Do you want to begin with marketing online, but don’t know where to start? You will need to follow a certain framework to know the benefits of digital marketing and avoid the pitfalls.
Visser, Berend and Berry (2018) talks about a 7 step strategic approach to internet marketing. Let’s take a look at these steps.
First, you have to decide what you or your organization wants to accomplish and write down your goals. I recommend using the SMART method. It stands for:
S – Specific – it has to be clear and sensible: make sure to describe it precisely.
M – Measurable – make sure you can measure it in time, actions, currency and other units.
A – Acceptable – the goal has to be acceptable and attractive enough for you and your co-workers.
R – Relevant – it has to be realistic enough to feel/know that it’s achievable. It’s easy to go out of line and make goals that are hardly achievable.
T – Time Based – always set time for each and every goal. A SMART goal therefore has a clear starting time and a clear end date. This will keep you focused and motivated.
2. Market analysis
In this step you are going to analyze the market. What is the current and the future situation in the market? To do that, you may use a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. To analyze the market, you are going to mostly use Opportunities and Threats, cause these two are external.
Opportunities: New ideas? New product? New market? Make sure to inspect every possibility.
Threats: These may include things that might potentially harm your business. Competitors, financial risks… you name it.
3. Organization analysis
In this step you du basically the same as in step 2. Typically, Strengths and Weaknesses are considered internal factors, cause they are the result of organizational decisions, but you may also analyze internal Opportunities and Threats. It’s important to find out if you can improve the technology, resources or competence, or/and if you need to to some changes.
Strengths: What are the things your company does well? It may be an unique product, or your name, norms or your people.
Weakness: What’s holding your business back? Be critical and self-aware.
This is the point where you are going to need to be as critical as possible. Go through the results of your SWOT analysis and make a plan for what you need to change.
5. Segmentation, Target Market and Positioning (STP)
You may have already had your segment, but after the SWOT analysis you may have found other relevant target markets for your business. Find your customer.
6. Objectives and Marketing Mix
What do you have to change to reach the customer? Here comes the Marketing Mix (4P’s). Using the SWOT analysis outcome, decide how your 4P’s: Product, Price, Place and Promotion are going to look like. Maybe you just need to do some small changes in Promotion and Price? Maybe you need to upgrade the product? There is no right answer, it depends on your personal business, your customers needs and SWOT.
The last step: plan for what your business is going to have to go through to reach the goal. You may have to make changes in your technology. You may need to change the amount of resources. You may even need to change some of your organizational methods get to where you want to be.
It’s important to have a plan while striving for success. Clear strategic steps is the only thing that will keep you focused on your goals. There are many other factors that affect online marketing, but learning the 7 step strategy is a good start.
Visser, Marjolein, Berend Sikkenga & Mike Berry. 2018. Digital Marketing Fundamentals. Groningen: Noordhoff Uitgevers
SWOT Analysis – WordStream