August 16, 2021
How-To Articles

What is Digital Strategy? I'll Tell You What It's Not

I'm going to describe for you some common items that I see mistaken for digital strategies.

Photo by <a href="">Aaron Weiss</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

Do you know what a digital strategy is?

A digital strategy is not just a plan or tactic. It's the overarching framework that guides your entire marketing and business efforts to create customer value in an increasingly digital world. It’s not just for big companies, either – it can be used by any company of any size to achieve their goals.

If you want to stay competitive in today's market, then you need a strong digital strategy that will help guide your decisions and provide clarity on how best to reach customers with relevant content across all channels. You'll also need the right tools and resources so you can execute on this vision effectively without wasting time or money.

Instead of going into too much detail on what a digital strategy is in this blog post, I'm going to describe for you some common items that I see mistaken for digital strategies.

A digital strategy is not:

a schedule of your social media posts. That's called a plan. A strategy is a lot more than the social content that you're planning to post for the upcoming weekend, week or month.

a digital media buying plan. Again, see that word plan in there? A plan and a strategy aren't the same thing. A plan is a set of instructions for what you're going to do in a set period of time. A strategy in this case would address who you're trying to reach and what tools will best help you get there.

a big idea that you're hoping will go viral. First of all, stop it with the viral idea pitching. Viral ideas are unpredictable. Nobody is going to create the next Ice Bucket Challenge no matter how hard they try. A viral idea is a by-product of good marketing strategy.

copying what Wendy's is doing on Twitter. I've talked to a lot of marketers who think they're funny on social media. Maybe you are, but how does that help you win customers? It's possible that it might be a good idea, but it has to fit with your brand for it be a strategic choice and not jumping on the coattails of the latest trend.

creating content for your social media channels. I bring this one up because I've seen the job title "Social Media Strategist" too many times for someone who is in charge of live-tweeting events. It's possible that the role includes strategy, but a purely strategist role wouldn't include tasks like posting to social media or creating graphics.

Most people confuse strategy for tactics or plans.

Strategy is about the big picture, not just having a plan to get from point A to B. If you're building your own house, do you just have a blueprint? Or does it include the materials list and other details that will make sure your home gets built right?

The same goes for digital marketing strategy. You can't just have a plan; you need to build out detailed tactics and processes that are going to help reach your goals in the most efficient way possible. This means using data and analytics so you can see what's working (and what isn't) at every step of the process so you can adjust accordingly.

Want to learn the process for creating your own digital strategy? Pick up your copy of Build Your Digital Strategy today.

Ryan Sawrie

Digital Leader, Author

Ryan Sawrie is the author of Build Your Digital Strategy and a veteran digital marketer. Ryan shares his insights to creating digital strategies in BYDS and at the website.

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