What Is and What Is Not a Digital Performance Strategy?


One of the terms that are often mentioned in digital marketing is digital appearance strategy. Both the clients who hire us and we who deal with marketing know that it is important to have a strategy. From the number of pieces of training we have held on this topic and the number of strategies we have developed for clients, we conclude that the market is mature in this regard. That is a fact that is encouraging. Together, we recognize the importance of a strategic approach to digital marketing. 

That maturity of the market nevertheless reaches the recognition of the importance, while understanding, development, and expectations from the strategy are fields in which marketers have a lot of work to do. What it is not, and what it is a strategy, is not always crystal clear.

First, What Is Not a Digital Performance Strategy

We have been using every opportunity for a long time to exchange opinions and share information on this topic with clients, but also with everyone who mentions that they are engaged in digital marketing. In the market and in practice, “strategy” occurs in various forms and this creates a lot of confusion. The importance of strategy is huge and it has a big impact on business goals. Whether you are a client, a business owner, or someone involved in marketing, the responsibility is very great. How then can you be sure what to expect and how to recognize what is and what is not a strategy?

We can start from what is not. An Instagram or Facebook post plan is not a strategy. It seems clear and logical, but in reality, the posting plan also says “now we’ll make you a strategy for Instagram”. A two-page PDF document done according to the same template for all clients is not a strategy, although it can look very nice. There are various examples of nicely defined, designed, and very concise documents (usually templates) that describe, among other things, the goals, target groups, and even the brand persona. They also describe in general what is being done on which channel. It may seem professional to you, but most often it is not a strategy as it should be.

How Can You Know Whether Something Is a Strategy or Not

Simply ask what the document and everything stated in it are based on. If it is based on the assumptions of the one who wrote, but there is no analysis, no research, no basis – it is clear to you that this is all the ‘shaky ground’ for the appearance of your brand on digital channels. All conclusions and recommendations stated in the strategy must be based on solid foundations and not on assumptions. Creating a strategy requires a lot of time, research, resources, thinking, knowledge of the market and the audience, and knowledge of digital channels. Therefore, it is not something that someone will do for free or in a week. 

All these examples of something called “strategy”, without even being close to it, do not arise from evil intentions, but most often from ignorance. Whether you are a client, agency, consultant, or someone else involved in digital marketing, it will be useful to know what to expect from the strategy, i.e. to know what it really is. In the following text, we will share some useful knowledge and insights on this topic.

What to Expect From the Strategy?

A clear path, a map that leads from the current to the desired position. The strategy defines which are the key messages, through which channels and to which target group we transmit them, which tactics are used, as well as which metrics, and how it is all monitored. However, it should be borne in mind that this map, as we called it, is not carved in stone.

What exactly does that mean? The strategy is a document that is very thorough and comprehensive, much of it is clearly defined by the strategy. After all, it is common knowledge that a strategy is needed for every sphere of digital marketing. So you have to make a strategy even for a newsletter campaign where you have to clearly personalize the list of subscribers for your newsletter via specialized online platforms. The strategy is a document in which the next steps are known. However, at the same time, it is a very lively thing. Circumstances change, both internal and external, so blind adherence to the strategy would carry the same risk as a complete departure from it. 

Such a document should not close the story of the brand, but encourage it to branch, bloom, and take on new forms. That is why the strategy should be considered the basis for upgrading, a compass that will always get you back on the right path to your goals. In addition, this map of the path to achieving the goals is by no means linear, and the development of technology and the opening of new channels of communication increasingly make it a series of complex paths that occasionally touch but lead to the same goals.

Another important thing to keep in mind when developing a strategy is that each strategy is a story in itself. Having templates and copying someone else’s strategy is out of the question here. Templates and copying what others do should be practiced for non-essential parts of digital strategy, such as the company’s website. In this area, there are tried and tested website builders used by many of your competitors; some of these templates’ features and their overall experiences will suit you as well. There are strategic frameworks and several elements that are part of almost every strategy, but it is important that these elements are transcended and be the basis for us in the development of the strategy, not the borders.

Elements (Frameworks)

These frames or elements can be the following:

  1. Analyzes as a first step include analyzes of competition, markets, the brand performance so far, SWOT analysis, and if necessary, surveys and additional research are conducted.
  2. Goals range from business goals to communication goals, while within the segment of the target group, the persons which are targeted are also described.
  3. Further, in relation to the previous steps, the selection of channels and tactics is done, and the communication, its tone and style, and key messages are defined.
  4. Resource allocation. In real circumstances, it happens that the implementation of the strategy is hampered by resources, whether we are talking about hours or budgets for activities.
  5. A similar case is with content production, so this is one of the elements that is included in the strategy. What are the sources of content, opportunities for creation, and content strategies through communication channels?
  6. Finally, when developing the strategy, it should be insisted on setting metrics and dynamics for measuring results.

These are some of the basic elements, and how the strategy will look in the end, depends on many factors.

The Queen’s Gambit

Strategy development is not learned as a matrix. It is learned as a process. At the very beginning of the work on such a project, we ourselves do not know where the conclusions of the analysis and the goals will take us. Just like at the beginning of a game of chess. There are various openings that affect further moves, and moves and tactics, on the very outcome of the party. Depending on whether the opening is the Queen’s Gambit or a Sicilian Defense, you will make further moves and conquer the board. You also strategically conquer the market using different channels, content, and tactics – all based on the conclusion of the analysis and the set goals. The strategy unites all channels and with it, you achieve uniformity of activities, messages, and content that you send to the audience as a brand.

It is important to note that we talked here, first of all, about the strategy of digital appearance, but that the points of contact of the brand with customers are numerous, so although the evolution of communication has led to most of these points online, there are certainly those that are offline. Therefore, every brand needs a holistic approach that actually represents a brand strategy as an umbrella strategy. It determines how the customer perceives the brand, no matter where they encounter it. From the brand strategy arises the marketing strategy, and further the communication strategy, including communication on digital channels. In fact, it is about the further life of the brand created in the brand strategy. It continues to grow, develop, live, and come into contact with the audience through various channels.

Washeen, Head of SEO, has 15+ years in SEO & SEM, enhancing traffic and revenue across industries. Also graduated from Full Sail University for BSc. Web Development & Design.

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