Though tactics change, strategy remains
Though tactics change, strategy remains
Digital marketing can be an effective tactic, but only if you know how – and why – you’re using it.

When it comes to marketing, digital has changed the world so much that it’s become the world. And while many people still think of digital and traditional marketing as separate, this is no longer the reality. 

It’s easy to over-analyse and overstate the significance of individual types of marketing: methods such as SEO or social media. It’s this level of scrutiny that often leads to blanket statements like “SEO is dead” or “nobody’s using Facebook anymore”. However, this is like making a call on how successful a boutique will be, based on one of its window displays. It might be the best (or worst) display in the world, but if your shop is in completely the wrong location, it’ll make very little difference either way. 

Many practices are fixated on the tactics they should be using to win sales, to the extent that dental marketing has become more about promotion than brand, with everyone looking the same and shouting the same thing. But instead of getting caught up in the finer details, we need to take things right back to the upper-level basics. Crucially, this means considering strategy (where I will play, and how I will win) before tactics (the means and assets through which I’ll achieve that win).

In marketing terms, strategy usually comes down to three key questions:

  • Which target segment am I chasing?
  • What is the position I want to adopt with them?
  • What is my objective with that target?

What you’ll notice here is that none of these all-important questions is directly associated with digital marketing. Targeting is about people, positioning is about benefits, and objectives are about behaviour. Any brand that can answer all of these questions is well on the way to having a decent marketing strategy.

To begin with, this means considering market orientation: spending time looking at the business from a customer’s point of view. Fundamentally, this is about setting aside any assumptions and preconceived ideas that you may have about your audiences and how they see your brand.

In marketing, as in life, you can’t win ’em all, and realising that you don’t need to can be a liberating thing. Once you’ve established which audience you’re targeting, you can more readily consider their particular needs and pain points. From here, it’s easier to think about the position you want to take. This helps you to highlight your differences, but more than this, it helps you to communicate your value, both financially and emotionally.

As you go on, ask yourself what the main steps are from someone not knowing you exist to becoming a loyal customer. What would that journey look like, and what would you like them to do? For instance, people are much more likely to choose you for a new service if there’s already a level of brand awareness. Taking them on a journey, from initial awareness to sales, will therefore be far more effective than attempting to jump in halfway with cold sales.

It’s only when a strategic framework has been established that the question of digital marketing comes into play, as you can begin to consider the tactics you might use to implement your strategy. Despite the manifest ways that the digital realm has altered marketing, the strategic game remains the same; it’s the tactical players that have changed. Sure, these players might be in the majority now, but you still need to decide how, when, and why you will play them.

Marketing has been transformed, and transformed utterly, by the digital deviation. At a tactical level our discipline is barely recognisable from the one that started the new century. But on the strategic plane, it’s very much business as usual. Thanks to digital, we have fabulous new marketing tools to play with, but the age-old questions of marketing – insight, creativity, positioning, engagement and, ultimately, effect – remain as annoyingly elusive as ever.

If you’d like help with establishing your marketing strategy, and the tactics you might use to make it happen, get in touch with our team.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Luc Wade Marketing Director
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