Philipp Schaetz

November 8, 2020

Digital marketing increasingly takes into account who an organization is, what it does and how it grows. As a result, a digital marketing strategy is becoming more and more integrated into the overall marketing strategy of a company. But even in these digital times, it would be a mistake not to plan digital marketing as an independent unit.

While all marketing has a digital layer, all digital marketing comprises more than what is obvious in traditional marketing. That's why we have compiled a complete guide to building a powerful digital marketing strategy. We will cover what digital marketing is, what key elements it encompasses and how to get started.


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A digital marketing strategy defines how a company can achieve its business objectives through digital channels, platforms and mindsets. It sets clear goals, prioritizes target groups, identifies customer needs and behavior, and details channel usage and platform requirements. In simple terms, it outlines how you plan and work digitally to remain relevant over the long term.

Digital marketing intersects not only with branding and CRM, but also with user experience (UX), customer experience (CX) and customer care:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) embed a brand into the product experience.
The content strategy includes not only traditional marketing assets, but all content that can be levers for growth.
Digital innovation creates new services, products and experiences - things that are actually worth marketing.


In our work with clients from various industries and markets, we have identified the seven steps required to develop a modern digital marketing strategy.

Determine the potential
The status quo has changed, and a digital approach to customers is crucial to present yourself in the market in a contemporary, competitive and attractive way. Which channels do your customers use to get in touch with you? What are your competitors doing to drive change through digitalization? How relevant is your brand and how many incoming leads have been converted into sales? If you don't know that, you are probably already behind.

Define the role of digital marketing
How does digital marketing contribute to business? This should not be a mere enumeration of marketing goals, but rather a thoughtful vision and a series of conscious decisions that show what digital marketing can and should do for the business.

Make sure you recognize the relationship that digital marketing has with related elements in your ecosystem, which often include Brand, data, marketing, content, CX, UX, CRM, support/customer care, product innovation and media. By simply writing down what's at stake and what opportunities are available, you can quickly set your focus. Based on this assessment, you can then develop key performance indicators (KPIs) that clearly communicate to your management team how digital technology is impacting the business.

Understand your target groups and buying personas.
Create meaningful digital profiles (what they want, how they behave, how to deal with them and who else they interact with), map the customer journey in detail and identify touch points and interactions throughout the customer journey. These profiles often start with traditional segmentation, but you need to go further to identify behavior, interactions and content, functionality and experience needs.

For many customers, especially in B2B, digital profiles are not necessarily about who exactly the customers are, but rather about what the target audience is trying to solve. Goals versus roles. If you do this early on, you will know the customer needs and can adjust your goals accordingly to meet them.

Take an Omni-Channel Approach
Create a modern Omni-Channel strategy by leveraging and activating key channels such as search platforms, the Web, social media and email. Consider social media as a sales driver, not just a media or customer care channel. How can social media be used to achieve your business goals?

Be clear about search. Can the inclusion of organic or paid search engine optimization (SEO / SEA) help build brand credibility, drive web traffic or fend off competitors?

Rethink the Internet. Is your website positioned to attract, retain and convert leads? Are you effectively cultivating former, existing or potential customers with email or marketing automation platforms?

Identify the resources you need
Use all of the above information to determine what you need to implement to achieve this digital marketing strategy - including headcount, budget and your marketing technology system (platforms, APIs, services and data integration points).

Create policies and playbooks for people (roles, responsibilities and skills), processes and tools. Many companies do not pay enough attention to this governance, but it is necessary so that people know their role and how they contribute to the success of the program. If you are a global or complex company, you also need to establish "market segments" so that local leaders can see where they are and understand what it takes to grow in a new direction.

Create a roadmap for implementing the digital marketing strategy
Organize and prioritize initiatives in a roadmap that guides you from strategy to execution, even if it is staggered over six, twelve and 24 months. Don't be too slow or too careful, don't wait for annual planning cycles; be ready and agile when alternative scenarios are available. Organizational digital transformation can take time, but marketing should be the driving force and ready to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

Support the digital transformation of your business
Find out how digital marketing can go beyond the efficient execution of its daily work and act as a powerful lever and accelerator in this new era. Be it by using creativity in story telling, innovative digital services, or the ability to use the voice of the customer to influence media spending, uncover engagement opportunities and discover new target groups.


Building a digital marketing strategy that encompasses all seven of the above items will give your digital team - and management - a clear understanding of how digitization can impact your business, plans on how best to achieve this, and appropriate measures to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts.

If digital transformation is a priority for your organization, you will certainly need some strategy and execution experts to help you create your digital strategy, identify opportunities for digital disruption, or promote digital transformation in your organization.

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