Content and partnerships are the secrets of digital success in 2019

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

What's your digital strategy for 2019?

It’s a scary fact that an estimated quarter of brands say they don’t have a digital strategy for 2019. What’s more, 61% of businesses can’t say that they have a digital marketing strategy that is aligned to strategic business objectives and supported by their CEO.

This is particularly shocking when compared to the fact that almost four in five UK adults are regular online shoppers, and UK consumers are increasingly turning to digital channels for research and to buy - 49% of consumers are purchasing through social platforms.

The upshot of all of this? If you’re still struggling with your digital plans for 2019 then it’s time to prioritise getting this sorted!

Content is king!

What are you trying to achieve with your digital strategy? The chances are it’s either driving new business, growing overall online revenue, increasing client/customer retention or a combination of all three. In order to deliver on these, you need people to find your brand online, and then you need to deliver value that results in engagement and, hopefully, sales. What is core to all of these – quality content.

We’re seeing major content brands turn to affiliate, but also have seen brands of all strengths and sizes grow their content teams and skill sets. The merge of content production and monetization strategies isn’t new, but the fact that Buzzfeed, Hearst and others have launched affiliate specific brands in 2018, shows how this is taking off in a big way.

Quality content gives your users a reason to come to your site and, crucially, a reason to stay. Whether you’re a brand offering content that sits further up the funnel than product specific info, or a news site looking to offer detailed reviews, solid content can be worth its (virtual) weight in gold. When it comes to your 2019 digital strategy, it’s well worth putting some solid thinking time into your content plan, whether this actually gives users what they want and how this will deliver to your commercial goals.

Partnering for the win

The digital landscape is an increasingly crowded space with thousands of brands competing, often across the same platforms, for the same eyeballs. More than 60% of marketing spend is now digital with brands ploughing £12 billion into their online ad budgets in 2018.

More brands in the space means more competition for the same inventory. Without careful thought, the only people benefitting from this are the Googles and Facebooks of this world (who, for record, are forecast to pocket £5bn and £2.5bn from UK businesses in 2019 respectively).

While I’m not necessarily advocating pulling back from these channels, what I am saying is that a smart strategic play into 2019 might be to look at partnerships. Decision Tech has long been a believer that there is room for several players in any given market, and strategic partnerships can be great for mutual growth. It’s for this reason that we have powered comparison technology for brands like Compare the Market, Go Compare and MSE for the best part of a decade. By looking at synergistic partnerships as part of your digital plan for 2019, you may well be able to grow audiences and digital revenues without a chunky increase in spent to the usual suspects.

Dominic Baliszewski is head of new ventures at Decision Tech

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