Tech Checklist: Digital Marketing in the New Year

Mike LaVista
by Mike LaVista 03 Jan, 2014

If you're an online marketing professional in charge of driving new business, you know the use of the right technology tools can help you generate revenue and manage customer relationships. You or your clients may have read about the latest marketing trends and decided to launch a new Web asset to help boost your company's competitive edge with an app, a social media presence or a new site design. If handled correctly, this can be a great addition to your marketing and customer outreach strategy. 

But because there are so many options - and because Web tech industry lingo can be confusing - it can be a challenge to define exactly what you want to do and identify which technology application will best help you reach your goals. Here are seven checklist items that can help you clarify your strategy and identify Web tech needs: 

Brand consistency across all platforms? Consistent branding has always been important, but the Internet makes brands more transparent and bidirectional. Keep this in mind when thinking about adding new Web assets. A business with a conservative brand that launches a wacky, irreverent app risks coming across as fake. Make sure your new asset will complement your existing brand instead of undermining it.

Resource commitment to ensure success? If you launch an interactive asset like a Facebook page, Twitter account, blog or other platform, you should know going in that success takes time and commitment. A blog featuring outdated posts says that the company doesn't care about keeping it current. A social media account that isn't updated or allows customer feedback to languish unanswered can be more damaging than beneficial. 

Customer needs addressed? Before making a decision on launching a new Web asset, find out what your customers need. How will customers use the new asset? Should it be built on an Apple or Android platform - or both? How will it help grow your business? Make sure you thoroughly resolve questions like these before you make any final decisions on investing in Web technology. 

Clear purpose and competitor differentiation? Thanks to the Internet, it's likely that customers will have seen competitor sites and apps and will judge your new asset according to that standard. Make sure that the purpose is clear. Think about how customers will view your proposed new Web asset: Is it as good as or better than competitor assets? 

Processes in place to learn from customers and apply new knowledge? Ideally, when you deploy a new Web asset, you'll benefit from having a direct channel to customers. You can - and should - ask for feedback, conduct surveys and find other ways to gather customer opinions. It's also important to have processes in place to apply that knowledge by identifying and remedying gaps in service and improving the customer experience. 

Ways to generate and analyze data identified? When you deploy a new Web asset, you have a golden opportunity to generate and analyze data. Before the site, platform or app goes live, it's a good idea to develop metrics. It can be as simple as the number of "likes" on Facebook or a page hit counter. It also makes sense to analyze which pages or features users access to determine what's working and what's not. 

New Web asset really necessary? Before committing to the development and launch of a new Web asset, carefully consider the consequences of not adding it. Would customers miss out on a valuable new tool? Would the company generate less revenue? If the answer is yes, moving forward is probably advisable. But it's important to remember that a new Web solution must add value. If it doesn't, it's likely not worth doing. 

When considering a new Web asset for marketing and business development purposes, it's important to take the time to research available options and analyze competitor activities. If you're thinking about beefing up your social media presence, launching a new website or rolling out a new app, make sure you evaluate the potential impact on customers and the business and ensure that the new asset truly generates value. Use this checklist as you consider your new Web asset to make sure it will help you improve customer outreach - and build a stronger, more competitive company. 

Mike LaVista is the founder and CEO of Caxy, a Chicago-based Web development and Web marketing company specializing in open-source technology and application development.