Many marketers are familiar with the notion of the marketing dashboard: watching the status of ongoing marketing activities, including spending and sales, to measure the return on marketing investment.
To build your own online marketing map, you must first determine your goals. Forrester analysts have invented an excellent approach for developing social media objectives called POST: people, objectives, strategy, and technology. POST encourages marketers to get to know their customers and to set concrete goals up front.
First, figure out who your customers are. Where do they spend their time online, and how do they like to interact when they’re there? How can you engage with them in a positive, meaningful way? Second, specify your ideal campaign outcome. Do you want a two-way relationship with your customers and potential customers? Do you want to reach a new audience? Do you want people to start talking about your product?
In the strategy component that follows, create a plan for what you will do if customers embrace online initiatives. How will you keep them engaged? What will you do to strengthen those relationships? Answer these questions before you start blogging, tweeting, or posting on Facebook.
The results you want should drive your critical technology decisions. If you choose to become active in a social network where your customers don’t hang out, you won’t be successful. If you want to build buzz, then a blogger outreach campaign is probably a better choice than starting a corporate blog. By taking all these factors into account and then measuring results against concrete objectives, you’ll know whether you’re on the right track.
In all cases, we encourage you to be as specific as possible. For instance, instead of simply gathering more incoming links, identify the kinds of sites you want to link to yours.