Digital Marketing Recommendations for 2017 and Beyond

Changing Trends and Technologies Warrant Updated Plans and Budgets

Part 3 of 3 in 2017 Digital Marketing Series

All these trends and changes may seem daunting, but you can achieve improved efficiencies and results in 2017 by following these simple recommendations.

1. Reassess Your Current Digital Marketing
This might best be performed with the help of a digital plan strategy consultant qualified to review your current digital assets and programs to identify gaps and opportunities you may not see. This assessment might include a review of your content, search engine rankings, social media presence, rankings compared to key competitors, hardware and software capabilities, data collection and reporting, and marketing programs. You want a written report of insights and actionable recommendations for building a more comprehensive program.

2. Update Your Digital Strategic Plan
Ideally, this is not budget-driven, based on what and where you spent your digital budget the year before, but should be data-driven, based on what performed best. Digital marketing channels provide performance measurement and accountability that traditional media cannot. New, easier to use, data analytics programs can yield enormous insights from your various data, including real-time campaign performance metrics. When changing consumer behavior trends and data-driven insights are implemented into an updated strategy plan, more efficient tactics, platforms and channels can be identified to deliver more significant, measured outcomes.

Again, a qualified, outside digital strategy consultant can work with your team to discover new opportunities and help determine appropriate budget proportions for each digital marketing channel and tactic (content marketing, search, social, ad placement, retargeting, analytics and reporting, etc.) Do not be timid about moving budgets from traditional media you have “done forever” to more impactful and measurable digital options. The digital world is where empowered consumers now spend most of their time.

3. Rebalance the Fundamentals
Before you go off on exciting new marketing ventures like a Virtual Reality campaign (which definitely has a valuable role for travel and tourism marketers and others), first do a GOOD job of the fundamental tactics that drive most consumers to you – web site content and search, email, and social media.

You want to continually rebalance your efforts in these fundamental areas based on measured performance. Do you need to budget more for social media marketing than Google keywords? Which digital campaigns performed better? Is our CRM program effective? Does our content perform across all mobile platforms and devices? Is ad re-targeting effective?

Answering these questions and updating your fundamental tactics are important. It also underscores the value of implementing a data collection, measurement, analytics, and reporting program into your marketing program as soon as possible, so you have performance quantified metrics for assessing and improving your results and return on investment and an easy to understand report for your stakeholders.

4. Integrate New Options and Technologies
We have observed that adapting to change is hard for many marketers, because of the perceived difficulty and uncertainty. But, changes in technology and consumer trends are significant enough now to warrant new strategies, tactics, and investments. Acknowledging and adapting to changing consumer trends and using newer technologies boost the effectiveness of your marketing programs; and improving reporting to teams and stakeholders increases your credibility, transparency, importance, and value.

New digital technologies are driving leapfrog innovations in productivity and profits in what is being called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Investigate and give this serious consideration.

Inaction in today’s fast-changing world is increasingly risky. Outside research and marketing consultants may make your internal change process easier. Whatever you do, be open to change. Remember, Change is the New Normal.

5. Budget for Changes
Few organizations can afford to do all the marketing and technology investments they want. But you CAN start updating now, and consider a 3 to 5 year plan and budget to meet the goals that an updated assessment can reveal. The key is to accept that changes are accelerating and action is required.

We believe that one of the best new investment today’s marketers can make is in a data management and analytics program. This one step provides much greater analytics, insights, reporting, time and cost efficiencies, and helps you score all the data for more efficient assessment and spending in the future.

In addition to budgeting for new technology and new strategies and tactics for responding to evolving trends, be sure to allow budget for contingencies, unexpected disruptions. We live in disruptive times, and especially in an instantaneous news cycle fueled by increasingly influential social media, businesses must have a plan to respond quickly to unexpected events.

We have helped clients deal with unexpected emergency response communications to events like devastating fires, hurricanes, active shooters, economic downturns, viruses, and other unplanned events. Have a contingency plan ready.

The biggest challenge we see in marketers of all sizes is a hesitancy to embrace the changes that technology innovations and new consumer behavior have forced. We understand this uncertainty. Unfamiliar choices trigger doubt and hesitancy. But when a business can source and consult with a reputable digital advisor to work with their team to identify gaps (they don’t see), recommend appropriate technology solutions (they haven’t used), and construct a strategic plan that executes updated tactics (they haven’t tried), the outcome can be very rewarding.

That’s why our work as business strategy and digital marketing consultants is so satisfying. We get to help make meaningful impact for grateful and loyal clients.

If you would like assistance with assessing where your organization is in today’s automated digital marketing environment and what kind of improvements are right for you, contact us at headquarters@usdm.net. We love to dive into this with brands, whether they are trying to crawl, walk or run.

USDM (Universal Standards for Digital Marketing, LLC) – www.usdm.net is a digital consultancy and marketing services company that delivers innovative strategies by bringing together marketing acumen, creative concepts, industry insights and smart data to transform a client’s business through digital marketing. USDM’s smart data-driven methodology for customer engagement and digital advertising campaign management delivers measured impact in highly competitive marketplaces. USDM works globally from Austin, Texas headquarters. 800.208.8661. Email: headquarters@usdm.net

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