What happens when you build a digital marketing strategy and your competitor doesn't?

3 minute read
2nd September 2019 - Steve Brennan

Every week we meet businesses who want to discuss their digital marketing. More often than not they tell us their current approach isn’t delivering what they need.

They say they are often asking things like:

  • Do we have the right marketing staff in-house?
  • Have we chosen the right agency?
  • Where is our time/money best spent?
  • Why is our competitor's website better than ours?

It is a script that after 20 years we can almost complete as soon as the prospect we are meeting starts talking and it that predictability fascinates us.

Marketing without a digital strategy

In these conversations we normally ask what kind of digital marketing strategy the business has and often the answer is they don't really have one.

In other parts of their business they do have plans. They have a business plan, sometimes a hiring strategy, often they have sales scripts, and sometimes they have a broader marketing plan or brand guidelines of some description.

The digital presence however remains something that is overseen at arm's length by a third-party, or that is a secondary responsibility of a non-digital-specialist in-house.

Nobody expects a business to thrive without a business plan.

So why do so many feel their online presence can thrive without a digital marketing strategy?

A predictable flow of leads from digital

Conversely, of course, we meet those who have built and implemented a full digital marketing strategy for their business.

They talk with clarity on so many things:

  • They know exactly who their digital marketing speaks to
  • They know exactly which tactics connect and which don’t
  • They know what the themes of their marketing should be
  • They know where their time/money is best spent
  • They know how their website should evolve

They actually talk quite casually about these things - as though they are normal, obvious, and second-nature. They also often casually talk about having a predictable flow of leads from digital too.

The visibility race only a select few can win

Digital marketing remains a relatively new discipline - it has not yet fully matured. So understandably most businesses don’t yet understand what best practice looks like.

Every year however, more and more businesses are developing their teams, strategies and tactics around digital and it is they who are building audience share, brand recognition and authority in search engines.

We are still at that point where it is possible to make a move now and be one of the earlier adopters who takes a good slice of the online real estate in any given sector. Soon, that opportunity will have passed.

The golden question about digital strategy

There are lots of reasons why businesses put off developing their digital marketing strategy. Often they cite a lack of time, other priorities, or that they are waiting on a particular hire, waiting for a new financial year or a quieter period.

The golden question is what happens when you have a digital marketing strategy and your competitor doesn’t?

It works to flip the question too: what happens when your competitor builds and implements their strategy whilst you don’t?

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Steve Brennan

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