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Strategy Formulation and Plan

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Importance of performing a SWOT analysis

Before deciding on any new strategy, every organization should conduct a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis focuses on four key areas:

  • Strengths: Identify the strengths of the organization that give you an advantage over competitors.
  • Weaknesses: Identify the weaknesses that result in disadvantages compared to your competitors.
  • Opportunities: Identify the opportunities that you can exploit to your advantage.
  • Threats: Identify the threats that can cause trouble to the business or the brand.

Ensure your SWOT is customer-facing

It is important to ask your customer-facing departments (Sales, Marketing, Customer Service) to review your SWOT analysis to ensure that you have not missed anything.

  • Start with a customer list. It’s always a good idea to create a list of customer respondents to start with.
  • Supplement the list with demographic profile information that you specify as a custom field, such as industry, customer type, products purchased, and so on.
  • Conduct some qualitative research to uncover what’s important to your customers when they are buying what you are selling. You can ask open-ended questions and then tighten those up with some specific attributes that play a critical role in how customers choose to purchase your products or services. You need to be specific. Don’t simply say “price” — this is useless. Use criteria such as “walking distance from my home” as an example.
  • Do several short surveys to gauge what your customers see as your strengths.This could be as simple as creating a list of strengths and asking if they describe your company, with the answer options being Yes or No. Also, be sure to list elements that you think are your weaknesses or that you aren’t sure you do well and see if your customers agree.
  • Ask customers about external influences. Remember that opportunities and threats are also a component of your SWOT and you can survey your customers to find out how the opportunities and threats that you perceive impact them. Do they have similar opportunities and threats or widely different ones?
  • Match your strengths with suitable opportunities which can support them. An example: if the company has low costs and can therefore maintain low prices, and the market demands low-priced products, make the most of this situation: penetrate the market.

Periodical reviews

Review your SWOT analysis periodically – maybe quarterly or on a half-yearly basis - and ensure that it is current and fit for purpose. Reviewing your SWOT for chances to convert weaknesses and threats into opportunities or strengths is also an important way to leverage the SWOT and inform strategic decisions. It is particularly important to review it when:

  • Your market changes. The way that people buy a retail product, like food, is changing. Now many people don’t buy food by going to a store. Maybe they buy it online, or maybe their refrigerator orders it for them. That’s a buying pattern changing, which means the market is changing. You need to be aware when such changes happen.
  • Your company targets new audiences. You also need to be aware when there’s a change in target audience. People are now constantly switching between channels, and moving from one device to another. They are consuming content differently. So you might want to serve ads differently to different audience segments, to meet their changing needs and preferences.
  • You make significant changes to your website. When you make changes to your website, it’s important to ensure your SWOT is still relevant.

Identifying priority audiences

It is important to prioritize audiences to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts. It’s a good idea to identify your top three priority audiences. You can identify these based on measures like profitability, the value they bring, the length of time they have been customers, and so on. Basically, they are your most profitable, most valuable customers, and you want them to stay with you, not to churn, so that you don’t spend more money acquiring them again. Create customer personas and map out the customer journeys of these top priority audiences.

Be aware that digital marketing priority audiences will likely differ to traditional audiences.

Ranking priority audiences

In order to discover their true return, rank priority audiences based on the following two criteria: value and accessibility.

  • Value – How much value does this particular audience present? How much effort should we put into acquiring them?
  • Accessibility – How easy is it to reach different audiences? Should we alter our approach depending on the audience?

Audience personas

An audience persona is a description of a specific person who might want to buy your services or products.

The components of an audience persona are:

  • Demographic information
  • A day in the life of
  • Needs
  • Motivations
  • Preferences
  • Biographical information
  • A photo/image

Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.

Appropriate channels

It’s important to identify the most appropriate channels to employ, based on the demographic profile of your target audience. You need to ask yourself, which channels are your audience personas using? How are they consuming content? What are their preferences? What is their day-to-day pattern on the internet? The most appropriate channels for different age groups are:

  • Users 18-25: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat
  • Users 26-40: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, SEO, and PPC
  • Users over 40: Facebook, Email Marketing, Digital Advertising
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Satarupa Banerjee

Satarupa Banerjee holds an MBA from Cranfield University and an MSc from University College of Science and Technology. She has extensive experience across numerous industries including insurance, retail, healthcare and banking. Currently, she heads Direct Marketing Products in Direct Line Group where she has delivered several CRM campaigns. In the past she has also held roles as Customer Value Strategies Manager, Change Manager, and Sales Performance Manager.

Satarupa Banerjee

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE

Strategy Formulation and Plan
Satarupa Banerjee Satarupa Banerjee
Skills Expert

This module focuses on using strategic planning to drive marketing activities that will enable a business to win a competitive advantage. It covers assessing internal capabilities and addressing skills gaps, benchmarking, information gathering, SWOT analysis, evaluating digital channel tactics, and strategy implementation. It also covers documenting a digital strategy using SMART criteria and knowing how to evaluate the effectiveness of a digital strategy using KPIs, targets, and marketing analytics.

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