Developing a results-orientated digital marketing plan

Developing a results-orientated digital marketing plan

A digital marketing plan determines the type of target audience that is driven to the website and the CTA (call to action) we want the user to do when visiting the site. The CTA might be to download a pdf relating to a service, complete the website’s form to register their interest in a particular service or purchase a product.

The following process has been adapted using an array of best practice business tools to develop a digital marketing plan that creates results-orientated campaigns;

1. Situation analysis

Situation analysis defines your current situation including the relationship with your customers and the position in the market with your competitors. This is the first stage in developing a comprehensive marketing plan because we cannot plan into the future without knowing our current position. Consequently there is a need to determine the current status of your business model to enable us to define key performance indicators (KPIs) that will empower a process that is accountable and easy to measure (SMART).

2. Define strategic objectives

Once we have determined the firm’s current position, then we can develop insights that will form the basis of your strategic objectives which defines where the firm wants to go into the future. Objectives relate to what exactly you want to achieve and therefore ensures that campaigns that are under performing are quickly identified, amended and improved.

The strategic element relates to how the firm plans to achieve its objectives in a macro sense. Digital marketing strategy focuses on what you’re about to do online and is affected by both the prioritisation of objectives and the amount of resources available for tactics. The aim is to identify the most and least profitable segments of the business to ensure that funding and resources are applied to those areas that produce the greatest positive return while eliminating whenever possible those activities that do not create value for the business.

3. Identify value propositions relevant to the business model

The value proposition answers the question, ‘what are you building and for who’? What value do the service / product deliver to your customers? Customers are trying to solve a problem or fulfil a need. It is not about the idea or product; it’s about solving a problem or satisfying a need for the customer and to achieve this you need to know who your customers are.

The value proposition describes the bundles of products and services that create value for a specific customer segment. Therefore by highlighting the jobs your customers are trying to get completed in their lives, identifies the different customer segments that should be targeted as well as identifying the bundle of services that should be offered to each customer segment. Both the value proposition and marketing mix should be aligned in an attempt to entice the customer to buy your products or services.

4. Identify all the revenue streams that add value to the firm

The objective is to identify all the customer value propositions that can add value to the business model, where each ‘value proposition’ represents a separate market subset or revenue stream. These revenue streams should be analysed further, on an individual basis, to determine if each one is viable and worth investing time and resources. And inactive revenue streams are opportunities that have not yet been developed and resourced.

The identification of all the possible revenue streams that are available and add-value to the business ensures that opportunity costs are maximised. This segmentation involves evaluating each revenue stream’s attractiveness and then selecting one or more customer segments to engage. Only then can you develop a series or set of hypotheses that allows us to organise our thinking in terms of the relevant customer segments to focus the tactical tools on, for each of the targeted revenue streams.

5. Customer segments

Who are my customers and why would they buy? For whom are we creating value and who are our most important customers?

The customer / market segment determines the marketing mix. Armstrong and Kotler [1] defined a market segment as a group of consumers who respond in a similar way to marketing efforts. It is important to narrow down and identify detailed customer segments and each of these segments requires extensive validation. Though validation we can figure out the customer’s geographic, social and demographic characteristics in order to develop an archetype or persona of the customer which will determine the most effective tactics (e-tools & content) to use in your marketing campaign.

6. Distribution channels

How do messages get from the firm to your customers? What is the best communication channel (social media, email…) to use for a particular customer segment. For example there is little point using ‘Snapchat’ if your customer segment consists of over sixties. Communication, distribution, and sales channels comprise a company's interface with customers and are customer touch points that play an important role in the customer experience.

It also defines how the value proposition gets to the relevant customer segment with distribution channels having five distinct phases and each channel can cover some or all of these phases.

  • Awareness - How do we raise awareness about your value proposition?
  • Evaluation - How do we help customers evaluate the value proposition?
  • Purchase - How do we allow customers to purchase?
  • Delivery - How do we deliver a value proposition to these customers?
  • After sales - How do we provide post-purchase customer support?

7. Tactics

Tactics are concerned with strategy implementation and focuses on the optimum mix in terms of communication channels. This is achieved by considering all the e-tools (i.e. web site, opt-in email, mobile apps, digital media channels such as paid search and display advertising and so on) that are available, and then using them in a sequence that is aligned to the strategic direction of the organisation.

It is important to understand what each e-tool can and cannot do to ensure efficient project management implementation. This will help to decide when, where and how each e-tool is used for each different revenue stream or customer segment. An effective method to achieve this is to implement the PRACE framework [2] which allows us to make the strategic decisions that will decide the mix of both online and off-line marketing tools and channels.

8. Google Analytics

Web analytic tools such as Google Analytics provides aggregate information about how your customers, as a whole, behave on your website - what media attracted your customers, where they are based, which pages they visit. Analytics can be used to answer the following vital questions when used in conjunction with online feedback tools and questionnaires;

  • Who are our ideal customers and how do they go about engaging with the firm?
  • Why do they engage with us and not competitors?
  • Are the objectives being achieved?
  • What percentages of our customers are buying or influenced online?
  • Identifying the most popular website pages and the time spent on specific pages?
  • What do visitors need before, during and after they arrive at the website?
  • Comparing online versus offline in terms of demographics and purchase patterns.
  • What is the growth forecast? Are the objectives being achieved?
  • What kind of content is relevant to each customer segment?

The aim should be to develop an analytics environment that tests, measures, and optimises marketing ROI and its impact on revenue.

9. Right person @ the right time with the right offer through the right channel.

This process develops a multichannel marketing platform that enables the integration of traditional and new emerging channels which allows a single campaign to be replicated across all targeted channels. The aim is to communicate with the right person at the right time with the right offer through the right channel while reducing costs and improving the performance of your marketing efforts.


[1] Armstrong, G. Kotler, P. 2003 Principles of Marketing, 10th Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

[2] Smart Insights 2012. Digital marketing, #infographics to inspire your marketing and help planning. Click here

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