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Strategic Digital Marketing

Strategic Digital Marketing: Debunking Myths, Harnessing Precision, and Achieving Resonance

In a recent episode of the Talk podcast Developing A Strategic Marketing Plan, host Sean Corbett talks with Ken Barnes from KJB Digital about the nuances of strategic digital marketing. The insights they shared highlight the fundamental importance of a well-crafted strategic plan and how businesses, especially small to medium enterprises, can benefit from such an approach.

The Imperative of a Digital Marketing Strategy

A digital marketing strategy isn't merely about establishing an online presence. It's a detailed plan outlining how businesses can achieve their marketing goals through online channels. This strategy revolves around several core components, including understanding the target audience, defining objectives, selecting the right media mix, and crafting the appropriate messaging.

Deciphering Digital Marketing Myths

The digital marketing landscape is rife with myths and misconceptions. It's not just about following the latest trends or blindly replicating what competitors do. For instance, a common misconception is that businesses should be on every social media platform available. In reality, it's vital to select platforms that align with the business's target audience and objectives.

Similarly, while digital marketing provides tools to measure performance, not everything that can be measured counts. It's essential to focus on metrics that align with business objectives rather than getting lost in vanity metrics that don't directly influence growth.

Objective Research Complements Experience

Ken Barnes emphasizes the importance of objective research in complementing personal experience. For businesses to truly resonate with their target audience, it's vital to combine firsthand experiences with robust market research. This provides a balanced perspective, ensuring businesses don't make decisions based purely on assumptions.

Defining the Target Audience

Arguably, the most critical section of any strategic plan is defining the target audience. Businesses should intimately understand their ideal consumer's demographics, likes, dislikes, media habits, and more. Knowing the target audience inside out not only saves time and money but also ensures that marketing efforts are directed towards the right people.

Understanding pain points, fears, hopes, and dreams is crucial because these factors significantly influence future creative endeavors.

The Precision of Digital Marketing

One of the most significant advantages of digital marketing is its precision. Traditional media, like radio, often have a spill-over effect, where the message reaches individuals outside of the target demographic, leading to wasted expenditure. In contrast, digital marketing platforms allow businesses to cater their message to a very specific audience. For example, instead of targeting all females above 25, businesses can narrow down their audience based on specific interests, locations, and behaviors, ensuring a better return on investment.

Digital Platforms & Their Nuances

All digital platforms are not created equal. Facebook, for instance, offers different targeting options in the US than in Canada. Similarly, while older demographics might frequent Facebook, younger audiences might be more active on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Hence, businesses need to understand the intricacies of each platform and align their strategy accordingly.

Furthermore, having a tight focus can be more advantageous than casting a wide net. Precision in targeting ensures businesses spend their budget efficiently, achieving a better return on investment.

Harnessing Objective Research

When designing a strategic plan for marketing, diving into objective research is paramount. This means looking beyond the owner's personal experiences and biases to gain a broader understanding of the market. For many business owners, their experiential knowledge is rooted in the past, often as far back as five years or more. While their perspective is valuable, it must be complemented with current data and trends to be effective.

Objective research can provide insights into market behaviors, preferences, and shifts that might not be immediately apparent. It keeps strategies rooted in the present and ensures that a business isn't operating based on outdated information or mere assumptions.

Zeroing in on Your Target Audience

At the heart of any strategic plan lies a clear understanding of the target audience. This means more than just broad demographics like age or gender. An effective strategic plan dives deep into psychographics, understanding the audience's likes, dislikes, habits, fears, hopes, and dreams. Such insights inform not only the content of a marketing message but also its delivery.

There's also an economic angle to this. By deeply understanding and accurately targeting your audience, you can achieve better ROI on your advertising spend. Traditional methods, like radio advertising, often result in 'spill' – where a portion of the audience reached is not relevant to the business, leading to wasted funds. In contrast, digital marketing platforms offer laser-focused targeting capabilities. For instance, if a radio station has 5,000 listeners, but only 500 fit the business's target profile, 4,500 of those listeners represent wasted ad spend. But with digital platforms, ads can be tailored to specific demographics, interests, and geographic regions, making every dollar count.

Choosing the Right Digital Platform

Not all digital platforms are created equal. Each has its strengths, weaknesses, and user demographics. For instance, while Facebook may offer excellent targeting in the US, it might be more restrictive in Canada. Also, different platforms cater to different age groups. The older demographic may gravitate more towards Facebook, while younger users might be found on TikTok or Instagram.

The key is to understand which platforms your target audience frequents and how they use them. By aligning your marketing strategies with these insights, you can ensure that your messages are not only seen but also resonate with the intended recipients.

Creativity within Constraints

A common misconception is that creativity needs boundless freedom to thrive. In reality, clearly defined parameters can often spur greater innovation. By understanding your target audience and the platforms they use, you can tailor your creative strategies to resonate more powerfully with them.

Moreover, by setting clear boundaries based on market research and audience insights, businesses can avoid the pitfalls of being too broad in their approach. This not only saves money but also results in more impactful and memorable campaigns.

The Competitive Landscape

It's not enough to simply understand your target audience and tailor your campaigns to them. You also need to be aware of what your competitors are doing. Launching a campaign similar to a competitor's can lead to market confusion and even backlash.

By being aware of the competitive landscape, businesses can carve out their unique space in the market. This involves identifying gaps in competitors' strategies or highlighting unique selling points that competitors aren't emphasizing.

The insights shared by Ken Barnes underscore the importance of a well-researched and targeted strategic plan in today's digital marketing landscape. Such a plan isn't just about spending advertising dollars wisely; it's about ensuring that every message sent out resonates deeply with the intended audience. In the dynamic world of digital marketing, this combination of strategy, research, and creativity is the key to success. Learn more from Ken Barnes at