strategy at Propeller, leading client workshops and building tailored strategy internally and externally.

What is a Digital Strategy?

Digital strategy is essentially a plan or approach that maps out how you are going to achieve your business goals. It outlines how you’ll deploy digital technologies, channels, and tactics to optimise everything from marketing and sales to customer service and product development.

A digital marketing strategy aims to unlock the full potential of your brand across digital channels and is led both by brand purpose, and people. A strategy must give value over time, not just to the business, but first and foremost the consumer.

The best digital strategies are audience-centric, honing in on the wants, needs and desires of the target audience. Rich audience understanding enables a data-led approach to strategy, ensuring that everything from content, product development and buying journeys are supercharged or success. 

Digital Strategy Is Dynamic

Many brands partner with a digital marketing agency to plot their direction, leveraging multi-disciplined teams to devise the best path to success. Strategy can be deployed over short, medium or long-term timeframes to build measurable growth. Some brands make the mistake of thinking that strategy is a ‘set and forget’ piece of work, whereas in practice it is dynamic, following performance and fed by a test-and-learn approach.

5 Principles of Digital Strategy

1. Know your audience 

Building an audience-centric strategy is key, as your audience should be at the heart of brand decisions. It’s a consumer-to-business (C2B) world, and this will only accelerate as Gen Z becomes the dominant demographic and Gen Alpha establishes its spending power. 

It’s also important to understand the intricacies of your audience, in terms of brand affinities, geographical location, lifestyle and hobbies. Leveraging first, second and third party data to help build personas will enable brands to establish a clear focus and prioritise these personas when decision-making. 

We see a lot of brands navigating a strategic shift to unlock new audiences, however, it is important not to isolate your loyal audience base. 

2. Choose your channels wisely 

The channels a brand selects should be governed by their audiences’ media consumption. It’s important to understand what channels your audience engages with- when, why and how. Certain demographics utilise different channels for different purposes, for example keeping up with the news, funny content or product discovery. 

Algorithm updates happen frequently on major platforms and it’s critical to keep your fingers on the pulse to ensure your social performance continues to grow. 

It’s also fundamental that brands keep an eye on their market and competition. Outside of social media, evaluate your paid, owned and earned channels and assess how these compare to the ‘movers and shakers’ within your market. 

3. Content that Connects 

Your content strategy must connect with your intended audience to achieve those ‘tent-pole’ or viral moments. The secret sauce, whilst somewhat elusive, is a secret handshake between relevancy and timing. It’s difficult to get right for many global brands, mainly due to red tape and Legal. 

The social ecosystem is a crucial discovery channel for most brands, with consumers utilising these apps and platforms as search engines. Keywords are now an essential part of a social media strategy, amplifying organic content alongside hashtags and trending audio, giving content reach. 

It’s also imperative to understand the nuances of each channel and create a content strategy for each, as opposed to repurposing content. Set different goals for each channel to create a holistic social media strategy and encourage cross-platform engagement. 

4. Impact vs Effort 

Impact vs effort is an assessment matrix we always utilise when making recommendations to our clients. It’s important to understand the effort an activity would require (resource, investment etc), in relation to whether it will contribute towards set KPIs, over the target timeframe. 

Be realistic with your budget and your KPIs. Being smart with your effort will enable even a lean budget to have an impact on your marketing performance. 

5. Analytics and Measurement

Measurement is key to ensuring you’re on the right course. Without transparency around your data, it becomes impossible to make informed, strategic decisions. Cross-platform measurement is increasingly challenging with buyer journeys more fractured than ever before, and platform limitations. When third-party cookies are officially phased out this will only get more convoluted. 


In Summary…

Work with your agency to select the correct KPIs and ensure a robust tracking and reporting set-up is in place, to measure your marketing effectiveness. It’s important to understand your primary, secondary and halo KPIs and what they add to the full picture, as well as the direct revenue attributed.

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