DIGITAL MARKETING PLANNING GUIDE 2018.
To the man who doesn’t know where he is going, every direction is the right direction.
The much talked about 2018 is finally here, and with it comes new goals, directions, KPIs and benchmarks that need to be achieved to take your brand to the next level.
Here’s how brands tend to do this every single year;
- We start the year with a bang,
- We fizzle out as the year progresses.
- Finally, towards the end of the year, we try to end with a bang again.
Does that sound like your marketing pattern?
Now don’t get me wrong, if there is a strong strategy to it, then, by all means, go ahead. However, it is my experience that a lot of brands tend to adopt these self-repeating patterns with what we call a spray and pray approach – with a limited rationale for the selection of timeframe, platform selection, ad format, content type etc.
If you are about to develop a digital strategy for your brand in 2018, here are 7 things to think about:
The hunger for video in Nigeria is inexhaustible, and will only increase in 2018.
Whether the goal is lead generation, follower acquisition, or good old consumer engagement, the best campaigns in 2017 were campaigns that had video baked into the fabric of the campaign, not just having video as icing on the cake. We believe this will carry on much stronger into 2018.
- Content Creation/Curation: A number of brands pioneered the creation of content, particularly video content over the past year, leading to enhanced engagement.
However, the cost of producing video content at scale can run up the tab quickly. So brands tend to start the production of these videos but have to stop at some point, for budget reasons.
nonetheless, we have identified another route, which is easier, more affordable, and still drives the same marketing objectives. We call it the “Wine Critic Model”.
To better understand this, let’s examine the world of fine wines for a bit. There are 2 stakeholders in the wine industry that are the most powerful decision influencers for consumers all over the world. They are:
- The Wine Producer:
- The wine producer designs, produces, and distributes the wines/content to consumers worldwide, but he/she is best at educating the consumer about that particular piece of wine that he/she produces.
This is where 99% of brands fall. In this model, brands tend to create as much new content as possible, to help educate their consumers, and nudge them to a decision.
Because the brand controls the content production process end-to-end, it can be as brand focused as it wants to be.
- The Wine Critic:
The wine critic on the other hand, has no production capabilities, but rather shares his/her opinions on the content of others. This route enables the critic to amass a following of people who trust his/her opinions, and can take actions recommended by the wine critic.
This is the model that we advocate in 2018. It is easier to curate content than to create, so is it also easier to build trust with this model.
However there is a caveat: you must pitch less, and educate more. Think of an 85% (Education) – 15% (Selling) split.
- Always on Campaigns:
In our experience, it is usually more effective to launch campaigns with a consistent scope and budget over a prolonged period of time, than to break them into highs and lows during the year.
however, we always recommend that you break your digital marketing budgets into 2 main pockets:
- Always on
For always on, you should focus on acquiring followers, engaging consumers, and acquiring leads.
For campaigns, you can be as specific as you need to be. This allows you to build campaigns that can build momentum in certain parts of the year, but also ensure that you are never silent at any point during the year.
- Testing & Optimization:
Most brands NEVER do this. We always recommend that you set aside no less than 10% of your annual digital marketing budget for testing.
You can test ad creatives, copy, targeting options, ad formats, platforms, software e.t.c, the list goes on and on. You need to adopt a culture of testing in 2018.
With constant testing and optimization, you can 2X or 3x the impact of your campaign this year.
- Create Linking Campaigns:
We have found that, by creating campaigns whose themes relate to one another, each campaign tends to gain a little extra momentum from the previous campaign, and it creates a consistent flow in messaging in the minds of the consumer.
6 Launch KYC Campaigns:
Finally, we believe that brands need to invest up to 15% of their digital budgets to launch consumer feedback and survey campaigns.
We need to start building an ongoing knowledge base about our consumers, those other competitors can’t easily replicate.
Develop hundreds of questions and surveys, use survey tools to randomize and serve them to consumers.
Run this on an always-on basis, and soon the true insights will start coming in. These insights will form the basis of your next set of campaigns for the year.
To develop your 2018 strategy document: here is an 11-step approach:
- Identify and establish in clear, certain terms, your digital marketing objectives for 2018.
- Develop and outline your metrics and KPIs, that you intend to track, as an indicator of where you stand in relation to your goals for the year.
- Outline your review calendar for the year. we advocate weekly reviews, as it gives the team plenty of time to change directions if necessary.
- Redefine your actual target audience(s). This should be broken down into demographics, location, psychographics and online activity. It should be data-driven, not opinion driven.
- Review last year’s digital activity. What was your best campaign and why? what was your most engaged social post, platform or content format? What communication theme did your consumers engage with the most? This will definitely throw some light into what this year should look like.
- Examine the landscape. What brand in your category developed the most engaging campaign, and what can you learn from it?
- List your campaign ideas for 2018. With campaign ideas, more isn’t always better. execution is everything. It is best to cut down on 3-4 ideas for the year, and take your time and execute ruthlessly.
- Analytics – What tools are you using to measure your outlined KPIs? Don’t be cheap in selecting a good tool. It will pay for itself many times over.
- Campaign execution – Are you executing in-house, hiring a consultant, or hiring an agency? Find the best fit for your business, and go to work.
In our experience, most brands do not have the operational expertise to launch digital campaigns end to end, and as a result, have to outsource to a digital agency.
We recommend hiring a digital agency to execute, but your metrics have to be spelt out, and the agency commits to some of it in a contractual agreement.
Your analytics process, however, should be in the hands of the brand team, so you can monitor, measure and optimize as needed.
- Costing: Now it’s time to put Naira or Dollar figures to these deliverables. Develop 3 costing plans: aggressive, moderate and minimum. They should each feature KPIs that are proportional to their costs. This will help you sell better to management, so they can make a more informed decision.
- Rollout plan – You need to list out every single deliverable needed to launch this plan. Break these deliverables into chunks and send to the major stakeholders, requesting for their input on timeframes for their own parts in the process.
Collate all these information into a document and send to all stakeholders for approval or modification. Develop the final document into a contractual agreement, and have the stakeholders sign and commit to it.
Another approach is to break them into quarters, and develop full plans for the quarters, that they all commit to.
And that’s it, folks! Get your strategy right, so you can get your campaigns right, and in turn, get your objectives achieved in 2018. Hope this helps you in some way this year.
Would you like some help with developing a full digital strategy for your brand? We offer a service called a Digital Discovery & Roadmap Strategy that helps our clients develop a hand in glove strategy for their business.
Hope this helps.