Building your Digital Strategy for Execution | Perspective

Just continuing from where I left in my previous post

And I want to begin this post by quoting the legendary Sun Tzu:

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” 

Whether you are a digital marketing manager or a Digital Strategist working for an agency, this post is to remind you the importance of digital execution.

For now, lets just go back to the most fundamental questions.

Do we really need a digital strategy?

And if we really need one, when do we know that it’ll work?

One of my personal learning after pitching digital to clients globally is that any digital strategy is nothing but a powerless, pointless presentation till the time is executed.

Why Digital Strategies Fail?

Why Digital Strategy Fail

According to a C-level survey conducted by EIU, close to 1/3rd of the C-level executives believe that “lack of project management skills lead to failure in the strategy implementation.

As a marketer or a digital agency, we don’t realise that a strategy is not really a thing till we have a person and a team who could bring it to life.

Merely a bold vision & mission statement for your digital marketing at the beginning of every financial year is not sufficient till we really have a roadmap to work towards.

Perspective to Digital Strategy Execution

Tactics vs Digital Strategy

I quoted Sun Tzu in the beginning for a very specific reason, he mentioned about the importance of tactics in strategy, and often many digital marketing teams mis-interpret campaign tactics as digital strategy.

Honestly, there is a very thin line of difference.

In many problems, execution strategy is the real strategy itself. For example, if an e-commerce client is using Google search & Facebook in their marketing plans, it can’t be called as a “Digital Strategy”, as there is no rocket science there. Whereas, how you choose to use audience targeting & Re-targeting in Search and Social is the real “digital strategy”. ( Also Read: Difference between Targeted & Re-Targeted Ads )

Digital Strategy and Measurability

Any strategy without a measurable goal is like a shuttle without an orbit in an endless space.

In fact, I am one of the firm believers that the strategic process should complete, only after you have identified the most relevant metrics. Metrics lends a purpose and a stress test for your brand’s marketing efforts.

Every piece in your digital strategy can focus on pushing your brand closer to the metric, otherwise you might end up doing a thousand things but still would not find out its relevance or impact to your brand.

Digital Strategy and Technology

Top marketing challenges

According to hubspot research, close to 1/4th of the marketers say that ‘Identifying the right technology’ is a major hurdle.

Remember, nothing in this digital world can be executed without keeping your focus on its technology implications during the strategy process.

Your digital strategy is as good as nothing if you have not thought about every technical nuance related to your idea.

In fact, most of the digital strategies today are “technology first“.

Understanding of technology could well be the deciding differentiator between the usual and staying ahead of the curve.

Digital Execution

Even the best of the digital strategy would fail if the person or the team (agency) is not competent to create its roadmap.

Pritchard’s speech (from P&G) was a wake up call to the entire digital agency fraternity, that things are not going in the right direction. While digital has grown at an exponential pace, but very few agencies have understood on how to integrate the solution for the brand.

When it comes to digital as a medium, below are some of the common challenges faced by all CMOs:

  • How to take the brand philosophy in the digital media without compromising brand safety & relevance?
  • How to measure the impact of digital advertising dollars on the brand?
  • Why do we need so many agencies / vendors to land one single solution?
  • Why there is such a huge talent gap between the strategy and execution teams in digital agencies?

 

Ad Viewability – a boon or bane for advertisers?

According to a recent comScore study, 54% of online display ads weren’t seen by anyone, owing to various factors including technical glitches, user habits, and even fraud. For advertisers, that’s a lot of money down the drain. And rightly so, I mean after all we are talking about hard marketing dollars. Some conventional media people might argue that 100% ad viewability is a myth, and honestly, they are not wrong but the advertiser also has a strong point when they ask for maximising the viewable impressions in any campaign.
Let’s open this discussion a bit further. 
Terms like ad viewability brings a set of common problems along with it, most common is what we call in digital as Measurability (or “obsessive measurability”). It is true that digital has given the power & tools to measure each & every nano second of any marketing campaign but at the expense of confusing & cluttering the environment around us. More detailed & in-depth the metric goes, more the number of definitions for the same metric that you would see. Each publisher would come up with their own “convenient” definition of same metric in their reporting.
For any advertiser, finding the correct industry benchmark is always a challenge. For instance, something which is as debatable as Video Completion rate would become a hurdle for agencies & publishers in driving stronger revenue volume / advertiser in the coming years.
Even if the overall mobile & display revenues are seeing a major upswing worldwide, It would be hard to imagine that advertiser would surrender their stand on the key reporting metrics when it comes to Mobile Display or Mobile Video. 
Most importantly, in order to make the client ecosystem more responsive towards new age advertising, agencies & vendors have to sit together along with the bodies like IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) & arrive at common marketing friendly reporting metrics without which it would extremely difficult to win the trust of the advertiser.

To understand this further, watch the below video by Integral Ad Science:

A few months back, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council issued the first viewability standards for online ads. A video ad is viewable if half its pixels appear on the viewer’s screen for two continuous seconds, the standard says.

While that standard seems awfully low, the IAB says that 100 percent viewability isn’t possible at this time. The best that ad buyers should hope for is 70 percent. Good news: Only 30 percent of your paid ads won’t be seen—for the time-being, anyway

The IAB has just released a position paper on viewability calling 2015 a year of transition. Full viewability isn’t currently feasible, the paper says, but we’re getting there. Problems such as different ad units, browsers, ad placements, vendors, and measurement systems prevent 100 percent viewability, but the industry can solve those issues by working together, it says.

You can read the complete article on IAB guidelines for ad viewability here