Digital marketing planning is a term used in marketing management. It describes the first stage of forming a digital marketing strategy for the wider digital marketing system. The difference between digital and traditional marketing planning is that it uses digitally based communication tools and technology such as Social, Web, Mobile, Scannable Surface. Nevertheless, both are aligned with the vision, the mission of the company and the overarching business strategy.
Stages of planning
Using Dr Dave Chaffey’s approach, the Digital Marketing Planning (DMP) has three main stages; Opportunity, Strategy and Action. He Suggests that any business looking to implement a successful digital marketing strategy must structure their plan by looking at opportunity, strategy and action. This generic strategic approach often has phases of situation review, goal setting, strategy formulation, resource allocation and monitoring.
To create an effective DMP a business first needs to review the marketplace and set ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound) objectives. They can set SMART objectives by reviewing the current benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the company and competitors. It is pertinent that the analytics used for the KPIs be customised to the type, objectives, mission and vision of the company.,
Companies can scan for marketing and sales opportunities by reviewing their own outreach as well as influencer outreach. This means they have competitive advantage because they are able to analyse their co-marketers influence and brand associations.
To cease opportunity, the firm should summarize their current customers’ personas and purchase journey from this they are able to deduce their digital marketing capability. This means they need to form a clear picture of where they are currently and how many resources they can allocate for their digital marketing strategy i.e. labour, time etc. By summarizing the purchase journey, they can also recognise gaps and growth for future marketing opportunities that will either meet objectives or propose new objectives and increase profit.
To create a planned digital strategy, the company must review their digital proposition (what you are offering to consumers) and communicate it using digital customer targeting techniques. So, they must define online value proposition (OVP), this means the company must express clearly what they are offering customers online e.g. brand positioning.
The company should also (re)select target market segments and personas and define digital targeting approaches.
After doing this effectively, it is important to review the marketing mix for online options. The marketing mix comprises the 4Ps – Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Some academics have added three additional elements to the traditional 4Ps of marketing Process, Place and Physical appearance making it 7Ps of marketing.
The third and final stage requires the firm to set a budget and management systems; these must be measurable touchpoints such as audience reach across all digital platforms. Furthermore, marketers must ensure the budget and management systems are integrating the paid, owned and earned media of the company.The Action and final stage of planning also requires the company to set in place measurable content creation e.g. oral, visual or written online media.
After confirming the digital marketing plan, a scheduled format of digital communications e.g. Gantt Chart should be encoded throughout the internal operations of the company. This ensures that all platforms used fall in line and complement each other for the succeeding stages of digital marketing strategy.