Today’s brands have learned to take customer behavior trends seriously. Successful businesses have well laid out strategies that get results.
One of those results drivers is Timothy Ntilosanje, who earned his credentials the hard way. The design, strategy, branding and marketing expert-created his own TIMMY brand after receiving “PhD’s in-floor mopping, shoe shining and goat herding.” In an Africa Tweet Chat, Ntilosanje discussed digital marketing strategy.
“That’s also known as a marketing action plan,” he said. “It details business goals, actions to achieve each goal, channels, budgets, roadmap, timelines and more.”
Ntilosanje said an entrepreneur should be able to answer these questions to develop a strategy:
- What are you selling or advertising? Is it a product or service? Break it down.
- What sets your product or service apart from your competitors? Why should people buy from you?
- Who are your primary target audience or customers? What are their demographics?
- How does your audience consume content?
- How can you reach them? This informs your content development.
“It’s key to know your product or service very well so you can streamline a marketing plan to the right audience,” Ntilosanje said. “Content comes third, and it’s king.
“There are no shortcuts,” he said. “Every product has a different audience and a different way to reach them.”
Ntilosanje said every successful social media marketing strategy must have these elements:
- Alignment of business goals with social goals
- Quality content
Knowing who your target audience is essential when building a strategy for digital media branding.
“Developing demographics through market research upfront — based on product or service consumption — is key to knowing your audience,” Ntilosanje said. “Factors include age, profession, sex, location, social behavior and so on.”
Timeliness might be the most important component of social media marketing strategy.
“Imagine if I responded next week to a tweet sent today,” Ntilosanje said. “Being prompt shows good customer support, which is key pre- or after sale in the service delivery. Acting in real time helps cut to the chase.”
He dismisses business owners who think a digital marketing strategy is not important.
“Every business needs a strategy if you’re to get a good return on investment,” Ntilosanje said. “You can’t go into the market blindfolded. You’ll be knocked down by your competition.
“Don’t copy and paste strategies,” he said. “Strategize them yourself.”
The branding expert emphasized that digital marketing is not only internet-based.
“There are short message service campaigns, unstructured supplementary service data and digital billboards that can reach those in rural areas,” Ntilosanje said. “They all have to be part of the strategy for your ideal audience.”
In addition to a solid strategy, entrepreneurs want conclusive traction that shows return on investment.
“Realistic timelines and expense tracking are the key,” Ntilosanje said. “You can’t be spending money on platforms that don’t drive traffic to your product website. Keep in mind that likes and retweets do not translate into sales.”
Digital marketing applies equally well in the health sector.
“It depends on what you want to put out,” Ntilosanje said. “You can use it to communicate about outbreaks, vaccines and services you offer.
“Make sure you market exactly what you’re selling,” he said. “All is possible as long as your strategy is drawn from your business objectives.”
While the audience of a global or regional drive might be unified by their interest in issues addressed by the campaign, they have varied demographics.
“I call that ‘wildcat’ markets,” Ntilosanje said. “You can combine demographics to reach all markets at once. It just requires bigger budgets.”
Because some businesses owners are still old school and not responsive to digital engagement, Ntilosanje recommended combining ordinary media and digital to achieve strategic goals.
Whether rebranding a government agency or a private-sector company, general guidelines apply.
“Make sure you outline what you’re trying to put out,” Ntilosanje said. “Draw guidelines.”