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  Lessons from a long term digital marketing strategy implementation
by Hasnain Zaheer AMAMI CPM
Consultant and Trainer, Simplogy
s Mary-Anne Webb  


We were fortunate to have worked on a project that involved digital marketing strategy driven business transformation over a long period of 4 years. This piece of work was picked up as a case in Marketing, 9th edition by Philip Kotler et al*.

As part of this engagement, we helped the customer company to activate new revenue streams, reduce their marketing cost of acquisition, and shift from a transaction based interaction to a relationship based network. From a low margin, broad-based financial services event production, they moved to being a go-to destination of their niche market.

This case has convinced us, if there ever was a need, which a digital strategy, which is carefully thought through to achieve tangible long term outcomes and is woven into the firm’s core business strategy, can help business and marketing strategists transform their organisations. When we achieve this type of outcome, we receive an unbound trust capital from business owners and boards.

Here are a few lessons:

Never confuse strategy with tactics. Often, the business provides a mandate to introduce a newsletter, an SEO campaign or a social media plan, when what they really need is a holistic assessment of their business and marketing strategy and a makeover based on digital strategy. Be honest to tell them what you believe in and if needed, do unpaid work to convince and prove your point.

Always be educating. Digital awareness and expertise in many organisations is still low and marketing managers and their agencies have the onerous task of keeping it in front, educating about its potential in business and making its importance known all the time.

Think transformation, not campaigns. Complement online with offline assets, find new business models, and recommend ways to build sustainable competitive advantage. I believe, marketing is not advertising, marketing is business. We must immerse ourselves deep into the business and use our digital marketing and digital strategy skills to transform it.

Build your digital team’s capacity and capability. Always keep training. In a rapidly evolving digital marketing world, it is essential to keep the workforce trained and skilled in online tools, build their awareness one technique at a time. Over time, you’d find advocates of digital strategy who will second your plans and provide a base of support to your ideas.

Marketing is our job but business is our livelihood. Always relate online initiatives, metrics and results to core business objectives, whether it is market share, profitability, revenue, quality or any other business aspect. We must practice business success and not just marketing.

*Marketing 9th edition by Kotler et al Copyright © Pearson Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) 2013 www.pearson.com.au.

About Hasnain Zaheer

Hasnain Zaheer, CPM, is a consultant and trainer at Simplogy (www.simplogy.com), a Sydney based digital strategy consulting, training and solutions firm that has achieved accolades for its tools and methods that are a step apart from the industry. You may contact him on hasnain@simplogy.com to learn more about the case study referred above.