What is that saying…what is old is often new again? Well consider “Digital Strategy”, which was formerly in place about a decade ago as the way to approach the Internet, a topic that fits that old adage perfectly. In 2011, digital strategies are back and better than ever. Forward-thinking companies who are now embracing this old method are reaping great rewards. Companies who are stuck managing digital tactics are finding that their landscape is changing quickly and that results are getting more difficult to obtain.
So, what exactly is the difference between the two concepts?
A digital strategy is a complete idea – a conceptualization of how your online marketing goals can work together to achieve a goal. Say you want to increase your traffic by 100,000 visitors, for example, you would then derive an overarching online marketing strategy that could help you complete this goal.
A digital tactic is an action you take to execute the digital strategy. Participating in Social Media or Search Engine Optimization, for example as ways to help you reach your stated traffic goals above.
Start with your goals first, then strategy, then tactics.
A fundamental shift is occurring online. Call it the Google-fication of the web, if you will. But more and more these days, you cannot fool your way to the top of the search engines, regardless of how good your tactics are working. If you have a crappy website, a crappy offer, and/or provide crappy service your website will simply not rank high on Google Google, in fact, is now pulling information from review sites like Yelp and does not rank websites at the top that have poor quality scores. Everybody, including Google, is looking for a high-quality experience and the web (more and more) is giving a full transparency for consumers. This is why it is now mission critical to get back to marketing basics – goal setting and strategy – before you work on the tactical side.
Most marketers I know have been living off of marketing tactics for years. If you wanted a top position in Google, for example, you simply had to optimize your website, build links, and watch your traffic soar. Little attention was paid to the on-page experience of your customers. Nowadays, the entire experience of your customers matter.
I actually embrace this change back to the basics. I believe the shift will benefit marketing companies and agencies and will shake out all of the tactical companies that do not understand the first thing about a target market or a SWOT Analysis.
I, for one, am glad that we are heading back to the future.