How to create a digital strategy based on data

Having a strategy for how you are going to grow and market your website, apps and social media is as important for a business as having these platforms in the first place.

In the past we thought of digital strategy as the frequency - say every two years - of overhauling the properties to stay abreast of technology changes and user preferences for consuming content.

Today, a digital strategy should be an ongoing exercise that centres around how to reach, retain and convert customers using data to inform how they consume media on their journey to purchase.

In 2016 Smartinsights ran a survey to see how widely used digital marketing strategies were. Here is what they found:

Organisations with a clearly defined digital marketing strategy

From the chart it's evident that less than 50% of organisations have a clear, integrated digital marketing strategy. But why do you need one?

Smart Insights lists 10 key reasons for a solid digital strategy:

  1. It gives you goals and a direction for your digital marketing efforts
  2. It shows you what your businesses' market share is
  3. It helps you rise above your competitors
  4. It defines your online customer value proposition
  5. It shows you who your customers are
  6. It assists in integrating your online marketing strategy with your overall marketing strategy
  7. It helps you budget for digital marketing
  8. It avoids duplication of marketing tasks
  9. It helps you be agile enough in a rapidly changing environment
  10. It shows you where to optimise when planning site user experience, email and social media marketing, and search marketing.

Using data to develop a digital strategy

Data is everything when it comes to formulating a digital strategy. Standard UX research methods from Google Analytics or other proprietary software can lift out signals of context like geolocation, clickstream behaviour, site-searches, frequency, bounce rate, cookies and campaign referrals.

However, if we want to gain the upper hand in your digital marketing efforts, it's time to start incorporating big data to understand the local or global 'noise' around your business.

Big data is massive data sets that are analysed by computers to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.

Big data (here are some free sources of big data) includes geospatial data, 3D data, audio and video, web browsing patterns, social media interactions, industry forecasts, government records, online transactions, business intelligence reports, etc, and allows companies to collect billions of real-time data points on their products, resources and customers.

It is used to predict future trends, prepare for demand, pinpoint customers, optimise pricing and promotions, and monitor real-time analytics and results. Using big data relevant to your business can reshape your digital strategy in new ways by providing a snapshot of your business in the world, and not only of how users are experiencing your current digital platforms.

For instance, it can tell you where your markets reside, highlight brand sentiment, show you what your competitors are doing and identify advertising and marketing opportunities you never even thought of.

Sources of big data - Mobclix breaks down what happens in a (mobile) 60 seconds (2012)

Mobile in 60 seconds

Once you have all the data for markers that influence your business, you can easily see where you need to improve and start adjusting your digital marketing strategy.


Where to start developing a strategy?

You don’t have to be a data analyst or scientist or employ one to start using big data. There are good tools and platforms out there that enable you to analyse relevant data sets and put them to work for your digital marketing strategy.

Use these alongside a strong content audit of your digital properties to, for instance, target content personas, personalise content delivery, develop distinctive content formats, identify customer pain points and critical journeys, find content gaps and create and share content workflows and marketing processes.

It's the only way your strategy will be based on solid facts, help you to get an in-depth understanding of how users view your business and is what will ensure it stays competitive in the digital marketplace.


We can help

At Indivirtual we have developed a specific Business Model Canvas that consists of nine modules that our strategists use - while working closely with you and other key stakeholders - to develop a thorough understanding of your business and your goals.

Taking best practices across web, mobile and social into account, we help you interpret big data to build a digital strategy that optimises your marketing and makes you truly competitive.

Read more about our Digital Strategy Business Model Canvas