Digital marketing strategies are arguably the best way to grow a business—especially a tech startup that’s looking to reach a wide audience and scale with online product and service offerings. But the sad truth is that employing a digital marketing strategy is no guarantee of success.
It’s hard to determine what percentage of digital marketing strategies succeed or fail, since the definition of “success” varies (as we’ll see). However, it’s reasonable to conclude that the majority of digital marketing strategies don’t achieve their full potential—and a disproportionate number of strategies end up losing money for their respective businesses.
So why is it that so many digital marketing strategies fail?
First, we need to define what “success” in digital marketing is—and incidentally, this is the first point of failure for startup entrepreneurs. Too many people go into marketing without a clear definition of success of their own to guide the strategy. If you don’t know what success looks like, how can you possibly achieve it?
There are a few different ways to define success in marketing, but the most common metric is your return on investment, or ROI. Your ROI is a measure of how much money a strategy brought your business, compared to how much you spent to achieve those results. means you made money, and the higher your ROI is, the better. A negative ROI is a clear indication that some element of your strategy isn’t working.
However, you may be more interested in achieving a specific level of success; for example, you may want your marketing strategy to bring in 100,000 new customers, regardless of how high or low the ROI is. What’s important is that you have some goal and some definition of success to drive you.
Lack of a Coherent Vision
Similarly, many digital marketing strategies fail because they lack a coherent, overarching vision. A marketing strategy is a set of ideas and directives designed to help you achieve a goal. Within that strategy are many tactics you’ll use, such as email marketing or search engine optimization (SEO).
Too often, marketers focus exclusively on tactics; they execute the ground-level work to bring new customers to the brand, but they don’t have a “big picture” vision to tie all those ground-level tactics together. Without a foundation to provide a map for all those individual tactics, those tactics will remain unguided, and may fail.
Your company’s brand is at the heart of all its marketing, advertising, and core messaging—. Throughout all these materials, your brand should be front and center, and it should be presented consistently.
On a superficial level, you can think about your company’s name, identity as it relates to colors, logo, and other visual features. But on a deeper level, you should be thinking about your core values, your tone, your voice, and how your brand is different than your competitors. These features should shine through whatever other messages you want to present—and should be consistent across all mediums and channels.