Digital marketing, like traditional marketing, is most effective when you “look before you leap.” In other words, consider goals and objectives, and then focus on necessary tactics, not the other way around. Sounds straightforward, I know, a real no-brainer, but you’d be surprised.

Many digital marketers are more about selling tactics—aka “services”—rather than selling what most businesses want, which is to achieve desired outcomes, whether that’s boosting sales, driving revenue, raising awareness, generating web traffic, or any combination thereof.

While it’s a given that most marketing strategies these days are likely to contain website-related activities and social media, by necessity, what’s not a given is what the right mix is for your specific goals.

Digital marketing is not just posting content to a blog, sharing on social media, and/or making showy apps for smartphones and tablets. Yes, these things can be very important, but they are not the end-all, be-all.

For this King Monkey, it all goes back to “Marketing 101.” You must first consider your target audience.

  • Are they tech savvy, eager to embrace digital media, or do they prefer more traditional methods of gathering information and reacting to it? (It may be that your audience is 100% one way or the other; but it also may be that a mix of approaches is most beneficial in reaching them.)
  • Does your product or service lend itself to a physical setting or event vs. a virtual presence, such as a webinar or online forum? Or perhaps your audience will be best attracted with a combination of digital outreach (through social media for example) promoting an in-person event.

By now, you’re probably seeing my point. There’s no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter marketing solution, digital or otherwise.

Every business has unique goals, unique needs, and unique target buyers with specific touch points that will compel them to learn more about, discuss, and (ultimately) buy your particular product or service. Trust me, what works for one business won’t necessarily work for another in just the same way. Marketing is not a monkey-see, monkey-do proposition. It doesn’t have to be, and it shouldn’t be.

My advice is to look before you leap. Develop an overall marketing strategy that’s heavy on digital (because, let’s face it, these are the times we live in) and that most importantly supports your company’s overall mission and goals—making you stand out from your competitors in the hearts and minds of your target customers. Exactly how you go about implementing this strategy and achieving your goals (in other words the “tactics” you use) should always follow a thorough phase of assessing, planning, and strategizing.

Simple right?

And don’t forget one of the most critical steps for executing your plan: measuring your success against certain benchmarks or milestones to ensure you’re reaching your audience and your goals. When there’s a scorecard of how you’re doing, it’s much easier to identify what’s working or not working and adjust strategy and tactics as needed.

No one likes a sad monkey. Don’t end up wondering, “Where’d all my time and resources go?” and “Where’s my return on investment?”

The Importance of Planning – Dilbert Style

Digital Marketing Success: The 10 Questions You Must Answer

You can get help with the Barrel O’Monkeyz “Digital Marketing Success: The 10 Questions You Must Answer” white paper in PDF format. It’s full of ideas and resources you can start using right away. Just drop me a line at [email protected] and I’ll see that you get a copy.

Paul June is King Monkey of BARREL O’ MONKEYZ, a full-service digital media and marketing group specializing in more creativity, ideas, and fun for action sports marketing, sportswear marketing, sports product marketing, active lifestyle consumer products, health product marketing, and brands in San Diego and Southern California.