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How To Structure and Plan Your Digital Marketing Strategy in 2021

Here’s what you need to set goals, know your audience, and measure success for an effective digital marketing plan.

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A good digital marketing plan should start with a solid understanding of your brand and its value to your audience. It should set priorities for short-, mid-, and long-term business goals and articulate a well-defined path to achieving them. While a digital marketing plan is primarily meant to organize your marketing team, it should also be cross-functional and incorporate the work, milestones, and objectives of other teams, and align with the organization as a whole.

2020 brought a global pandemic that shifted the way we live and work, and created unprecedented obstacles. What does that mean for 2021? Marketing professionals need to reflect on what we’ve learned and set themselves up for success. How can you create a marketing plan that works? We’ve got a few ideas.

Here are some areas to focus on to help structure your digital marketing plan for 2021.These tactics, architectures, and methodologies will help ensure your plan is clear, actionable, and measurable. Most importantly, your digital marketing plan will set you up for success in 2021 and beyond.

Set goals for your digital marketing plan

Structurally speaking, your plan should include three levels of detail:

  • Goals. These should be meaningful and aligned with larger business objectives. To set the right goals for your team, use a methodology like the S.M.A.R.T method (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant and Time-based).
  • Strategy. This is the topline approach to how you’ll try to achieve those goals. Break down your annual objectives into achievable and stretch quarterly milestones.
  • Tactics. These are the specifics about how you’ll execute your strategy.  

Another methodology is the V2MOM method, a Salesforce acronym for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures. This method was developed by our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Marc Benioff, and it is used by our organization to drive company alignment. If you’re curious about creating organizational alignment in your own business, learn how to do it by taking the V2MOM Trail on Salesforce’s free learning platform, Trailhead.  

Regardless of how you set your goals, you should take the time to set strategic priorities. While you may want to achieve them all, not every goal should have the same weight or importance to your team.

Lastly, check in with your goals often. Use a data visualization tool, preferably one with a dashboard where you can see all of your KPIs at a glance. This will help you easily see how to attribute success to specific efforts so you can focus more on what works.

Create personas of your audience, and act on them

Once you’ve established your overall goals and tactics for the year, it’s time to shift your focus to your audience. Who are you speaking to? What do they want to hear? What problems can you solve for them?

A well-planned digital strategy should incorporate what you know about your audiences’ wants, needs, and behaviors. How do they like to interact with your brand? What do they rely on you for? What do they need to move forward at various points in the buying process? Segmentation is key to creating targeted activations that connect in a meaningful way and drive action with specific cohorts within your audience.

Strong data visualization tools help spot trends that let you form educated assumptions about your audience.

Develop and make use of user personas to help you understand your audience better. These profiles combine demographic and psychographic information about different segments of your audience to create more specific target segments. Strong data visualization tools help spot trends that let you form educated assumptions about your audience. When combined with broader market research, this information can help you craft these profiles.

User personas can also help tailor your content strategies to connect with specific audiences in ways that are meaningful to them. Your messaging, the channels you use, how often you communicate, and even when – these can all be informed by a digital marketing plan that uses strong segmentation and the right reporting tools. You’ll learn more about your audiences over time. And as you do you’ll be able to make your efforts even more relevant.

Measure the success of your digital marketing plan, and learn from it

To evaluate your plan and its efficacy, make sure you’re looking at the right metrics. Analyze your data and look for trends. Do you understand the KPIs? While conversions are the ultimate goal, understanding your audience’s full ecosystem of actions and behaviors will allow you to reach success. The more granular you can get with your reporting, the more insight you’ll have. With the right data visualization tools, you will easily be able to see if you’re reaching your objectives.

Doing business under COVID-19 has taught us that adjusting with agility and grace is essential. Your digital marketing plan is a roadmap for success that requires some flexibility; a plan that’s too rigid becomes irrelevant fast. While we can’t yet predict what lessons we’ll learn this year, with the right plan in place, we’ll be ready for anything.

Areej Bazzari heads organic lead generation and web conversion optimization. In a former life, she was a mechanical engineer, where she focused on user-centered design to provide innovative and impactful solutions. She is also a nutrition-obsessed yogi, cook, and world traveler, as well as a straight-talking toddler mom who loves true crime and murder mysteries.

More by Areej

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