Introduction to Digital Marketing planning
“To accompany the four Ps of classical marketing, marketers would do well to instill the digital four Cs, around conversation, collaboration, culture, and compensation.” Zaid Al-Zaidy
A digital marketing planning is required to provide consistent direction for an organization’s internet marketing activities that combine with its other marketing activities and support the overall objectives of the business. Part of an integrated marketing plan, digital marketing planning focuses on using digital online tactics to pursue one’s marketing goals. The importance of developing a crucial digital marketing planning is indicated by Michael Porter (2001) – “The key question is not whether to deploy internet technology”; companies have no option if they have to stay competitive “but how to deploy it.”
There are various digital marketing planning through which a marketer can target the audience. An ideal process flows are very much required. Following the process model is very important as a starter and more points can be added as we grow along in the business:
- Industry overview: Current competitors, their positioning, and offering
- Target Prospects: Demographic / Psychographic representation
- Product Feature & Product Promise: Real value proposition, USPs, main benefits to the user, market placement, and planning promotions, etc.
- Communication and Content Marketing: Communication planning in AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action) stages
- Goals: Brand and ROI goals of two detached portions
- Analytics: Current data basis goals
- Digital Channel: Pull (Search Engine Optimization, Social, and Contextual) and Push (Display, Mailers, Mobile, Video, Affiliates, Pay per Click, etc.)
- Digital Product or Destination: Digital customer drive in a multi-screen eco-system, Digital Product Management, UI experience, Index or Landing pages, Business enablers, and a powerful focus on Digital Product Conversion
- Customer Relationship Management: Retention of the customer, the segmentation, communication
- approach once in the business net, value addition, user benefits, re-purchase, and an improved lifetime value of the customer
Ideally, in juxtaposition with any non-digital strategies, e.g., radio & TV advertising, direct mail, catalog, and telemarketing campaigns, a digital marketing strategy planning would be developed so as to create a consistent plan. And ultimately the main aim is to build brand awareness, make sales, generate leads, improve customer service, set up two-communication with the target market, teach the populace, and so on.
Five simple plans act importantly in connection to the digital marketing planning, namely setting a goal, creating a marketing funnel, developing a call-to-action, creating an effective lead magnet, and driving traffic.
As Chaffey indicates, a digital marketing planning process models must have the following important characteristics:
- Continuous internal and external environment scanning or analysis is required
- A clear statement of vision and objectives is required
- Digital marketing planning development can be broken down into formulation and collection
- After digital marketing planning development, the performance of the strategy occurs as strategy implementation
- Control is needed to spot problems and amend digital marketing planning accordingly
- The digital marketing planning must be receptive to changes in the marketplace
Digital Marketing planning Development
The digital marketing planning development is explained below:
Fig 1: Digital Marketing planning
Strategic Analysis: Special emphasis needs to be given to the changing needs of the customer’s actions, and business models of a competitor, and opportunities afforded by new technologies. Techniques comprise resource analysis, demand analysis, competitor analysis, applications portfolio analysis, SWOT analysis, and competitive environment analysis.
Strategic Objectives: Organizations must have a clear vision on whether digital media will set off or replace other media and their ability for change. Clear objectives must be defined, and particular goals for the online revenue contribution should be set.
Strategy Definition: The following eight defined areas help set the digital marketing planning
- Target market strategies
- Positioning and differentiation strategies
- Resourcing internet marketing priorities important to the organization
- CRM focus and financial control
- Market and product development strategies
- Business and revenue models including product development and pricing strategies
- Organizational restructuring
- Channel structure modifications
Digital marketing planning Implementation
This phase includes devising and executing the tactics needed to achieve strategic objectives. This includes re-launching a website, campaigns connected with promoting the site and watching the efficacy of the sites.
It depends on the marketing environment: demography, geography, psychographic, and behavioral analysis. Digital marketing, of course, is based upon the Internet Macro and Micro-Environments.
Internet Macro Environment
Internet macro-environment includes demand analysis, competitor analysis, intermediary analysis, and channel structure change dynamics of the marketplace. Demand analysis or online customer activity is a key factor to channelize objectives of digital marketing planning. It measures the current level and future projections of customer demand for e-commerce services in different marketing segments. The following questionnaire is generally followed while assessing customer activity:
- What percentage of customer businesses has access to the internet?
- What percentage of members of the buying decision in these businesses has access to the internet?
- What percentage of the customer is prepared to purchase the product online?
- What percentage of customers with access to the internet is not prepared to purchase online, but chooses or is influenced by web-based information to buy products offline?
- What are the barriers to adoption and how can we encourage adoption?
Fig 2: Competitor Analysis
Also, qualitative research is necessary to create digital marketing planning since it identifies the differences in psychographics between current online customers and those who are not offline. Competitor analysis is very much important as well. The online activity of an organization and comparing that of its competitors would finally help answer the following questions:
- Business Contribution: What is the online revenue contribution (direct, indirect, costs, and profitability) of digital marketing to the bottom-line?
- Marketing Outcomes: Total number of marketing outcomes achieved online is the first thing to know. For instance, what proportion of leads, sales, and service contracts happen online? How responsive is the digital marketing at acquiring, converting, and retaining customers?
- Customer Satisfaction: What do customers opine about their online experience, and where would it influence brand loyalty?
- Customer Behaviour: What percentage of customers is affected by usability, design, content, promotions, and services?
- Site Promotion: How successful are the various promotional tools such as search engines, e-mail, direct marketing, and advertising at driving quality traffic to the website?
The Internet Macro Environment
The macro environment includes factors such as Social, Legal, Economic, Political, and Technological characteristics. The major issues and forthcoming changes in the environment shape up the macro periphery. The acronym for the macro analysis is STEEP:
- Socio-Cultural and Demographics: Societal ethics and lifestyle change over time. The pertinent factors in this category are coming from the following sources: Medical (smoking, healthy eating, and exercise); Science (global warming, greenfield projects, etc.); Economic (people working longer hours, women in the workplace, etc.); cultural diversity (music preferences, foods, living accommodations, medicine, etc.); and Technologies (internet dating, biodegradable plastic, etc.).
- Technology: Encompassing more than computers, technology comes in different forms: medical devices, new plastics, production techniques, etc.
- Economic Conditions: The state of the economy is characteristically subject to some sort of fluctuation. The current situations (specific to the industry) and any changes that may be forecast are important. For example, the current economy may not be favorable for new car sales but may be better for the used car sales.
- Ecology and Physical Environment: In some businesses where we find production facilities, this factor works well – the impact of climate change must be considered in cases when water and fuel costs can change radically if there is an issue of global warming.
- Political and Legal: As we all know, any industry is specific to certain laws and regulations. Different political parties have fundamentally various viewpoints on business, environment, taxes, and many other issues regarding a particular business.
After considering all these above-mentioned facets, the next step is to make the swift transition of the business to the web. Through the creation of a perfect e-business model, a business can reach millions of more customers across the country or even around the world. Although it requires some cost initially, it should benefit in due course of time. Always, it has to be kept in mind the main objectives of digital marketing planning are to sell, serve, speak, save, and sizzle the whole marketing environment.
Fig 3: Transitioning Business to the Web
The Seven Steps of Smooth Transitioning to the Web:
- Choose the right leadership
- Prepare employees and customers
- Meet with the expert graphic designers
- Bring in the IT experts
- Determine what your e-business will look like
- Go live
- Monitor your e-business’s performance
While measuring all these important factors, a step-by-step process for creating a digital marketing planning is given below:
1. Your Present State?
The first step consists of reviewing the Digital Sales Funnel.
- Carefully review each stage of the funnel: What do you presently have executed? What are you lacking in this sales funnel? Is there something working predominantly well? Advertising efforts: What are your offline and online investment? Scrutinize your CTA, or call-to-action (outdoor advertising, print advertising, or social media approach, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., affiliate marketing, SEO, and so forth). Is this present CTA up-to-the-mark?
- Marketing message: How do you symbolize your brand? Has the USP been focused on the advertising message? What is your customer loyalty?
- Set up analytics: If presently you have no analytics plan, do this now! Just visit Google Analytics and get started. While setting benchmarks, this will help analyze your digital sales funnel and marketing efforts
2. Target Audience and Company Vision
This is the stage where some exciting movements will turn out.
- Locate ideal customer: You have to deeply analyze the customer demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attitude. We need to remember our efforts are all set to give customer delight. Once the customer segmentation is done, the next step is to finalize the target prospect.
- Document the customer motivation factors: What are the customer compelling factors? What exactly motivates your consumers to go to work each day? What are the brand identity and brand personalities that go hand in hand with your product/service?
- Identify the decision makers: Identify the decision makers along with the target customers; it may be possible target customers may not always the final decision makers. So, in this case, it is very crucial to focus on the opinion leaders as well. From the time of advertising till the time of purchase who else happens to add impetus in the final buying.
Having completed all these functional areas regarding your customers, you heave a sigh of relief on creating an ideal customer profile that is ready to go. Now we know the right target prospects!
- Post customer profile creation, our next move is to set the vision, goals, and milestones. This is an amusing exercise but very vital as well.
- Your vision: This phase deals with your ability to foresee you and your company’s stay in coming 3-5 years? To start the sales turn over would always account. But subsequently, other factors, comprising the product development, brand image, customer base and loyalty, goodwill, share prices, and other CSR dimensions are also important. Keep asking yourself, ‘Why do I need this? How would reach this goal? and What could be my other parameters of success?’ and make further adjustments.
- Goals and Objectives: Your goals should be for one year and it must support your company mission. Take minimum 3-5 goals and those should be important, focused, and realistic.
- Miscellaneous factors: What are other financial metrics you can opt for? How strong are your human resources conviction, IT infrastructure, Investments options, and any other accomplishments?
- Milestone or deadline to meet: Being realistic, at the same time ambitious, is the right way to project your future success. Spread the time in quarters (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4), half-yearly (H1 and H2), and yearly manners and evaluate every time period by doing an after-action study. Your milestones guide to your goals, so make them assessable, realistic, and short-term, so that your team can manage to aim.
3. Map Your Plan
Clearly determine your action plan.
Competition scanner: A detailed competitor analysis is what generally we are looking for in order to establish our mark in the industry. Are we at par, worse, or better than our competitors? Where do we lack? This should be a moderate ask. Don’t underestimate your competitors, or overestimate sometimes, to set the right focus. Whatever the circumstances, take a lesson from your competitors’ moves, their marketing ethics and actions, advertising patters, PR strategies, Media objectives, Brand consciousness, R&D ability, other communication objectives, and CSR activities.
Careful Study of the digital sales funnel:
- Generate Demand
- Capture Quality Leads
- Nurture Leads
- Convert Leads into Customers
- Close, Deliver, & Satisfy
- Referrals and Follow Up
Please do not forget, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” (Leonardo da Vinci). Focus on a few things you can be great at rather than trying everything in the way. That’s how you’ll discover success.
4. Sanitize as much as possible!
Okay, you are ready now – sincerely!
- Evaluation stage: How do you assess it is a total success? Do you have enough in-house strength or you require outside aid from freelancers or an agency? Does your team require training?
- Set numbers to move from A-to-Z: Have you tracked the sales figure? Does revenue increase or lead gets generated? Please always keep a note so that you and your team keep it in mind during this process.
- Last-minute preparation: Have started working in Google Analytics? That is the way you can track progress. Have you finally had an advanced tracking set up, with UTM parameters and goals? Do you have any email marketing analytics, if at all you’re using that medium? Have you set up heat map software, like Crazy Egg, SumoMe, or Inspectlet?
5. Recapitulate & Review
This is basically sort of an evaluation and testing process.
- Fixed campaign date: This is really very important to have a specific deadline if it isn’t clear to you. Traditionally, we required nine months before it starts to work. With the advent of digital marketing, it is reduced to only three months; so, a significant review of the results can happen. You can restrict your campaign deadline in as little as two months or as much as nine months. So, the best time may be six months.
- After action review, summary, factual analysis, and fair understanding: What actually worked, what did not work, and what are lessons for the future are some simple questions that are actually unbelievably powerful. These checklists do improve your marketing. It encompasses everything you need to know.
- Final step: Please do look at your digital marketing planning from the outset. It will be easier to understand if there exists any flaw. But ensure every step should be well-thought and properly sketched to reach the target.
While going through all these facets of digital marketing to create the digital marketing planning needs to be sharp-eyed, capable to sketch a hypothesis and trends, and needs to know how a business can facilitate online as well as offline. Understanding client’s business, recognize and analyze the digital marketing strategy planning, be versatile and result-oriented, handle a budget, set up advertisement, appraise performance, analysis, and report, comprehend marketing principle, and able to build competitive digital marketing planning for both long and short terms.
This has been a Guide to Digital Marketing Planning. Here we discussed the basic concept, Digital Marketing planning Development respectively. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –