In this blog I will be addressing the importance of building an effective E-Marketing plan, as well as detailing the seven step plan. This plan acts as a comprehensive guide in formulating the strategy for E-Marketing, as well as the most effective way to implement and control all relevant marketing activities. Making this plan is crucial for any organization in the highly digital business environment of today. Although objectives are often similar with those of more traditional marketing plans, such as driving sales, the internet has posed a much more unique environment. As addressed in the previous blog, the E-World is growing at an endless rate with customers demanding immediate responsiveness. In the internet world, this requires companies to react faster than they have in the past and can single-handedly cause their failure. However, marketers can leverage and utilize their knowledge of technology and the new ways of doing business to reach their objectives and fulfill e-marketing strategies even more effectively and efficiently. The book presents the following steps in the Seven-Step E-Marketing Plan, which is a very comprehensive plan and allows the organization one more opportunity for meeting their objectives.
This step brings together many different information resources, including all those in the environment inside and outside the organization, including customers, suppliers, business environment, and other variables. This can be done by using the SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to evaluate the changing tastes of consumers, an ever-changing marketplace and business trends amidst technological advancements, changes amongst the competition, and various other steps in environmental scanning. The environment can pose legal, technological, and market-related factors that are relevant to all decision makers in the business world. The company should also look over the current marketing plan and do internal investigation to find more information about their company to give light to strengths to capitalize on or weaknesses to overcome. According to MyClicks LLC, a provider of B2B SEO solutions, “The first step towards preparing a successful e-marketing strategy is conducting a thorough analysis of the current situation and recent industry trends” (MyClicks LLC, Press Release). I cannot agree with this statement more and without the scanning completed and done correctly, all the other parts of the plan are irrelevant and will lead to misguided results. Once this scanning has been completed, the relevant decision makers can look over objectives, strategies, and performance metrics to eventually formulate into quantifiable objectives.
E-Marketing strategic planning
Once the previously completed environmental scanning is done, the organization will complete their strategic plan to establish a clear vision. The fit between their objectives, skills, and resources with the market opportunities will be measured. This will contribute greatly to the creation of e-marketing objectives that can be met by capitalizing on these discovered opportunities. These help to formulate the tier 1 Strategies for the plan and include segmentation, targeting, differentiation, and positioning. Many forms of analysis are completed at this time and include the market opportunity analysis, demand and supply analysis, and segment analysis.
The previously formulated strategies lead to the measurable objectives which are goals that the organization is pursuing. These objectives are based on task, measurable quantity, and time frame. These specifications are crucial in the E-World where results are expected to be instantaneous, extremely effective, and reached as quickly as possible. Most interactive plans incorporate many objectives, but one of the most important parts is that they are measurable. This sets a benchmark that can be used to gauge performance and can be changed from year to year to focus on what is most important or what is their greatest opportunity. The typical e-business focuses on ROI for nearly all their investments and allows it to guide nearly all their decisions in measuring objectives.
Product, Price, Place, and Promotion are incorporated in this tier of the strategy for E-Marketing. This tier pulls together the customer and partner relationship management strategies to fulfill the previously selected objectives, but leaves the ability to modify them as needed. The strategies for fulfilling the offer, value, distribution, communication, and relationship management are created based on the 4 P’s and the extreme importance of the customer as an end user or partner. One very important resource in this time is to utilize an objective—strategy matrix. These help to link goals and strategies and aid in the implementation of new strategies by discovering what the focus should be placed on, as well as how to reach the goal most effectively.
This section is where the creative side to marketing really comes into play, as well as the importance of the previous steps in the plan. Without the previous steps being properly created, the implementation part would be a very trivial task. However, if the steps have been done well, especially the fourth, it should be relatively easy to engineer the methods for reaching the objectives. This can be done by leveraging the knowledge of the marketing mix and the relationship management tactics to reach their goals effectively and efficiently.
This portion of the plan can be a bit tricky, but with the right processes in place an appropriate budget can be put into place. This consists of forecasting revenues and evaluating costs to reach goals. As highlighted in our E-Marketing book by Strauss and Frost, as well as our lectures, the cost to reach ratio is much lower than using any other form of media to reach the target market. ROI is introduced yet again to guide the decisions among the whole process of the planning, implementation, and control, and allows the most return from any investment. With advancements that allow companies and decision makers on every level to monitor choices so well, efforts are immediately determined worthwhile or not and the plans can therefore be altered as necessary before it is too late. One tool I was introduced to was the analytics tool for a webpage, which measures many variables and would guide a marketing manager on a wide perspective of how the site and business overall is doing, as well as target efforts more effectively.
This may very well be the most important part of the plan, for it measures the effectiveness and efficiency of the plan, as well as determines if it was worth the effort. Thee metrics that were determined earlier are put up against actual performance and continue to be evaluated. This process is seemingly never-ending, and is crucial to the success of the plan for the future. The objectives aid marketers in determining what should be measured and how, but again the ROI is a leading factor. The organization could not reasonably justify having the cost placed into the marketing department if no result is gained.
Overall E-Marketing Concept and Implementation by My Clicks. Carson City, NV, March 13, 2008. Accessed from PR.com May 30, 2009 at http://www.pr.com/press-release/75972.
Strauss, Judy and Raymond Frost. E-Marketing. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 2008.