By Jess Scholz, Senior Account Executive
January 17, 2017
When starting to plan out a digital marketing strategy, many companies often go straight to tactics: we’re going to run banner ads, paid search, and social media advertising. Unfortunately, that isn’t the best approach. You need to consider a lot of crucial information first, like your goals and audiences, before making final decisions about media placements. This information will help determine what media platforms you are going to use, how to target your ideal audience, and how much you are going to spend on creative for the campaign.
If you don’t approach digital marketing with a thorough strategy, you may end up serving the wrong types of ads to the wrong audiences, resulting in wasted time and wasted money. Start at the beginning, making sure to take into consideration everything necessary before you outline a digital marketing strategy and start executing a campaign.
Here’s how we do it:
Define Your Goals
The first thing to consider are the overall goal(s) of advertising online. Is the goal to drive reservations? Get someone to purchase or sign up for something? Interact with the brand in some way? Or is the campaign targeting increased brand awareness?
Define Your Audience
Next up: you need to define your target audience. In order to accomplish that above goal, who are you targeting? Is it a defined audience specific to your brand, or a new segment of the population that you are trying to reach? When defining a target audience, it is important to go beyond demographics and think about other critical elements such as lifestyle and behavioral elements. Most importantly you need to consider how your audience is consuming media in the digital space. In an upcoming post we will talk more about targeting and how best to define your target audience(s), so stay tuned!
Create a Digital Media Plan
Once we work together to establish your goals and audiences, we can create a well-thought-out digital media plan, taking into consideration budgets and timelines. This includes taking a look at what platforms or ad networks your ads will run on and exactly how to target the defined audiences.
For example, someone that might spend a week at a ski resort will be in a different audience set than those that would come to ski for the day and be interested in day-only lift ticket rates. It is important to target these audiences differently so that the messaging can speak specifically to each audience and the campaign can receive the best possible results overall.
Develop the Creative
Once a media plan is established, it is time to develop the creative work that will help execute that plan. All of the goals and targeting that have already been decided on should inform the direction of the creative. Those previously-established goals and targeting help to determine what the creative looks like, what copy is used, what the CTA says and where a click takes people if they choose to interact with the media unit, whatever form it might take.
Example One: A Basic Digital Marketing Strategy for a Vacation Resort
Say you are a resort looking to drive reservations. Because of the various amenities that you provide, you are looking to target both adventure seekers as well as families with children.
The first thing to do is to establish a media plan that targets these audiences in different ways and on different platforms. Even if the final creative may have a similar look and feel (sticking to your brand standards!), the imagery used to target the adventure seeker will be more high impact and adrenaline-invoking than the images used to target families with children.
The CTA button remains the same (“Book Now”) since the goal is the same for both audiences. Yet the targeting and the overall emotion conveyed through the creative is different for each audience. This approach should yield better results for the campaign as a whole since you are reaching each audience in places where they browse the web and showing them content that they are specifically interested in.
For our client, Jay Peak Resort, we applied this strategy and saw a 101% increase in reservation revenue driven by display advertising from one season to the next.
Example Two: Digital Marketing Strategy for Two Similar Audiences
For our client Jones Dairy Farm, a well-defined digital marketing strategy has helped build brand awareness and reach an emerging target audience for their brand.
The goal is the same no matter the audience: build brand awareness, generate clicks to the website, and ultimately drive purchase of their products. When building a digital marketing strategy for the Jones Dairy Farm campaign, we began by narrowing our focus on two defined audiences: quality shoppers (moms with older kids who want quality products, despite price) and millennials with young families (moms and dads). Both audiences want high quality products free of “bad stuff” (gluten, MSG, preservatives, etc.) that they feel confident serving to their families. The major difference is where and how they consume digital media.
Below are two examples of digital units for this year’s Jones Dairy Farm digital campaign. The one on the left is a traditional animated banner ad that runs on AllRecipes.com adjacent to relevant content (layered with geographical and behavioral targeting). Based on our targeting, this ad is more likely to be seen by the slightly older quality shopper audience. The ad on the right is a Facebook ad leading into Facebook’s new Canvas unit – an immersive experience curated by the brand. This ad was built for and targeted to the millennial audience, who spends more time on social media consuming content such as videos and recipes.
While the end result of each unit will be the same (a click to the Jones Dairy Farm website), by building content that speaks to each audience and targeting them where they consume digital media, we—and ultimately, our client—are more likely to have a successful campaign as a whole.
At S&B, This is Our Process
At S&B, this process is a part of our everyday. We instinctively start at the beginning by assessing goals and audiences before developing any media plan. This information is vitally important in assessing how best to spend our clients’ dollars. The goals, audiences and media plan then inform our creative team so that they can develop the best possible creative to make as big of an impact as possible with the budget.
To learn more about our digital marketing process, or see how S&B can help you fine tune your digital media strategy and creative, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to talk strategy!