Planning Ahead – Looking at 2013 Digital Strategy

Jon Schepke had a post this week on Search Engine Watch titled, “2013 Digital Strategy Best Practices for Your Business“. I shared this one on both Reader and Twitter and wanted to write a bit more about it.

Schepke states, “The problem with these soaring investments is that they hint at a potentially huge problem in the marketing departments of brands across the globe. While spend grows fast within channels, most brands still fail to take a holistic approach to managing digital marketing, and that causes gaping inefficiencies.”

To me, the core problem is that digital is so dynamic that big companies have trouble keeping up with the changes. My biggest challenge in the enterprise is to first keep up with what each product team is wanting to do in digital, and then to address short term needs, while building toward a long-term solution.

For me long-term is finding a solution that first, can be utilized across products, sales groups, and businesses; two, helps close the loop from anonymous browser to customer; and three, can be reported on.

At the core to making this happen is a centralized, unified, structured, data source. Schepke hits on this as well, though from a slightly different perspective (display advertising) than I often take (marketing content and assets), but we’re on the same page none-the-less.

I’ve spent the better part of this year planning and organizing data for a Drupal implementation. The goal is to organize our product data in a way that would not only drive our Web site, but also be available for the rapid development of mobile applications and to serve as the structure for a Digital Asset Management System.

He also ends strong addressing the need to work across silos. Within my medical group I have to work with Regulatory Affairs, Sales Operations, Market Research, Marketing, PR, Trade Shows, Education/Training, Service/Repair, and traditional Marketing Communications. I also have to work with ITS and our in-house agency along with outside vendors.

The more I reach out across some of these ‘non-marketing’ areas, the more I find we can help one another by leveraging technology to support either our field sales or end customers.

The open and ubiquitous nature of digital is expanding marketing and forces the traditional marketer to think more about communications of all kinds. The outside world doesn’t see your company by internal divisions, so don’t present yourself based on them. Work together. Simple to say, difficult to enact.

I think the most important part of Digital Strategy in such a rapidly changing environment is to actually pull back and think strategically. You can’t allow yourself to get stuck in a tactical keeping up with the Jones’ approach to marketing. Be sure that you have a strategy, an approach to implementing it, and a means to measure success.

What do you think?

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