STEP THREE: Define your digital future

Vision, Objectives and KPIs

Q. Goals, vision and objectives for digital marketing channels defined?

You should start with a simple way of looking at your future. Ask why and what? Why are you using digital platforms now and into the future? What do you want to achieve?

Developing your future Vision Objectives KPIs for digital marketing, I suggest you think about different levels of measurements for setting goals and reviewing performance. An Examples strategists and managers won’t be interested in the full range of measures like page bounce rates or dwell times – they are interested in the commercial measures. But for the hands-on marketer reviewing landing pages for an Adwords campaign these bounce rates and dwell times will be important to getting more from their Adwords budget.

Strategy Recommendation 15 Define different levels of measures for managing digital mar- keting activities for a common understanding within an organisation
Definitions of Goals, Objectives and KPIs are often hazy within a business since depending on previous experience of team members, the terms may change in meaning. For example sometimes “Goals” are described as SMART, in other occasions “Objectives”, the approach we prefer. Clear definitions with a hierarchy as shown in the diagram will help.

Start by thinking about the 5Ss which are a great, simple framework for thinking through the goals of your digital channels. Then look at longer-term vision – we’ll show you some examples of companies who have developed a vision to communicate their long-term ambitions for digital media. Only then should you drill down into the details of specific goals you want to achieve.

Look out for our detailed grid of KPIs which we structure within our RACE framework. This will give you a comprehensive set of KPIs you can use to help develop your own dashboard.

To define your future Vision Objectives KPI we suggest this hierarchy of measures may help in larger organisations:

  • Mid-long term vision to help communicate the transformation needed in a larger organisation
  • Top-level broad goals to show how the business can benefit from digital channels
  • Specific SMART objectives to give clear direction and commercial targets
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) to check you are on track

I hope you agree that the reasons for setting objectives are obvious; if you don’t know where you’re going and when you hope to get there, you won’t know your progress on the journey and so make adjustments when you go astray.

So, it’s best to start with the top-level goals which help inform the vision before going onto specific objectives. This is where “the 5S goals can help!

Introducing the 5S goals for digital marketing

The 5Ss of digital marketing is a good, simple starting point to help check you’re covering the whole of digital marketing, not just sales!

I developed the 5Ss of digital marketing with PR Smith, my co-author on Emarketing Excellence around 2000, and although it’s a basic top-level review of goals, it’s still used by many when planning their digital marketing strategy.

As we run through each of the 5Ss, I’ll show some questions you should be asking in each area and look at some examples of how these broad goals have translated into strategies and tactics for online retailer ASOS.com.

5S: Sell – Set goals to grow sales?

Q. Sales goals set?

Start with goals for your most important transactions which will lead to revenue and profit! That’s sales, or if you don’t sell online, the leads that your online marketing will deliver, which will convert through to sales or donations if you’re a not-for-profit.

As you’d expect, ASOS are all about selling, but it’s worth looking at how this translates to a clear sales offer delivered across the whole site below the navigation bar, and at the bottom of this page.

Create conversion model to help define realistic goals

Q. Conversion model used to calculate realistic targets for goal volume?

Strategy Recommendation 16 Develop conversion models to set realistic online channel goals
Conversion models can help you set realistic goals from online marketing.
Look at options to increase sales through expanding our reach

Q. Options to extend reach reviewed?

Often online marketing can focus on selling to existing markets without looking for new opportunities. Use benchmarking and search demand tools to prove how it’s possible to increase sales beyond your typical customer base.

Review options to increase sales through conversion enhancements

Q. Options to increase conversion rate possible?

We have said it’s worth looking at how to add more prospects to the top of the funnel, but there are also opportunities to increase sales through increasing the efficiency of customer journeys on the site, both at the top of the funnel as they navigate to find relevant services and further down the funnel in the add-to-basket and checkout processes.

Set separate sales goals for existing and new customers

Q. Separate goals and tracking defined for new and existing customers?

To manage online sales, it’s useful to isolate incremental online sales and new sales. Keeping incremental sales volume trending right is most important. You can use analytics or ecommerce sales systems to deliver this insight.

Tracked goals through analytics

Q. Goal types and value defined in analytics?

We have a more detailed section explaining how to do this in our guide to Google Analytics

Define multichannel goals

Q. Online channels goals defined as online contribution of revenue or profit?

Sales might be direct if the product can be sold online or indirect where they are generated offline. Still many people research online and then purchase offline, so it’s key for many companies to think how they use online channels to influence offline sales.

Strategy Recommendation 17 Ensure your goal-setting reflects channel switching
Users switch channels during the purchase process, so make sure you set goals, measures and support these cross-channel behaviours.
This Day it called omni channel

5S: Save – Set cost-saving goals

Q. Goals set around cost savings?

Less glamorous than the sizzle of building your brand and social media engagement, but you can also show the value you gain through using online cost savings to reduce service costs and save on traditional media like print and post.

This is most relevant for a multichannel retailer or service company who can set goals for number of catalogues downloaded or number of service transactions compared to other channels.

If you’re fighting for budget for online channels, the savings you can demonstrate to your finance director or budget holder will improve your cause.

5S: Sizzle – Adding value to your brand online

Q. Goals set for brand engagement and advocacy?
Putting the sizzle into your digital marketing will really help your sales and speak goals, but it’s not to easy to set goals for and then to track. So what is the “Sizzle in your Sausage”?

Sizzle is about building your brand online. Think about what makes for a positive online brand experience for your audience and you.

If the experience is effective, the benefits of engaging with your digital presence will be clear; the interactions within the site and with other channels will be smooth and the visitor will want to use your online services again, and tell their friends and colleagues about it.

So, key goals here are about levels of satisfaction and recommendations or advocacy. ASOS have invested heavily in community platforms and social media to deliver the sizzle!

Define vision

Q. We have a defined mid-long term vision for the future contribution of our digital marketing channels?

We believe that developing a specific vision or mission statement for your digital channels can really help explain the need for digital channel initiatives within a company. They also show where the focus of digital marketing activities and investment should be.

Strategy recommendation 20 Define a vision for how digital channels will support your customers and brand
A longer-term vision and planning horizon will highlight the changes to process, platforms and structure needed for the long-term transformation needed to make the most of digital marketing.

You’re probably thinking ‘we’ve already got a corporate mission statement that everyone pokes fun at, so why would we want to define a vision statement?’ or ‘why should we bother?

It’s too corporate and we’re just a small business, we just get on with selling our products.’ Good questions! But we still think it’s helpful to have a vision for your online marketing for all different types of organisation. We say this since the opportunities from digital marketing are too big to not have a vision of how you will use digital media in the future. If you don’t define the opportunity you won’t be able to grasp it because there will be too many other distractions. They

may also take time to be achieved. Look at how Dell9 set their long-term vision, both for their online channel as a whole and how online analytics will support it.

A good vision statement for your digital marketing activities can help:

  • Show how digital marketing or E-business can transform your organization in the future if you innovate and invest
  • Show where you need to focus your effort – is it customer experience and service to build loyalty or are you also looking to expand your reach into new markets?
  • Energize colleagues by showing the future potential of digital marketing and communicating that it’s a strategic priority through a senior manager or director who is a sponsor of digital marketing
  • Set top-level goals without going into detailed KPIs.

I am not talking about mission statements of what your company currently is, instead, a vision is an inspiring, ideal future state. A vision is almost certainly not going to be 100% attainable, but you must feel as if it is possible.

Some examples of vision statements for digital channels
  • 1 x 2 x 3:
  • Largest online audience share (No.1) in Europe by XXXX By XXXX, 1 in 2 of total sales will be generated on-line
  • 1 in 3 of our people and our customers love our online services and will recommend them to a friend
  • 2 in 3 customer service contacts will be electronic by XXXX
Best Practice Tip 5 Set BHAG: “Big Hairy Audacious Goals
These ambitious targets are used to gain attention for an initiative and attract investment and resources to it. They were popularised in a 1996 Harvard Business Review article by James Collins and Jerry Porras on Building Your Company’s Vision.

Different aspects of the vision statement can then be expanded upon when discussing with colleagues

  • Digital channels = the web site supported by email and mobile messaging
  • Find = improvements to site search functionality
  • Compare and select = Using detailed product descriptions, rich media and ratings
  • Merchandising and improving conversion = Through delivery of automated merchandising facilities to present relevant offers to maximise conversion and average order value. Additionally, use of structured testing techniques such as AB testing and multivariate testing will be used.
  • Experience rated as excellent = We will regularly review customer satisfaction and advocacy against direct competitors and out-of-sector to drive improvements with the web site
Checklist – creating your vision statement
  1. Shows how digital channels will help the customer. What value will you provide?
  2. Shows the benefit to the company in terms of efficiencies or profitability?
  3. Link vision to specific goals in the future?
  4. Is simple and memorable?
  5. Is inspirational?

Define specific SMART objectives in your performance improvement framework for digital marketing

Q. Right measurement frameworks and dashboards defined?

Measurement frameworks are essential to give you focus – rather than reviewing hundreds of measures you can just focus on top-level performance measures which are critical to improve performance. These are summarised on dashboards.

Strategy Recommendation 21 Define the right measurement framework and dashboards You can’t measure everything, far from it! So define the measures and KPIs that you can review regularly to really drive your business and develop an automated method of reporting via dashboards.

And remember that dashboards count for nothing if they’re not reviewed and actioned. Avinash Kaushik, the web evangelist at Google famously said :

If you have $100 to make smart decisions on the web, invest $10 in tools, spend $90 on people. This is the 10/90 rule.”

Strategy Recommendation 22 Invest sufficient time in the people, process and tools to ssupport performance improvement
If you don’t invest sufficient in the supporting processes and people your careful specification of goals and objectives will have been pointless. So make sure you put in place the right approaches to review and take action depending on your numbers.

I’ll talk more about how to make this happen in our guide to improving results through goal-setting and keep it brief here. Check that:

  • Q. There is a defined measurement framework to review and take action?
  • Q. Our KPIs are aligned to business success?
  • Q. The dependencies between KPIs is clear?
  • Q. Individuals are responsible for KPIs?
  • Q. Our measurement framework includes the right efficiency measures?
  • Q. Our measurement framework includes the right effectiveness measures?
  • Q. Measures can be distributed and reviewed in a top-level report or dashboard?
Best Practice Tip 7 Identify your “critical few” KPIs – make sure they’re SMART
Use the SMART mnemonic to review your measures to define the KPIs that matter to improve results.

Measures you consider should be simplified to a dashboard to limit the information that needs to be reviewed to the “critical few” or the “measures that matter”.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific – Is the objective sufficiently detailed to measure real-world problems and opportunities?
  • Measurable – Can a quantitative qualitative attribute be applied to create a metric?
  • Actionable – Can the information be used to improve performance? If the objective doesn’t change behaviour in staff to help them improve performance, there is little point in it!
  • Relevant – Can the information be applied to the specific problem faced by the manager?
  • Time-related – Can the information be constrained through time?

Define your measurement framework

I’ve have found that still, many companies don’t have a clear objective setting and reporting system summarized as digital marketing dashboards. But there seems to be a hunger to create and use these.

In this guide to improving online results, we consider 3 different performance management frameworks. But here, I’ll just use our RACE framework since this has the fullest range of KPIs for different managers.

RACE consists of four steps designed to help engage prospects, customers and fans with brands throughout the customer lifecycle.

  • 1 Reach – Build awareness of a brand, its products and services on other sites and in offline media and build traffic by driving visits to web presences
  • 2 Act – Engage audience with brand on its website or other online presence
  • 3 Convert – Achieve conversion to marketing goals such as new fans, leads or sales on web presences and offline
  • 4 Engage – Build customer relationships through time to achieve retention goals
Best Practice Tip 8 Use a grid of RACE vs seniority to define your goals.
In the rows, it isolates more detailed metrics that drive performance from the customer-centric KPIs and Business value KPIs, so it identifies the measures that really matter or Key Key Performance Indicators (KKPIs) at the bottom of the matrix. More senior managers will review the performance drivers at the bottom of the grid.

This Acquisition, Conversion, Retention approach is adapted from an approach recommended by analytics specialist Neil Mason on his courses.

You can see it is most practical to use in a larger organisation with different tiers of management. The idea is to select the most relevant KPIs to form dashboards for different people as shown in the left column.

Let’s look at the key performance indicators for each of the four steps and where you can find the reports in Google Analytics.

Stage 1 Reach KPIs

Reach involves building awareness of a brand, its products and services on other sites and in offline media and building traffic by driving visits to web presences. KPIs include:

  • Unique visitors. The size of your audience at the top of the funnel with the potential to convert. This measure is available on your dashboard. Review your reach into social network sites like Facebook and Twitter also if you’re active on these.
  • Audience share. You can benchmark this by comparing your unique visitors to competitor sites using Google AdPlanner. Number share of audience is particularly important for search marketing which often accounts for 50% or more of a catalog site’s audience. You should compare visits from search in your keywords report against the potential demand for search engines using a gap analysis to see where your missing.
  • Revenue or goal value per visit. As described above, these measures enable you to see the value that each referring campaign, site or keyword is generating. Through reviewing how you promote your site through these traffic sources you can aim to increase revenue per visit. Of course increasing conversion rate will also help increase revenue per visit.

Stage 2 Act KPIs

Act stands for interact, your aim is to achieve the initial engagement of your visitors when they enter your site. KPIs include:

  • Bounce rate. Bounce rate is a great measure to use as part of your aim of increasing sales. Review the top sources of traffic report and keywords reports to identify traffic sources with the highest bounce rate and aim to reduce this figure.
  • Pages per visit. If you can encourage more browsing and searching, you are likely to increase conversion rates. The average figure for visits which involve a search is around 30% in the UK for retailers, according to Coremetrics.
  • Product page conversion. Conversion rates for some products will naturally be higher than others so work on increasing conversion rates where you have “problem products” with a relatively high volume of page views, but relatively low conversion rate.
  • Conversion to lead. I do prefer to include conversion to marketing outcomes other than sale which such as new fans or leads as part of encouraging interaction.

Stage 3 Convert to Sale

To Achieving conversion sales whether from online or offline. The well-known KPIs include:

  • Conversion rates. Again it’s worth understanding how these vary for different visitors sources.
  • Sales transactions. The number and value of sales broken down by category.
  • Revenue and margin. Readily reported the margin will be usually reported through a back-end system.

Stage 4 Engage

Build customer relationships through time to achieve retention goals. You may have to derive these through your sales systems. KPIs include:

  • % returning visitors. This gives you a simple indication of the importance of returning visitors to your business.
  • % active hurdle rates. These have to be extracted from the CRM database – you should look at the percentage of customers who make a purchase in a 3 or 6 month period. ASOS uses a 6 month period to define active customers.
  • Repeat sales from existing customers. Encouraging repeat purchases.
  • Repeat conversion rate. This is the proportion of first-time purchasers who buy again.
Best Practice Tip 9 Define dashboards for different team members
You can use Google Analytics custom reports or spreadsheet worksheets to have different tabs for different levels of seniority and involvement with digital.

This example shows how to use the “menu” of KPIs in the table above to select the most relevant measures for them to put into their reporting.

Create a digital channel SWOT

Q. Digital channel specific SWOT created?

A digital channel SWOT summarises your online marketplace analysis findings AND links to strategy. It’s specific to the Internet and digital channels rather than a more general SWOT.

In a large organization, or for a more complete summary, complete a separate SWOT for:

  • Customer acquisition and conversion and customer development
  • Different brands
  • Different markets
  • Different competitors – direct and indirect
  • Recommend using a TOWS matrix for SWOT since this helps integrate your analysis with your strategy rather than the analysis being placed on the shelf and forgotten.

A Digital Marketing SWOT analysis is an essential part of any business or marketing plan. It allows you to create a plan of action based not on what you’re interested in doing or on your gut-feel, but what you need to do given the opportunities presented to you in your marketplace. It considers your capabilities for marketing against competitors plus looks at opportunities.

The example below shows how it reviews not only the situation in internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats around the edge, but also shows 4 box for creating strategies to succeed in the marketplace.

Make sure your SWOT or SWOTs are:

  1. Based on existing SWOT for the business.
  2. Uses a TOWs matrix approach.
  3. Created specific for digital marketing channel.
  4. Considers key digital marketing activities.
  5. Have further details on specific markets as required by the size of the company.
  6. Include both external factors and internal digital capabilities.

The SWOT analysis will give you the strategic view of the main opportunities and challenges available from online marketing. The high-level view will help you see the most important issues which need to be managed for your online success.

    STEP TWO: Review your marketplace opportunity

    Q. Marketplace reviewed for growth opportunities and threats?

    To develop a sound digital strategy today involves understanding a more complex, more competitive buying environment than ever before. Previously, marketers have talked about marketplace and situation analysis, but these terms hark back to previous times when life and commerce were simpler. Traditionally we call the business environment a company works in a ‘marketplace’, but today, it’s becoming more common, particularly amongst US investment circles, to talk about ecosystems describing the different types of media, websites and other digital platforms that digital channel users interact with.

    What is it? Online marketplace or ecosystem
    The dynamic interactions and dependencies between different digital media using different digital technology platforms such as mobile. These form the media options for reaching and interacting with online audiences.

    With an introduction to the different media options for the modern digital marketplace. Understanding these options is essential to reach and influence your audience. With the rise in importance of social media and online PR, we’re seeing more companies change their method of budgeting and reporting to reflect the types of sites where audiences spend their time online.

    The trend is for businesses to review their investments in media buckets of Paid, Owned and earned, which each give opportunities to reach and influence audiences.

    Strategy Recommendation 11 Get the investment balance right between POE media
    Digital strategy requires you to set the right balance of investment across POE media. It poses questions about how best to measure the returns from social media and PR and set investments at the right level.

    The intersection between these new “channels” is shown by this diagram. It’s a great way to think about your online representation:

    The main types of media channels you need to consider today as part of a digital strategy are:

    1. Paid media. Simple. Paid or bought media are media where there is investment to pay for visitors, reach or conversions through search, display ad networks or affiliate marketing. Online retargeting is important to persuade people to convert who have already interactedwith your website or social media to take the next step and buy. Offline traditional media like print and TV advertising and direct mail remain important, accounting for the majority of paid media spend.
    2. Earned media. Traditionally, earned media has been the name given to publicity generated through PR invested in targeting influencers to increase awareness about a brand. Of course, it’s still an investment. Now earned media also includes word-of-mouth that can be stimulated through viral and social media marketing and includes conversations in social networks, blogs and other communities. It’s useful to think of earned media as developed through different types of partners such as publishers, bloggers and other influencers including customer advocates. Think of earned media as different forms of conversations between consumers and businesses occurring both online and offline.
    3. Owned media. This is media owned by the brand. Online this includes a company’s own websites, blogs, mobile apps or their social presence on Facebook, Linked In or Twitter. Offline owned media may include brochures or retail stores.

    It’s useful to think of a company’s own presence as media in the sense that they are an alternative investment to other media and they offer opportunities to promote products using similar ad or editorial formats to other media. It emphasises the need for all organisations to become multi-channel publishers.

    You can see on the diagram above that there is overlap between the three different types of media. It is important to note this since achieving this overlap requires integration of campaigns, resources and infrastructure. Content on a content hub or site can be broken down (atomised) and shared between other media types through widgets powered by program and data exchange APIs such as the Facebook API.

    Define your marketplace map

    Your online marketplace where you compete for engagement and commerce is shaped by the needs of customers and how services are provided to them through the competitors, intermediaries, influencers.

    A business owner or marketing manager who has worked with a company for a while will know their traditional marketplace inside-out, but perhaps not their online marketplace. This can be quite different in terms of customer needs and behaviours, influencers and competitors for interactions and sales.

    Since the online marketplace is less familiar and constantly evolving we suggest you create a marketplace map to understand your main customer behaviours, competitors and influencers. This is essential for consultants and agencies working with a new client or new marketplace.

    Strategy Recommendation 12 Create a marketplace map to summarise your understand- ing of the dynamic online marketplace.
    Put the customers’ current use of technology and how they will interact with your brand at the heart of your strategy.

    This visual explains the main players in the marketplace you need to review.

    Chaffey et. al. (2012) Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice FT-Prentice Hall. 5th edition.

    Then you need to drill-down to review the different marketplace influences in more detail.

    Review main marketplace influences

    Q. Main marketplace influences reviewed?

    A. Our customers

    Always start with the customer, their characteristics, behaviours, needs and wants. Your analysis should define:

    • Options for segmenting and targeting. You should apply your traditional segments, but also consider the new microtargeting options available online
    • Ideal customers. Characteristics summarised in named personas (covered in the targeting section) are useful to get started, think about demographics, searching and product selection behaviours and unmet needs
    • Target search behaviours. Search marketing is still really important as a driver of leads and sales so make sure you have good quality keyphrase analysis and an idea of how you are reaching demand – your share of search.
    What is it? Keyphrase analysis
    Keyphrase analysis involves identifying the keyphrases your customers are likely to use when searching for your products or services and the sequence they use before conversion. Potential keyphrases to be used for promotion are then selected.
    Strategy Recommendation 13 Ensure you have good visibility of customer search behav- iour against results delivered.
    Define target groups of target keyphrases and develop content strategies to reach these audiences.

    The marketplace map layout below is our suggestion on how you can summarise customer interactions with online players, particularly when search is a big part of their customer journey.

    Source: Chaffey et. al. (2012) Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice FT-Prentice Hall. 5th edition.
    B. Our market

    Market description. Focus on actionable needs and trends – are you meeting them, what are they – this insight is useful for other teams and you should find out what other teams know, what exactly is growing in the market, is there evidence you can draw from.

    C. Our competitors
    • Benchmark online marketing mix. Benchmark against competitors for your customer personas (covered in the targeting section) and scenarios against the criteria given in the strategy section, in particular their marketing mix.
    • Benchmark digital communications channel. For key digital tactics like SEO and social media marketing, it’s also important to benchmark against competitors.
    D. Intermediaries, influencers and potential partners
    • Customer use of online intermediaries. Review customer use of different types of sites which may influence their decision for example, search engines, specialist news sites, aggregators, social networks and bloggers.
    • Influencer strength. You can monitor your reputation across different influencers
    E. Wider macro environment

    These are the big picture strategic influences. We recommend you don’t go into too much depth on these, instead review the influence of the main macro factors for digital, that’s social, legal and technology in the context of customer analysis and competitor benchmarking.

    • Social – how have consumer attitudes changed?
    • Legal – checking your online marketing activities comply with privacy and online trading
    • Environment – is your approach ethical and sustainable.
    • Political – can you take advantage of government funding schemes?
    • Technology – review of the latest technology.
    F. Our own capabilities

    Once you have looked outwards (often missed), only then should you turn inwards and look at your own capabilities which can be summarised as part of the strengths and weaknesses on a SWOT. Using capability review frameworks is a great technique to summarise the current use of digital marketing in an organisation and where you want to be.

    STEP ONE : Define your structure for managing digital strategy

    Q. Approach to process for creating and managing digital strategy defined?

    Knowing where to start is often the hardest thing when writing a digital marketing plan. So once you have a structure/framework to follow in a table of contents it’s then almost a matter of filling in the gaps.

    Creating a strategy that works needs an effective overall framework and process to create the strategy. So your first step is straightforward – thinking about how you manage and create A workable strategy :

      • Is based on what’s happening in a company’s marketplace, i.e. it’s customer-centred and reviews the importance of potential partners, influencers and competitors
      • Has clear objectives to achieve a vision for the future – particularly important for digital marketing
      • Gives clear strategic direction and focus to achieve the objectives
      • Has a method of tracking and review to keep the strategy on track when you’re implementing it. We recommend 90 day planning as a method to continuously review and refine your strategy. We’ll discuss this at the end of this section.

      In all marketing strategies, it’s important to focus on building a plan around the customer – not your products and tactics. But this is particularly true online since digital marketing often involves taking advantage of new digital technologies and platforms according to how people interact with them.

      Strategy Recommendation 5 Ensure your strategy is customer-centric
      Put customers’ current use of technology and how they will interact with your brand at
      the heart of your strategy.

      Using FRAMEWORK to create and manage a strategy

      Q. Do we have the right strategy process framework in place ?

      By using a Strategic planning process framework that gives you a clear structure to work through to create and manage your plan. A Framework to help structure and manage the implementation of plans. It stands for Situation, Objectives, and Strategy, Tactics.

      Some examples of digital marketing framework that might be suitable for your business.

      • RACE: Reach >> Act >> Convert >> Engage
      • SOSTAC : Situation Analysis >> Objectives >> Strategy >> Tactics >> Actions >> Control
      • Digital Marketing Success Framework : Messaging >> Visibility >> Search Engine Optimization (SEO) >> Trust >> Authority >>Lead Generation >> Conversion
      • Demand Metric Framework : Understand >> Evaluate >> Research >> Plan >> Implement >> Measure

      On this section I will use RACE to make things more simple to follow

      RACE Planning System

      We created the RACE Planning system to give a simple framework to help small and large businesses alike plan their use of digital marketing. We hope RACE gives you a structure to help you review and prioritise your use of digital marketing when there are so many options.

      Infographic RACE Palnning System

      RACE is a practical framework to help manage and improve results from your digital marketing. Ultimately it’s about using best practice web analytics techniques to get more commercial value from investments in digital marketing. I hope it will help simplify your approach to reviewing the performance of your online marketing and taking actions to improve its effectiveness.

      3 Benefits of RACE

      • RACE is practical and action-oriented – it focuses on tactics you can implement in your digital marketing communications and on your website and mobile apps
      • RACE is customer-centred – it follows the established customer lifecycle of relationship building or marketing funnel from creating awareness; generating leads from new prospects; converting prospects to sale online or offline and encouraging loyalty, repeat sales and advocacy such as social sharing.
      • RACE integrates performance evaluation – It defines KPIs that digital marketers should include at each stage for setting target and reviewing results using analytics and summary dashboards.

      RACE consists of four steps or online marketing activities designed to help brands engage their customers throughout the customer lifecycle.

      1. Reach. Involves building awareness and visibility of your brand, products , and services on other websites and in offline media in order to build traffic by driving visits to different web presences like your main site, microsites or social media pages. It involves maximizing reach over time to create multiple interactions using different paid, owned and earned media touchpoints.
      2. Act is short for Interact. It’s a separate stage from conversion since encouraging interactions on websites and in social media. For most businesses, the main aim of Act is to generate online leads.
      3. Convert. This is simply conversion to sale, online or offline. It involves getting your audience to take that vital next step which turns them into paying customers whether the payment is taken through online E-commerce transactions or offline channels.
      4. Engage. This is long-term customer engagement and communications that is, developing a long-term relationship with first-time buyers to build customer loyalty as repeat purchases using communications on your site, social presence, email and direct interactions to boost customer lifetime value.

      For a technical part how to integrated RACE into your business, feel free to contact me 🙂

      steven.sondang[at]gmail.com | +62 813 1125 0808

      Integrating the different parts of digital strategy

      Q. Our digital marketing strategy aligns with business strategy?

      The reasons for integration are straightforward, your goals for digital should support your wider marketing strategies. Often when digital exists as a separate strategy document there isn’t good integration with wider business strategies.

      Strategy Recommendation 8 Show alignment of your digital strategy with core –
      business or marketing initiatives for the current year.
      Create a table showing how your digital strategies support current strategic business-
      initiatives. Proving this alignment to colleagues will help get buy-in from senior-
      manager colleagues since they will see directly how investment in digital marketing will support what they are trying to achieve.

      Key components of digital strategy

      As you’re constructing your overall strategy, it’s worth thinking about the main thrusts of your strategy. We will cover these from Step 4 onwards, but we thought it would be useful to introduce the main parts here and you can start outlining a longer-form digital marketing plan in a Word document if you want to use this approach rather than the shorter summaries mentioned so far.

      You will recognize many of these from traditional marketing planning. In many ways digital strategy is about revising existing marketing communications approaches which suit the unique character of the online marketplace and communications.

      A. Targeting and segmentation

      • A company’s online customers have different demographic characteristics, needs and behaviours to its offline customers. It follows that different approaches to segmentation may be required and specific segments may need to be selectively targeted though
      • Specific content and messaging on your site or elsewhere on the web. This capability for “micro-targeting” is one of the biggest benefits of digital marketing.
      • Specific targeting approaches to apply online include: demographic, value-based, lifecycle and behavioural personalisation.

      B. Positioning

      • How do you position your online products and services in the customer’s mind?
      • Reinforcing your core proposition. How do you prove your credibility?
      • Define your online value proposition. This should flow from your positioning and be what the customer sees immediately when they interact with you online.
      • Define your online value proposition. This should flow from your positioning and be what the customer sees immediately when they interact with you online.
      • Define these in key messages for different audiences, e.g. prospects against existing customers, segments with different value.
      • You need clear messaging hierarchies to effectively communicate your positioning both in online and offline media.

      C. Proposition and the marketing mix

      Particularly if you sell online, you will want to explain how you will modify the marketing mix. For example:

      • Product. Can you offer a different product range online. How can you add value to products through additional content or online services?
      • Price. Review your pricing and consider differential pricing for online products or services.
      • Place. Identify your online distribution issues and challenges. Should you create new intermediaries or portals or partner with existing sites?
      • Promotion. Discuss the problems and opportunities of the online communications mix. These will be detailed in the acquisition and retention communications strategies. Review approaches for online promotions and merchandising to increase sales. You may want to include exclusive promotions to support the growth of different digital channels, i.e. email, mobile, Facebook, Twitter.
      • People. Can you use automated tools such as FAQ to deliver “web self-service” or should you provide online contact points through Live Chat or Phone Call-back?
      • Processes. List the components of process and understand the need to integrate them into a system.
      • Physical evidence. Identify the digital components that give ‘evidence’ to customers of your credibility such as awards and testimonials
      • Partners. The eighth P. So much of marketing today is based on strategic partnerships, marketing marriages and alliances that we have added this ‘P’ in as a vital ingredient in today’s marketing mix.

      D. Brand strategy

      Gaining ‘street cred’ online is now paramount to success, how and where are you going to do that – brand favourability follows credibility and trust. So you need to understand the reasons to engage with your brand, why will people interact and recommend, or not? How will you demonstrate credibility online?

      E. Online representation or presence

      This includes your “owned media” which we explain at the start of step 2. It includes your web site strategy (one site or four, sub-domains, what are the site goals and how will they be achieved…) and priorities for social presences.

      F. Content and engagement strategy

      Ask which content will feature to gain initial interest, support the buying process (text and rich media product content and tools) and stickiness and to promote return visits (blogs and community). Remember user-generated content too, such as reviews, ratings and comments. You will have to prioritise content types and ensure you devote sufficient resource to it to create quality content which helps you compete. All effective online companies see themselves as publishers!

      G. Digital channel acquisition communications strategy

      Outline how you will acquire traffic, what are the main approaches you will use? Don’t forget to consider how you drive visitors through offline media and integrated campaigns.

      Key digital media channels for traffic acquisition include:

      • Search engine marketing (natural and paid)
      • Social media marketing and online PR (think brand strategy)
      • Partner and affiliate marketing
      • Display advertising
      • Email marketing to leads database

      Here for reference are the key digital channels we’ll review in Step 6 and our other guides.

      H. Digital channel conversion strategy

      How does the user experience, which depends on information architecture, page template design, merchandising, messaging and performance help you make it easy for visitors to engage and convert?

      I. Digital channel retention communications strategy

      Often neglected, what will be the main online and offline tactics to encourage repeat visits and sales? Again integrated campaigns involving offline touchpoints are crucial here.

      J. Data strategy

      What are your goals in permission marketing and data capture what/where/how/when/why, what tools and value adds are you going to use? You might alternatively reference these in the conversion strategy. Some of the practical implications here are covered in steps 6 and 7.

      How do you improve the quality of your customer data across channels to help increase the relevance of your messages through personalisation

      K. Integration strategy

      How you integrate traditional and digital channels should run through every section of your strategy since it’s key to success. One way to structure this is to map customer journeys across channels as channel chains.

      L. Social media marketing strategy

      We would argue that social media marketing is part of a broader customer engagement strategy plus brand, acquisition, conversion and retention strategies, but many organisations are grappling with how they get value from this, so it may help to develop an overall social media marketing strategy.

      M. Digital marketing governance strategy

      In larger organizations how you manage digital marketing is a big challenge. Questions that the governance strategy seeks to answer are how do we manage internal and external resources through changes to structures and skills needed for digital and multichannel marketing.

      Benchmarking your capabilities compared to your competitors

      Q. Marketing capabilities scored and compared to competitors?

      We’re big fans of scoring the current digital marketing capabilities of a company, so you can show your colleagues how your different digital marketing activities rate now and how they need to be improved in future. This is a core technique for arguing for additional investment in digital marketing and for reporting on progress.

      Strategy Recommendation 9 Score your digital capabilities to review how you can improve and to win the case for investment
      Use the stages in the planning framework to help create the different parts of your –
      plan. You should also assess and improve the capabilities of your organisation in each aspect of the plan. Scoring your current use of digital marketing can help persuade colleagues that you need to take action and where you need to invest more.

      You may be interested to know that this approach originated via software process capability maturity models devised by Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute4. These are used to help organizations improve their software development practices by evaluating them using different criteria of how well their processes work, for example:

      • Level 1. Unmanaged.
      • Level 2. Managed.
      • Level 3. Defined.
      • Level 4. Quantitatively Managed.
      • Level 5. Optimizing.

      Refining your digital strategy – keeping it agile with 90 day planning

      Q. Approach for managing and updating strategy defined?

      Once you have created your digital strategy defined in a plan, you should ensure it’s kept dynamic and agile not static. There will be new opportunities as social and digital technology platforms evolve and threats as competitors revise their marketing approach.

      Strategy Recommendation 10 Create an agile plan and a process to review and update
      You shouldn’t deviate from your core strategic focus, but your performance against –
      target will vary and your marketplace will change. so building in a method of adjustment is essential. We recommend you revisit your main strategic plan annually as part of annual planning, but have a system of 90 day planning where you review performance and update activities.

      Creating and reviewing a 90 day plan table helps create a process where companies can focus on activities which support strategic objectives. This can include digital marketing optimization activities that should be completed every month, but after often neglected due to a focus on campaign activities like price promotions which are planned separately.

      The idea is have a single page summary which gives clarity on a manageable number of initiatives you will work on in the 90 day period to boost performance. These will cascade down to more detailed activities.

      Recommended resource? 90 day planning

    DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY GUIDE

    Seven Steps to Success Guide

    Convincing others you need a strategy

    Creating a digital marketing strategy and plan is no different from creating any other marketing plan, in fact it’s increasingly strange to have separate plans for ‘digital’ and ‘offline’ since that’s not how your customers perceive your business.

    However, we’re often required to separate plans for “creating a digital strategy” based on the way teams and reporting are managed and to help the transformation to digital organisations – before digital marketing becomes integrated as “business as usual”.

    At the start of this guide we have to face the reality that many organisations don’t have a digital marketing strategy at all. Many organisations are doing digital marketing, but few.

    Here are a recommendations of key strategy to transform your business into digital marketing driven.

    Strategy Recommendation [1] : Create a specific digital marketing plan and roadmap!
    Create a detailed digital marketing plan defining the digital channel strategy for each major market / proposition to provide focus and direction for the future.
    Strategy Recommendation [2] : Ensure your plan is integrated
    Although you need a separate digital plan to help you create a strategy it’s important to keep it well integrated. That means supporting common business goals and consistent with brand and communication strategy.
    Strategy Recommendation [3] : Define the scope & labelling of digital-strategy
    Define which customer touchpoints and channels need managing as part of a digital strategy so the scope of digital marketing is clear amongst your coworkers and with your agencies. Depending on your type of organisation and terminology you may label the strategy differently, we have seen of all these working with different organisations.
    Strategy Recommendation [4] : Give your strategy focus
    You won’t be able to do everything, so your strategy should focus on what will make the biggest difference.

    STEP ONE >> Define your structure for managing digital strategy
    STEP TWO >> Review your marketplace opportunity
    STEP THREE >> Define your future: Vision, Objectives and KPIs
    STEP FOUR >> Strategy: Targeting
    STEP FIVE >> Strategy: Proposition
    STEP SIX >> Strategy: New customer acquisition
    STEP SEVEN >> Strategy: Keeping customers engaged and loyal