6 things you need to know before buying a pound
When you buy your car, you soon learn that joke you hear at the auto-repair shop: “Oh man, who did this work on the car?” Every profession has its own version of this. The developers mention framework, scripts and bases instead of specifically set car parts. Digitals usually go for strategy. That makes some sense: if the strategy is wrong, nothing will work. We’ve all heard the story of the wrong train and all the wrong stations. However, there is no more undefined term in digital than the word strategy.
Let me get this straight, we’re not going to help you with the definition either. Below you will read some guidelines, but it is quite possible that you will come up with more questions than answers. Believe me, it’s totally cool, we love to brainstorm these things till the cows come home!
This can be confusing for clients. How do we sell a service we can’t define, and we also claim others can’t either? If we were a little more hypocritical, we could pass you on to David Ogilvie to ask the same question, but we’re not – so we’ll try to explain here!
Here are 6 things you need to know before you buy a Digital Strategy service:
1. There are no mandatory elements
The elements of a digital strategy depend on the needs of the brand. There are some recommendations that apply to a large number of brands, but there is always something special – that is why this brand exists! That is why digital strategy for some brands means digging into the sales funnel, for some it implies following new trends on social media. For some, a well-defined target group is crucial, and for some, 7-77 years is ok.
The textbook definition of the word strategy is a long-term plan to achieve certain goals in conditions of uncertainty. Since goals, uncertainties and planning differ from brand to brand, then strategies differ drastically as well.
Most strategies will have target group analysis, probably at the levels of psychography, media consumption and insight, qualitative and quantitative competition analysis, media strategy, trends, content analysis, conclusions and examples. However, if your online presence is far better than the competition, there is no point in going into an in-depth analysis of their Instagram profile a year back.
You’ll often hear that it can’t be a digital strategy if you don’t have an X in it. Read that as btw, I sell X. A digital strategy must consider all possible techniques, but it is quite legitimate advice to focus on a single channel.
In addition to channels, it is often a question of under what name the brand will make them when it comes to the market or it has a larger campaign. Is it just the name of the brand? If it operates in multiple markets, do we add the name as a suffix?
Sometimes we come to the conclusion that we can also throw out the brand name altogether, which happened on a project in which @ SpriteSerbia became @Spasojednorog.
2. You don’t have to be a digital expert
The success of strategies depends on the trust we build during the project. To build trust, we need to understand each other as we talk about a lot of touchy things. We will make every effort to translate all digital esotericism into understandable conclusions. However, many sub-questions such as: why A instead of B involve technical explanations that cannot be completely simplified. You don’t have to be a digital expert, but you do need to have an analytical approach to business and a healthy dose of curiosity.
Analytical approach means that in your business you are guided by the conclusions that you come to by analyzing some figures. However, many businesses rely on the feelings of managers, anecdotal evidence, etc. Others are afraid of paralysis by analyzing – missed opportunities due to too long a wait for numbers to arrive, analyzing, forming infinite hypotheses, testing… Some are just undisciplined. Whatever the reason, these businesses don’t need a digital strategy. They will always listen to personal judgment or established practice rather than the conclusions of the strategy.
The analytical approach is a universal skill. If you are used to counting YTG market shares, we will easily explain to you what Customer Lifetime Value is, if you handle GRPs, we will easily explain to you what engagement rate is, etc.
3. Strategy is not a list of KPIs
This will sound contradictory to the previous advice, but it is not. Key Performance Indicators are a tempting tool for companies that are driven by an analytical approach. You follow one clear figure: if it grows – great, if it falls, we’re in trouble.
The problem is that no KPI is a measure of success. As their name suggests, indicators are proxy measures. Indicators are often associated with successful outcomes, but are not predictors of success. So that this wouldn’t be just a case of splitting hairs, I’ll give you an example.
Many performance campaigns today are optimized for leads which is defined as registering on the site. The KPI here can be the number of leads or the price per lead. However, this KPI does not tell you anything about whether these leads buy products, about your customers who go to the site, but do not buy until they feel the product in the store, about those who see the banner today, and come tomorrow, etc. There are also ancillary KPIs that you can follow this up with, but even if you follow them again you don’t measure the strength of your brand that decides whether the customer will even consider your product, banner or post. To carry things out to the end, there is also an indicator for the strength of the brand – the task of the strategy is to figure out what is the reality behind these indicators, to resolve the often conflicting messages that they send and clarify what they all bring to the brand together.
That’s why digital strategy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is intertwined with business strategy and creative strategy. Only if these three strategies find a common language do they have a chance to succeed.
4. Details matter
In communication, there is usually a rule that everything can be, but it does not have to be. A good copywriter will try to make sure that every word in the text has its own weight, but if they miss one, nothing terrible will happen. That’s not the case with strategies. Small changes can drastically affect results, both in the right and wrong direction.
Let’s say that we advise you to focus on Instagram stories and to invest all the creative resources to post every day. Adopting only a portion of the tips and continuing to post on the feed, and repackaging those same posts for stories can be interpreted as fake and can harm your brand.
In a good strategy, all options are considered and the right ones, i.e. optimal ones, are recommended. There is no room for questioning, but could it be any different? If you adopt a part of a strategy and change another, it is no longer the same strategy, even if it seems to be just details.
5. Strategy is not creativity
The strategy will affect all your future campaigns, but it doesn’t have to contain any creative suggestions. Strategy is not creativity, it is not a campaign, and it is not a suggestion of a post, banner, or site. The strategy does not have to have any suggestions that will eventually appear on your channels.
The strategy should tell you whether you need a website, whether you really need an online purchase on that website and what are the most important functionalities that that electronic store should fulfill. You can find thousands of e-commerce software that will fulfill those functionalities. The same thing happens for every online channel that makes sense for your business.
Confusedaze™ arises because good strategies provide examples that illustrate strategic ideas. For example, in a strategy involving social media will be given examples of posts as a mockup. The design of these posts is not subject to strategy. If we focus on design, then we stop engaging in strategy and go into creating a campaign.
6. Strategy is creativity
Okay, okay, just making sure whether you’re awake! However, I also have a good point with this one, I promise!
This advice would actually read: The strategy is only as good as its implementation. This means that the success of the strategy depends on the creativity you will eventually publish.
This complicates things quite a bit if the strategy and implementation is not done by the same team. At the end of the day, someone checks each banner and determines whether it is in line with the strategy. This person assumes the responsibility to ensure the success of the strategy, without entering and micromanagement and personal preferences. Such is not an easy task.
We have some tips for that too, we will be writing on those topics soon.
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For photo production, it’s easy to make a case. A photograph says a thousand words, so cut down on all the writing. To give an example of a good strategy, we would have to spend an entire blog to explain the context of the client and violate confidentiality by publishing their information. That’s why there’s no case in this case.
However, if this all sounds familiar and meaningful to you, then we’re probably we approach strategies in a similar way, and that’s a great start.