Online strategy models are by definition always in development…and they always have been. Fourteen years ago, online strategy models were about persuading clients (and other agencies) that there was any role for digital activity.
Today they are more about finding the correct role for digital as part of integrated communications strategies. And the easiest ones, where activity is entirely online and strategies can be neatly wrapped up into a tight multi-channel ROI based model.
Successful online strategy starts with putting the consumer at the centre of the model, and the understanding that consumers spend their lives zig-zagging between the real and virtual worlds:
A critical insight is that online is not a media channel in the conventional sense. Indeed it is virtually impossible to plan digital communications as part of an integrated campaign if you see online as merely an alternative channel – it is much better viewed as a parallel world.
The next stage in developing online stratgey is to unravel the customer journey and define the key stages in a consumers thought process in relation to your brand, product or service:
It is helpful to view the customer journey as two independent cycles which often break down into:
- Considering joining
- Considering Leaving
This can describe the process of buying into a brand, buying from a specific retailer, becoming a fan and many other actions:
And finally identifying initial media choices:
The challenge then is to refine and detail this to produce a tactical plan modelled around ROI and/or brand metrics – more to follow…