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What percentage of businesses have a digital marketing strategy?

Chart of the Day: Do you need a separate, defined digital marketing plan or should it be integrated with your marketing strategy?

In 2017 you will often hear that we live and work in a post-digital world. That is to say since consumers naturally use a mix of traditional and digital media, as businesses, we shouldn't treat digital media and communications separately from other media and they should be integrated.

'Post-digital' is a compelling idea and I certainly believe that integration of digital activities into all marketing activities is essential, but what is the reality in businesses?

Our recently published research report Managing Digital Marketing in 2017 in collaboration with Technology for Marketing 2017 (where we'll be exhibiting and I'll be speaking on the 27th and 28th of September), shows an interesting pattern of how businesses manage digital marketing through a planned approach:

The green sector in the chart shows that around one-third of businesses may have transformed to a 'post-digital world' with digital marketing integrated into their marketing as part of BAU (business as usual).

Yet, the largest proportion, approaching half of businesses (49%) are doing digital marketing, but with no strategy...

It's shocking that so many businesses are using and no doubt investing a lot in paid, owned and earned digital media, yet they don't have a well-planned approach. There are many good reasons why a digital marketing strategy is useful - as with any type of marketing plan you need strategic direction, focus, goals, prioritisation and resource allocation.

This figure suggests that many businesses are some way from 'post-digital' and digital transformation is needed. Perhaps more fundamentally this figure suggests there isn't a culture of planning in organisations. We have found in previous surveys that, more shockingly still, a similar proportion, > 50% don't have a marketing strategy or plan on which to base or align their digital marketing strategy with!

The remaining blue segment on the chart accounts for around one fifth of businesses (17%) which are in transition. To take advantage of the opportunities of digital marketing you need to update your strategies, people, processes and technologies to be 'digital-ready'. A plan is needed to get buy-in to digital marketing from colleagues and put the budget, resources and plan in place to support digital transformation. The 'end-game' should be full integration of digital media and technology into the organisation.

By Dave Chaffey

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights.

Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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