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The 3 pillars of digital marketing strategy (which one is failing you?)

Friday 20 July 2018 Customer ExperienceData Insight & AnalyticsData-Led Marketing

Suzanne Jiggens-Johnson's picture
By Suzanne Jiggens-Johnson

Whether your challenge is acquiring more leads, converting prospects or creating more value from your customer base, digital marketing success is almost impossible without the right data, technology, and people.

There are three key digital marketing pillars available to digital marketers: data, technology, and people.

By themselves, each serves a purpose, but they’re often siloed and inefficient. Combine them together, though, and you have the foundations for highly effective digital marketing strategy.


Data, tech, and people: the three digital marketing pillars

When we ask digital marketers what their greatest challenge is, it’s almost always that they want to maximise the value of their existing customer base.
And for many, this is more of a priority than attracting new customers.

Little wonder really, when on average it costs around five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. And when you consider the volumes of data brands now have at their disposal but don’t use, the potential to extract far greater insight on their customers is immense.

Truly, data is your most valuable asset by far. But without the technology, structure, and process in place to support it, that asset can easily go to waste.


Data: comes in all shapes and sizes

There’s a whole host of data available to organisations which can come from a variety of different channels and activities:

  • Demographic data – who the users are and their interests
  • Behavioural data – customer activity to date
  • Contextual data – what’s happening in real-time


Technology: the great enabler

On its own, technology won’t solve a thing. But combine it with the right data, and the talent needed to interpret it, and it can bear significant fruit. Three broad types of technology have important roles in your digital marketing stack:

  • Facilitative – external tools which are developed by third parties and are often ‘off-the-shelf’
  • Web analytics – to measure customer activity and behaviour online, including bespoke reporting
  • Internal – self-developed systems meeting your unique needs, which can’t be bought ‘off-the-shelf’


People: the human piece of the puzzle

As we know, people come in all shapes and sizes, and digital marketing is no exception. To get the most out of yours, though, you’ll need to stay on top of:

  • Team structures and skillsets – the make up of your team and who does what
  • External suppliers and agencies – the skills your team needs to outsource
  • Management levels – understand how data flows to management teams and how it will be interpreted


Combining Digital Marketing pillars for ultimate success

When you combine the forces of data, technology, and people, you create a self-populating circle of information and insight. Each one informs the other.

Without data, most tools and technology are completely useless. And just like a purchase database is useless without data, an Email Service Provider (ESP) relies completely on data to work effectively.

If the right technology can’t feed this data back to marketing and other teams in turn, it’s incredibly difficult to extract the right insight, which is critical to optimisation and marketing activity development.

And the reverse is also true, if you want to truly maximise opportunities to grow your customer base. There are scores of technologies that produce, rather than consume data. Tools like web analytics software constantly produce customer activity records which are then fed to marketers. And how this data is used is ultimately up to the people in the organisation.

But technology can also have a significant impact on the people in organisation. For a tool to succeed, it needs the right aptitudes, skills, and personnel. It can even make some roles redundant.















Fig 1: The three pillars of digital marketing and how they fuel one another.

We tend to find that most organisations focus on one or possibly two of these elements. Some marketers have a deep opinion on which is the most important. But the truth is, without all three feeding each other, truly effective insight is almost impossible to attain.


Want to know more?

Our team of digital consultants have helped many organisations from John Lewis to Heathrow Airport, if you need help with you digital marketing strategy, get in touch.

Combine these 3 pillars and you have the foundation for highly effective digital marketing

The 3 pillars of digital marketing strategy (which one is failing you?)


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