As with buying any insurance policy, it is necessary to first look at the policy from an overarching point-of-view (i.e. buying a combo policy: auto, home owners/renters, life, etc.) before diving into details about individual coverage. The same principle can be applied within digital, as it is important to first inspect the entire digital marketing universe (website, fan page, email) at the macro level before discovering how they all fit together: this is the ultimate focus of this post for Policy #1.
It is key to look at the digital medium as a whole, but while doing so also explore the space through the mind of a consumer. Investigating how each touchpoint is used by consumers will identify the market activity strength for each touchpoint to then map touchpoint performance within four critical dimensions:
• Web equity: Which touchpoint is most trustworthy?
• Pre-purchase research: Which touchpoint is relied on for product research?
• Post-purchase support: Where do consumers go for customer service support?
• Relationship building: Which platform is best suited to maintain the interest in ongoing brand communications?
Only through this process does the role of each touchpoint become clear, taking into account how the consumer is interacting with and conceptualizing each one. From there, each touchpoint is assigned an objective or task to carry out within the broader media mix.
The results in the chart above show that the influencing power of the brand website leads other touchpoints by an expansive margin. This is true even when revisiting the “dot com boom” and still in this exact moment; yet Social Media still dominates the mindshare of marketers today.
As shown in the example, Social Media typically performs well in the relationship building dimension, but does not for any others. This is critical to understand when building brand objectives, as it is important not to assign an unachievable task to the fan page such as customer service or product support priorities. So what this exercise tells us is that if you prefer to use Social Media, associated strategies should be built out by looking at the ideologies of consumers (which reveal that it should be used only to develop and maintain customer relationships).
This exercise is essential when creating a placement plan that hits with a relevant reach, relevant message and relevant strategy to improve ROI. Once this is established and a formidable plan begins to form that will improve digital marketing ROI, related decisions will satisfy the main challenges with rising confidence that should free up digital budgets. This is just the first insurance policy of three (to be discussed in subsequent posts) that will make the days of “CYOA” soon a relic of the past.