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What Is Online Strategy?


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If I had a nickel for every time I heard the word strategy, I could retire to a remote Island in Hawaii (if you have seen the movie Grumpy Old Men, you know what I thinking). Anyways, this word has become synonymous in the on line marketing arena of late and I think nobody really knows what it entails. Let’s discuss.

Strategy or what I like to call simply "Plan of Action" is an analysis of a client’s needs that could encompass all aspects of the on line marketing channel. For example a typical package would contain:

  • Paid Search (SEM)
  • Organic Search (SEO)
  • Affiliate Marketing (if applicable)
  • Branding (if applicable)
  • Email
  • Blogging
  • WOM (Word of Mouth)
  • Social Media
  • Web Analytics

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Even though this client may not need all of these services, they are all available to everyone with an online presense and the industry folks discussing these ideas to the client need to be highly experienced and have a good understanding of how it all works from idea to tactical implementation with the end goal of setting realized and achievable expectations of success. Moreover, a strategist would do the following:

  1. Analyze a client’s business in both offline & online channels.
  2. Perform an in-depth competitive analysis.
  3. Look for market saturation levels.
  4. Identify key opportunities.
  5. Identify profit/cost margins & calculate successful ROAS% expectations.
  6. Prepare and underatand the client’s seasonality.
  7. Anticipate possible inventory issues (if product).
  8. Prepare for new product pipelines.
  9. Most importantly, know how to package a plan that binds all of these areas together into a clearly defined presentation that not only excites and motivates the client to sign the contract, but enables an even longer business relationship.

However, in most cases, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Let’s discuss….

Typically there are three types of on line marketing experts. (1) Marketing Directors who have a broad understanding of the on line marketplace and experience with offline channels. (2) Hands-on Veterans who have moved up the ladder from doing everything from Affiliate to SEM and email marketing. (3) and if your lucky, you have someone who has achieved success by having the business experience, as well as and "hands-on" experience and has learned all of the hard lessons of trial and error and is up to date with all of the latest trends in the market.

So, it sounds like to me, that #3 would be the best candidate to be a strategist because this person encompasses a better "overall" level of experience. However, then consider the different mindsets and experience of working a "in-house vs. agency" world. At an agency, this person has acquired presentation skills, achieved higher level of multi-tasking and has dealt with the ever popular, dynamic fast paced environment of fire drills. All of these are considered a valued skill set.

On the other hand, an experience employee working "in-house" allows for a deeper understanding of that particular business, the knowledge of wearing multiple hats and most likely has their hands dirty in the day to day grunt work that actually gets results.

To sum it all up, someone with all of these abilities in both "in-house" and "Agency", as well as at least 5-10 years of overall seasoned marketing and Internet experience would be a best bet. The key factor is that even though someone can talk a great strategy over dinner, doesn’t mean they know how it works, nor does it help define an achievable and a successful expectation.

Filed under: Online Strategy

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