How To Create A Successful Digital Strategy - Gulf Business
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How To Create A Successful Digital Strategy

How To Create A Successful Digital Strategy

Keep your company’s business and marketing objectives at the core, writes Ali Sherriffs, digital director at UM Dubai.


Globally, the marketing budgets given to digital advertising are growing year- on-year and, in some cases, now exceed the budgets given to traditional media.

Internet penetration and specifically social media usage have exploded in MENA over the last couple of years. If YouTube were a TV channel it would have the highest viewership in the UAE, and on the mobile front there are also huge opportunities. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are in the top three globally when it comes to smartphone penetration.


You need to start with a comprehensive brief that has your company’s business and marketing objectives at its heart.

You need to think about the key challenge that your communication needs to address, the brand positioning and your brand’s rallying call. Together, these will help you decide if you need to focus on conversion channels such as PPC, as well as shaping the best mix of digital channels and assets to deliver your brand’s message.

Next, you need to define your target audience. This can include demographics, psychographics, consumer/product segmentation, and ethnicity. The beauty of digital marketing is the finite targeting that can be done, so the more specific here the better, as it will help define the different types of media channels and digital platforms used. You should also include what the desired consumer behaviour or belief is as a result of the communication efforts.


Once a thorough brief has been constructed, you can start with the strategy, and from the strategy, comes your plan. At UM, we look at strategy as storytelling and this is a useful framework to put in place. The age of simply broadcasting your message is over and digital provides you with all the tools you need to do something innovative and relevant. You need to come up with an engaging message that sits at the centre of your activity and produce and use creative assets intelligently. You need to drive people to relevant environments with the right message. The tool you have to tell this story and weave all these parts together is paid media.


The plan should be precise and detailed. Relevance and efficiency are key and you should have rationale for what types of digital media you are using and how that brings your strategy to life.

A full 360-degree approach to a digital plan could include display ads to drive awareness, social media and content marketing to drive engagement and the use of biddable media like PPC to drive conversion. The perfect blend of digital activation should be created to achieve your goals. Remember, for every brand or product there is a specific mix of digital channels and flighting of spend that works best.


Once your campaign goes live your work isn’t done. The beautiful part of digital is that you can really look under the bonnet of your performance. Use analytics tools to see how you are performing against your benchmarks.

You should shift your budgets around if certain channels aren’t efficient and amend your messaging if it isn’t resonating as you want. This stage is critical and is the difference between a good campaign and a great one.


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