from Strategy

Breaking Down the Discovery Phase for a Digital Marketing Strategy

By Sam Gerdt
September 19, 2018 - read

The discovery phase is a collaborative research and analysis process. As a team, we work to uncover your challenges, goals, and needs from different expert perspectives.

The discovery phase is the earliest phase in our work with a new client. Initial meetings will be focused on research and analysis, learning the details of the client's business and pinpointing which technologies, tools, and processes would be most successful for them.


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During discovery, we work with the client to find answers to many questions, including:
  • What are our specific goals and metrics for success?
  • How do our current marketing assets help or hinder those goals?
  • Who is our ideal customer?
  • Are the sales and marketing teams working together to nurture leads?
  • Is the current online presence optimized for engagement and conversion?

The resulting report serves as the foundation for all marketing strategies moving forward and is revisited regularly as your business grows and evolves.

Critical Discovery Processes & Audits

1. Existing Website & Content Audit

Your existing website performance is a huge indicator of how your marketing strategy as a whole is working. Specifically, we evaluate common metrics — organic traffic, engagement, and conversion — as well as your existing content map to determine:

  • Where you are over-saturated or under-saturated with quality, informational content
  • The behavior and preferences of your existing audience
  • How you measure up to industry benchmarks

Our goal, based on this audit, is to lay out improvements to your overall positioning as well as your content mapping and tone.

In addition, if we identify metrics that are out of balance with industry benchmarks, we might refurbish parts of your website or content to correct the problems. As an example, if your conversion rate from organic traffic were 2% lower than the average for your industry, we might recommend changes to your website to bring that number up in the short term.

2. Competitor Analysis

Our competitor analysis is split into two parts: domain analysis and positioning analysis.

The domain analysis takes all of your competition’s websites and breaks down their performance against yours. This report serves as a great foundation as we develop goals for your marketing strategies. It also informs us about what content strategies are succeeding in your market.

The positioning analysis evaluates those same competing companies to determine their differentiators (both good and bad), tone, and branding. We use this information to find opportunities for you to expand your own positioning to become more visible in your market.

3. Buyer Personas & Buying Scenarios

A buyer persona is "a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on existing market research and real data about existing customers."

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We build researched buyer personas and buying scenarios as a first step in developing a content strategy that serves your ideal customer first. Our research in this step often includes:
  • Interviewing members of your sales team
  • Reviewing existing data and analytics
  • Polling or interviewing existing customers
  • Analyzing customer reviews

Our buyer personas are developed with an eye towards your stated growth goals. As an example, if you’ve come to us because you need help expanding into new markets, we want to develop personas and scenarios for the target region or industry — which may look nothing like your existing customers.

4. Sales & Marketing Alignment

Sales and marketing alignment is absolutely essential to the success of any marketing strategy.

The discovery phase enlists the help of your marketing team and your sales team, and we put everyone in the same room at the same time. Marketing needs to know what kinds of leads sales wants, and sales needs to know how marketing is warming up those leads. The feedback loop between marketing and sales is critical to efficiently generating qualified leads.

As part of the discovery phase, we provide recommendations for ways to improve your sales and marketing alignment that you can easily implement within your company.

What happens after the discovery phase?

Obviously, the discovery phase is providing the foundation for the next steps in your digital marketing, and we use the research from the discovery phase with every strategy we develop, but there is no such thing as “after” discovery.

We may not provide a deliverable every time something changes in your discovery documents, but these are living documents that change and evolve right along with your business.

These documents are built on feedback, and we never stop collecting feedback. As we receive customer reviews, updates from your sales team, or simple site analytics, our understanding of your business grows and changes. In addition, your company’s vision will change over time and, hopefully, your managers and executives will adopt new goals for continued growth.

So, as the feedback loop continues to spin, each iteration of your marketing strategies can be more informed and effective than the last.

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Tags: Strategy