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Digital Marketing Hierarchy of Needs

In a recent post, Finding Digital Jesus, I contemplated the notion that brands, both large and small, were (finally) fully embracing digital marketing, based on a couple data points - growth in digital budgets and staff and an observation that many senior-level digital job postings listed "new position."

As brands begin to develop holistic digital strategies, most senior leaders will find a full plate of digital activities already in place. Digital marketing programs are a double-edged sword - they are easy to set up - meaning teams, with good intentions, have probably already initiated digital programs/channels. Most social media platforms, for example, only need an email and logo to start. The other edge of the sword - without a comprehensive digital strategy, these efforts often live on an island, without documented KPIs and a plan to achieve a positive ROI.

If you find yourself in such a predicament - here is a model to help determine where to start focusing efforts and resources. With apologies to Abraham Maslow - here is a "Digital Marketing Hierarchy of Importance."

Stage 1 - Content: the basic, building blocks for all digital marketing - SEO-rich, keywords properly used, brand reinforcing, engaging content.

Stage 2 - Web Site/Blog: the company-owned web properties, the CTA-rich, SEO-compliant and optimized, content rich pages; addressing this stage is "getting your house in order."

Stage 3 - Email: the company-owned and affiliate lists, which much be nurtured and protected to grow, grow, grow.

Stage 4 - Paid Media: the marketing investment in filling the funnel and keeping the brand top-of-mind.

Stage 5 - Social Media: yes, it's the corporate equivalent of self-actualization - the bright, shiny object for senior company leaders with the in-your-face metrics, but it's last stage of importance.

One caveat - social care. If your social channels are open and no one is manning the "store," there is huge potential brand and reputation risk. If current and prospective customers are engaging with the brand on social media, make sure there is a team of well-trained resources to address these people in this very public forum.

Again, with apologies to Maslow, the digital marketing hierarchy of needs is a solid road map to realizing solid growth in digital marketing.

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