Digital marketing strategy - and how to succeed

By Anders Björklund

Digital marketing strategy - and how to succeed

Digital marketing depends on integrated digital techniques, technologies and data that enable marketing to improve engagement in dynamic conversations with potential and existing customers, stakeholders and influencers.

What is digital marketing?

For many B2B companies, digital marketing is increasingly strategic in driving business growth. As a result, best-in-class brands relentlessly optimise digital marketing channels, blend digital and physical experiences, and embrace emerging technologies that can provide a competitive edge. 

Marketers have always juggled the objectives of customer acquisition and retention. Still, the pandemic radically shifted customer engagement preferences and elevated digital experience to a critical role in business relationships. As a result, digital is no more just enhancing customer relationships; it is also a primary medium for building new connections and relations with your target audiences, including employees, partners and influencers.

Digital marketing's expansion significantly influences strategic marketing objectives, budgets and key performance indicators (KPIs).

What is a digital marketing strategy framework?

Digital marketing strategy articulates the objectives and execution of your tactics for digital experiences, campaigns and channels — and the performance metrics to measure progress and success. 

There is no single framework for crafting a digital marketing strategy, but critical components of any digital marketing plan include:

  • The vision for your digital marketing approach and your execution's role in driving the desired growth. For example, a momentum to increase profit could translate into a business objective of increasing customer lifetime value. On the other hand, a marketing objective might be to drive customer engagement or cross-sell/upsell customers.
  • A well-defined set of responsibilities for the digital marketing team and the leadership. Digital marketing leaders oversee budgeting, hiring, technology selection and campaign planning to support strategy execution. 
  • A detailed roadmap that shows short-term digital marketing objectives and long-term performance accomplishments. Improving lead quality, increasing brand awareness, and driving increased sales among identified leads are crucial digital marketing objectives tied to the goal of customer acquisition. 
  • A thorough assessment of your team skills, knowledge, tools and processes needed to drive your digital marketing objectives — and a clear plan to close the gaps in your marketing performance.

What is critical to a successful digital marketing plan?

To maximise the value of digital channels and engagement and their impact on customers' shifting digital behaviours, marketers need to plan, execute, analyse and evaluate the impact of digital marketing efforts. 

Best-in-class marketers drive business growth through well-planned and coordinated customer engagements that span many touchpoints with target audiences. These touchpoints include websites, paid and organic social media, search and display advertising, over-the-top streaming media, video, email and mobile marketing, and voice-enabled endpoints.

This type of integrated digital marketing strategy demands a coordinated, multichannel approach and to do performance measurement against your peers, mainly in the three following areas:

Campaign and channel management 

To lead and scale digital marketing campaigns in and across your channels.


To optimise content, formats, media, targeting and messaging.

Digital performance benchmarks 

To compare best practices across industries and learn from the leading companies to uncover brand-specific strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and learnings to improve the commercial impact of your digital initiatives.

The most effective digital marketing strategies

Marketing teams can orchestrate various digital marketing strategies and techniques to ensure customer interactions meet customer expectations and increase satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.

Digital marketers usually favour social marketing and digital advertising at the top of the purchase funnels — across brand awareness, demand generation, conversion to sales, and customer loyalty. But it takes the right tools, data, targeting and testing to align the best channels with target audiences and specific goals and KPIs.

Primary digital marketing strategies include:

Digital advertising

Digital advertising comprises displays, video, mobile and social ads. To succeed, your digital ads must communicate with the desired target audiences using appropriate timing, context, content and tone across relevant channels. 

Paid search refers explicitly to advertising on search engines and other websites; you must present ads based on the content and context of specific search queries.

Email marketing

Using email to deliver marketing messages is a fundamental touchpoint throughout the customer life cycle. It includes brand newsletters and contextually relevant, real-time, personalised communication and interactions with your target audiences. Nevertheless, customer churn-ended consumer journeys and changing consumer habits have created hurdles to successfully executing email marketing. 

Digital marketing leaders must adjust to all new challenges spanning privacy, data capture and targeted content deployment. Given pandemic-driven changes in your customers' digital habits, leading performers lean more heavily on customer data and segmentation tactics to deliver high engagement. They now avoid quantity in favour of quality and emphasise targeted, personalised messaging that improves conversion and boosts email effectiveness.

Social marketing

Social marketing refers to creating, curating, consuming, promoting and distributing marketing content mainly related to building and nurturing communities. It excludes paid advertising on social but includes influencer marketing, social seeding and social activations.

Digital marketers can no longer view social media as a channel exclusively for raising awareness. The impact of social media extends across the entire buying process. Digital marketers must exercise caution in messaging regarding social issues, given heightened scrutiny over brand actions. Long-term brand equity and health, as well as your revenue, are highly prioritised.


Search engine optimisation refers to techniques used to improve qualified traffic to your web pages by understanding the nature and intent of the online search and developing highly relevant content and experiences. However, an integrated digital marketing strategy requires a holistic approach across paid and organic. So, it's essential not to pit SEO against search engine marketing (SEM), as one elevates the other's performance.

You must design SEO and SEM strategies to service brand objectives, whether traffic-, engagement- or conversion-driven. The best way to reach these goals is to serve relevant content to your potential and existing customers.

The roles of your digital marketing leaders and teams

Digital marketing leaders must define and meet strategic marketing objectives through conversations that engage their target audiences and market segments across all digital channels. 

Their teams need expertise across various functions, from core marketing channels to analytics, content creation and management, media planning and buying, and eCom. In addition, they must use technologies that support customer engagement through these different touchpoints.

Digital marketing leadership is becoming synonymous with marketing leadership overall. As a result, digital marketing leaders need a broad remit to set the strategy and establish the KPIs aligning digital marketing objectives to the desired business outcomes.

Digital marketing leaders must plan for and execute in an environment that requires strategic prioritisation, agility, and emphasis on longer-term initiatives that can propel their marketing organisation's digital transformation and an unstinting focus on achieving results. Among their responsibilities are the following:

  • Digital content strategy and execution
  • Digital brand and advertising strategy and execution
  • Integration of mobile marketing and the digital mix
  • SEO and SEM strategy and execution
  • Email marketing strategy and execution
  • Media strategy and execution

The role technology plays in your digital marketing strategy

Digital marketing leaders use a vast collection of technologies to deliver the desired business results, and they try to scale operations and address the intricacies of the modern customer journey.

The remit of marketing technology and digital marketing leaders is expanding to include customer data management and lifetime value analysis. Companies realise that their martech platforms are only as good as their data and analytics capabilities and the customer insights they uncover. 

Under pressure to create first-party data-capture capabilities, most B2B companies ramp up investments in technologies such as customer data platforms (CDPs) to provide a 360-view of their customers.

Content management is another top priority for digital marketing leaders. Most companies now realise they can only achieve omnichannel personalisation at scale with an agile and connected content operations ecosystem.

Emerging and advanced technologies like AI promise to transform marketing capabilities such as; personalising advertising and marketing engagements. Marketing platforms such as multichannel marketing hubs, CDPs and mobile marketing platforms are already integrating AI and machine learning capabilities, and the appetite for these tools continues to grow. 

However, deploying AI and machine learning is still incipient as digital marketers need more people and technology and a certain amount of distrust by marketing and the commercial part of their business in these technologies.

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Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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