The five stages of the digital marketing life-cycle explained

Once upon a time, there was a food marketing agency that wanted to help food and drink businesses achieve their digital marketing dreams. Oh wait, that’s us!

In our eyes, the five stages of digital marketing are pretty much based around a fairytale – there’s the setup, the character building, the conflict, the action and then the resolution. Digital marketing is a story for the ages – just maybe without one or two dragons!

With increasing amounts of money being utilised in digital marketing campaigns, it is becoming more vital than ever for organisations to have solid strategies behind their digital marketing campaigns to ensure that they are using their resources effectively. Putting millions behind a campaign targeted at the wrong audience is a surefire way to find failure. The five stages of the digital marketing life cycle is one practice for creating a strategy that takes a holistic approach to your business goals.

So sit back and journey with us through the 5 stages of the digital marketing life cycle – we can’t promise there will be castles but there may be a spot of magic!

Ready? LET’S GO!

Why is Digital Marketing so important?

Digital marketing refers to the process of targeting a particular group through campaigns that rely on technology. As our use of technology increases over time, so does the importance and reliance on digital marketing. Unfortunately, selling the best product online no longer guarantees that you will succeed or even be found by your target customer base. Success within your chosen field is now determined by the ability of a business to get in front of their target audience through a variety of digital channels – like Google search results, social media, and email to name a few – and to provide them with the information they need in order to convert (AKA make a purchase or secure a service).

Simply put, digital marketing is vital for increasing customer loyalty, targeting the right audience, gaining brand credibility, accurately measuring results, and generating a consistent lead pipeline = REVENUE and SALES!

We’ve said it time and time again – but you know, we’re the digital marketing experts after all!

So now we’ve covered that off – let’s dive into the five stages of the digital marketing life cycle.

The Five Stages of the Digital Marketing Life Cycle

So here we go. The five stages to make your digital marketing feel ALIVE. As a food marketing agency, knowing the importance of digital marketing is one thing; it’s another to understand how to use it to your advantage. Digital marketing is definitely not plug-and-play; it requires piecing together different aspects of your food and drink business to see it grow and attain your financial goals. The five stages of digital marketing have no set timeline for each phase, and they are meant to be viewed as a continuous working strategy, not a linear timeline, meaning that once you reach phase 5, it’s time to head back to square one. This being said – your digital marketing is unique to your own business and objectives and sometimes.

Everyone has different names for the stages of the digital marketing life cycle, but the principles and steps are the same overall.

1. Planning and strategy creation

You can’t expect any strategy to work effectively if the research behind it isn’t solid. We’ve been round the block a few times and as a successful food marketing agency, we are always championing data, data, data.

It goes without saying that the planning phase of any digital marketing campaign is absolutely vital to success. It’s simple stuff – fail to plan, plan to fail.

That means understanding your business’s goals and objectives, the challenges you or your industry face, and your core value proposition. You’ll also need to understand your target audience’s wants, needs, and drivers, to better tailor your messaging to them. Where do they spend time online? What problems do they have? Do they know your solution exists already, or do you need to teach them about it?

You also need to determine which channels you’ll be using, the ultimate goal of each of your campaigns, and, maybe most importantly, how you are going to measure success.

Like we say, simple stuff, but makes the world of difference for any food and drink business out there.

2. Implementation and getting traction on your campaigns

Once you’ve planned, it’s time for action!

Implementing the work and recommendations outlined in the strategy phase quickly and effectively is incredibly important to get your campaigns started on the right track. However, don’t expect instant results! Some channels, like SEO, can take months to ’bed in’ and show strong results, but the benefit over time is worth the wait! Even channels like PPC and social media marketing – which we, as a food marketing agency, often use to get more instantaneous results – need to go through a learning phase when they first launch, which can take a few weeks. These learning phases allow both digital marketing teams and platforms like Google and Meta to optimise your campaigns to be as effective as possible in the long run.

While you might think digital marketing = instant sales, patience is a virtue! Giving your campaigns time to implement and gain traction over a short period initially will help you reap the benefits in the long run.

3. Monitoring and conversion rate growth

Once your marketing campaigns have had time to settle in, you can relax a little (but not too much!).

This is the time to keep your eye on your progress, but also to trust that the tech and your teams know what they’re doing – easier said than done sometimes! Regular progress monitoring, reporting, and updates will be your friend here, rather than any big changes to campaign setup or targeting.

With all the right prep and implementation, you should see conversion rate growth, whether that’s:

  • Increased sales
  • More enquiry forms
  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • Appointment bookings and reservations
  • Increased social media following and engagement

If anything – this is the fun part of your digital marketing life cycle. You should be seeing all your hard work and prep pay off, big time!

4. Understanding your new audience

Well, now you’re flying, right? Sadly, the answer isn’t that simple.

Now you’re seeing increased conversions and strong performance from your campaigns, your customer base will ideally be bigger, and more engaged, so it’s time to prime them to repurchase.

Some sectors have an easier time of this than others, but every organisation will need to pivot to some extent. Alongside attracting new customers, you want to retain the ones you already have or have recently gained.

This means going all the way back to the start and doing the initial groundwork and audience research to understand what their new pain points are, how your products or services have helped them, and how you can do the same again. Retaining customers is a hell of a lot easier than purchasing new ones – and having brand ambassadors and those who will advocate for your company is a fantastic way to reach new audiences!

5. Strategy research, rework, and implementation

Often, this new strategy happens at the same time with your existing campaigns. If all the initial work needs is an occasional tweak and monitoring, you can then focus on either retaining existing customers or attracting new groups of customers (and ideally, both!)

Hopefully, at this stage, you’ll understand your own organisation’s value proposition, position in the market, and USPs, so it’s just the target users you need to think about.

As before, examine:

  • Their behaviours
  • Their motivations
  • Their budgets
  • Seasonality
  • The platforms they use
  • What they expect from your organisation
  • The messaging that resonates with them

This information will form the basis of the new strategy, regardless of whether you’re targeting new groups or focusing on existing customer retention.

From here, the digital marketing life cycle begins again – implementation, monitoring, new audiences, and back to strategy again.

The Importance of the Digital Marketing Lifecycle

At KW Marketing, the digital marketing lifecycle is at the core of our teams’ strategies. It acts as the backbone for the work we do for our clients, whether that’s >social media, PPC, or design and development.

As a full-service digital food marketing agency, we’re always looking for new opportunities to help the businesses we work with grow. If you’re looking for a digital food marketing agency that can help you build and manage your digital strategies, get in touch with the team at KW Marketing. We’ll be here for you and your digital marketing goals, every step of the way.