Why you probably don’t need a digital marketing strategy

Dave Chaffey, over at his Smart Insights site, has posted a neat summary this morning of 5 reasons why you don’t—and 10 reasons why you do—need a digital marketing strategy (DMS).

In my experience, there’s one common reason why some companies still need a DMS: if your marketing approach is still stuck in the pre-digital era or you’ve merely dabbled in digital platforms without notable success, a DMS can help you improve in a controlled and measurable way. It can help you assess the relative costs of traditional versus digital techniques and channel your focus onto those approaches which best serve your business goals.

Here’s how I see it. If your marketing focus is from 70-100% traditional (i.e. pre-digital era) then you may benefit right now from developing a dedicated Digital Marketing Strategy:

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing continuum

If, however, you’ve been testing and learning, piloting and refining your use of digital marketing channels over a few years, the need for a standalone DMS may well have passed. In this case, digital marketing probably accounts for 30-100% of your focus and you’re more likely to benefit from a Marketing Optimisation Strategy to tailor your marketing mix to the unique needs of your organisation and chase out further cost efficiencies.

Of course, there’s a real danger of over-simplifying the challenges in a short blog post like this. Every business is different and every set of customers responds differently to marketing stimuli. And there’s no recommended mix split between traditional and digital marketing techniques; every business has its own specific solution.

But I do believe the days of companies uniformly churning out an annual Digital Marketing Strategy may soon be behind us. After all, as Dave rightly points out, “increasingly digital marketing is marketing.”