A Maturity Model for Digital Marketing Strategy

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In order to bring the digital-marketing strategy framework alive, it makes sense to pair it up with a maturity model.

What’s a maturity model?

Maturity models are a roadmap for marketers. You find your company’s “You are Here” point on the map. Then you see what next steps you may wish to consider for further growth.

How does this model relate to the framework?

Here is the framework diagram for your reference. (Note that I updated this thanks to feedback from DigitalMarketingOne Founders Council members, since last publishing it here.)

Digital-marketing-strategy-framework
(click for larger view)

It proposes five major components for digital-marketing strategy:

  1. Setting Digital’s mission
  2. Deriving the digital strategy
  3. Deriving the interaction strategy
  4. ROI measurement and improvement
  5. Technology strategy

The job of the maturity model below is to score different levels of maturity with each of these 5 different areas.

Here is the Proposed Maturity Model

Click for larger view.

Maturity model for digital marketing strategy

How can we use this model?

Below are three examples of typical companies that you will find in the market place today.

1: Digital laggards

Typical laggards may look like the following spider chart when scored against the digital strategy maturity model. Usually there is no defined mission, or only a vague or basic definition for the contribution of the digital channel.

And everything goes downhill from there.

Sadly, many CPG, pharma, manufacturing, or book publishing companies find themselves in this boat. The reason is not ignorance at all. It is that these business models make it hardest to prove the contribution that their digital channel has on the business. They typically don’t sell directly, neither online nor offline.

Digital-marketing maturity model example - digital laggards

These companies will need very creative business and ROI measurement strategies to unlock their digital potential.

2: Digital leaders that lack cross-channel integration

Digital marketers can get very sophisticated within their silo without yet taking a look beyond their plates. So many web teams have grown up in isolation from the rest of marketing (or sit outside marketing alltogther) so that they slide into this one-way street.

Digital-marketing maturity model example - digital leader

Part of the reason for the online-only silos has also been that marketers have tried to avoid their IT departments at all cost. That locked them into SaaS only technologies and clicks & cookies only views of their customers.

Again, it wasn’t for ignorance. For many reasons, IT at most companies has been ill equipped to support digital marketing. So marketers that experienced this voted IT off the island and crossed to ussing SaaS technologies in the past 5-8 years.

3: Digital leaders including a true cross-channel view

While still the tip of the pyramid, you now increasingly enocunter digital marketers that have moved beyond the digital silo. They are typically building data warehouses that bring together customers’ online click behavior with the same customers’ offline transactions and other marketing data.

They prioritized these (not cheap) projects because they realized a true (i.e. cross-channel) view of ROI of digital strategies was necessary in order for company leadership to take the digital channel seriously. They also use this central data mart as the basis for cross-channel marketing integration, e.g. re-marketing, cross-sales, or retention marketing.

Digital-marketing maturity model example - cross-channel leaders

Even these leaders don’t necessarily apply long term analytics yet. I am thinking of analytical methods such as Kevin Hillstrom’s Multichannel Forensics. He aims to predict longer term migrations of customers across channels or products to help companies decide where they should invest now based on that forecast.

Finally …

There are many frameworks and maturity models. They each have their merrits, and their blind spots. Take a look around and pick the models that best speak to your own business needs.

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