Businesses don’t need a digital strategy in 2018

Businesses don't need a digital strategy in 2018

Some businesses are truly amazing. They are profitable, they grow every year, they retain staff and attract new ones, they deliver a great product or service to their clients, and guess what? They don’t do digital!

We run into these businesses all the time. The way they have done it for the last ten years is the way they will do it for the next 10. The metrics are all pointing in the right direction, so why would they change?

What is really interesting is that these businesses are often in some of the most established competitive sectors; IT and telecoms, the energy sector, professional services including HR and Legal, Insurance… the list goes on! These are all markets which are tough to build a reputation in, and even harder to innovate in.

But these companies are doing it! They are running a smooth ship, winning new business and keeping clients really happy.

These companies invest heavily in sales and account management, they network, they build reputations based on solid service. Often, they are very established players, and are even considered industry leaders! You can’t take it away from them: They are great businesses!

What is interesting is how they do marketing. These great companies will often have a fixed budget for marketing. Budgets that the marketing director is never happy with, but isn’t in a position to argue with. The company budgets for events, sending brochures to clients, the head count in the marketing team, someone to look after their website and bottles of wine for their top 20% of clients. On top of that, they will budget a fixed amount for ‘digital’… whatever that is. This digital budget will normally be a small percentage of their overall marketing spend (though the marketing director can’t move other budgets easily) and is pushed towards ‘Google’ or ‘SEO’. ‘Social’ has to be dealt with by a young person on the team… because ‘young people get social media’… right?

What we (and these great companies) don’t see is how much money they are leaving on the table…

If you are a company owner, CEO, COO, or FD, here are the questions to be asking yourself (and your marketing director!)

1. What is the cost of acquiring customers from our top 5 channels of marketing? (And can you prove it?!)
2. Have I seen a marketing plan and budget for 2018 that has review points in – where budgets can be scaled based on successful customer acquisition?
3. Have I given marketing enough discretion on where their budgets is spent – and if so, have they been able to show what it produced?
4. Can you tell me how we can tap into our unknown market? (and is Digital where their all hanging out?) What is the potential CPA from Digital? – 3 is the lucky number…

If you are marketing director these are the questions you need to be asking yourself (and maybe your FD and CEO!):
1. How are you measuring performance? Is this guiding your decision making on where to invest in 2018?
2. Have you agreed that you can increase overall spend on marketing activities if you can prove it is profitable? What metrics do you need to show the Financial Director to evidence profitability? Have you and your FD booked in time quarterly to review?
3. Are you spending money in some places just because it’s worked in the past?

No one disputes that digital is important for business growth. Very few would suggest that you can start a new company without ‘digital’… So, if some of the above applies to you or you can’t answer all of the questions with a confidence, why not challenge yourselves to see if Digital marketing can make a positive contribution in 2018?

Here is how to do it….