Article

Barney Durrant
Barney Durrant 5 January 2016

Make A Strategy For 2016 Not Just A List

Start from first principles. There’s no online world. There’s just the World - sometimes people are online and sometimes they are not.

Digital strategy is often broken down into a series of waypoints. So, we are doing AdWords, have a Facebook and Twitter page, everyone is on LinkedIn and we post our photos on Instagram and Pinterest. Everyone’s happy that the company is a leader, because it has ticked the latest platform off the growing list.

Well, platforms aren’t strategies and all you really have are a series of tactics masquerading as a strategy - a nod to trends and what everyone else is doing. Unfortunately true success is a little more complicated than that.

Start from first principles. There’s no online world. There’s just the World - sometimes people are online and sometimes they are not. You have a marketing plan, an audience or audiences to reach and a product or service to sell. It all has to work together with a golden thread running through it - the message.

Everything comes from the plan. If you need to find a certain group of people, you need to focus on them and their needs. Where do they go, how do they interact and crucially what influences their buying decisions? What do they want and how can you solve their problem?

All this work needs to be done before a click is bought, a post thrown out into the social ether or a video or app commissioned.

I’ll let you into a secret. You don’t have to be on Facebook, Twitter isn’t essential and the world won’t end if you never run a single campaign on AdWords. Match your goals to the platform and start to make choices. What are their strengths and weaknesses, what real results can I drive there? Likes, follows and page ranks are not goals in themselves. Even the largest marketing department has limited time and resources. Put your strategy at the heart of everything you do.

Plan to be effective on your key platforms. Do two things well, rather than five things badly. Make a calendar and plot out your content themes.

What are you going to write about and create for the next twelve months? Where is the best place to get that content in front of your chosen audience? How can you amplify that message effectively? Which platforms give you the tools to prove you are making the right choices?

Use data to challenge the past and look at your rivals. Take their best ideas and discard their worst mistakes. Test, learn, fail fast and build better and when it is this time next year, start the whole process again.

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