Principles of e-Marketing  © Otilia OTLACAN

 

CHAPTER 7:

The e-Marketing Plan

 

 

Chap ter highlights:

- What is a marketing plan?
- the general model of a marketing plan
- the general model adapted to e-marketing specifics
- example of an e-marketing plan (main titles)

As you remember, chapters 5 and 6 introduced you to the concepts of planning in the e-marketing world. In this class, we will discuss how to develop an e-marketing plan, which is the ultimate document to be used in order to implement and control your marketing activities.

 

7.1. Summary of a marketing plan

The marketing planning (concretized in the marketing plan) is an essential organizational activity, considering the hostile and complex competitive business environment. Our ability and skills to perform profitable sales are affected by hundreds of internal and external factors that interact in a difficult way to evaluate. A marketing manager must understand and build an image upon these variables and their interactions, and must take rational decisions.

Let’s see what do we call a “marketing plan”? It is the result of the planning activity, a document that includes a review of the organization’s place in the market, an analysis of the STEP factors as well as a SWOT analysis. A complete plan would also formulate some presumptions on why we think the past marketing strategy was successful or not. The next phase shall present the objectives we set, together with the strategies to achieve these objectives. In a logical sequence, we will further need to evaluate the results and formulate alternative plans of action. A plan would consist in details of responsibilities, costs, sales prognosis and budgeting issues.

In the end, we should not forget to specify how the plan (or plans) will be controlled, by what means we will measure its results.

We will see how to build the marketing plan, what is its structure: after we will see how to build the traditional marketing plan, we will take a look at the e-marketing plan and see how the unique features of the internet will require some changes in the approach of writing a marketing plan.

But, before we continue, we must understand and accept that steps of the marketing plan are universal. It is a logical approach of the planning activity, no matter where we apply it. The differences you meet from a plan to another consist in the degree of formality accorded to each phase, depending on the size and nature of the organization involved. For example, a small and not diversified company would adopt less formal procedures, because the managers in these cases have more experience and functional knowledge than the subordinates, and they are able to achieve direct control upon most factors. On the other hand, in a company with diversified activity, it is less likely that top managers have functional information in a higher degree than the subordinate managers. Therefore, the planning process must be formulated to ensure a strict discipline for everyone involved in the decisional chain.

 

7.2. The general marketing plan

The classical marketing plan would follow the following scheme of 8 stages:

The marketing plan

 

You probably noticed in the scheme of the marketing plan that we have a feedback cycle. That is because sometimes during the planning process, we might need to perform stages 4 to 8 several times before the final plan can be written.

 

7.3. The e-marketing plan

The e-marketing plan is built exactly on the same principles as the classical plan. There is no different approach, but there might be some formal differences given by the uniqueness of the internet environment. Many of these differences come from the necessity to ensure a high rate of responsiveness from the customers, since the e-world is moving faster and requires faster reaction from its companies, compared to the traditional offline marketplace.

Even though it is perfectly acceptable and is a common practice to use the 8-stage classic model for the e-marketing plan as well, you might want to consider the simplified version proposed by Chaffey, who identifies four major steps to build the e-marketing plan:

Note : a common strategy to achieve e-marketing objectives is the communication strategy. The steps to built a coherent communication plan are presented in the additional course materials.

 

7.4. The e-marketing plan (sample titles)

  1. Executive Summary
    1. overview upon present conjuncture;
    2. key aspects of the strategic e-marketing plan.
  2. Situational Analysis
    1. characteristics of the e-market;
    2. possible factors of success;
    3. competitors’ analysis;
    4. technological factors;
    5. legal factors;
    6. social factors;
    7. possible problems and opportunities.
  3. The e-Marketing Objectives
    1. product profile;
    2. target market;
    3. sales objectives.
  4. The e-Marketing Strategies
    1. product strategies;
    2. price strategies;
    3. promotion strategies;
    4. distribution strategies.
  5. Technical Issues
    1. website content;
    2. website “searcheability”;
    3. logging security (for customers and staff);
    4. customer registration procedure;
    5. multimedia;
    6. autoresponders;
    7. order forms and feedback forms;
    8. access levels to online resources;
    9. credit card transactions;
    10. website hosting;
    11. website publishing;
    12. technical staff (size, requirements)
  6. Appendix
  7. Bibliography

The e-marketing plan

 

 

Keywords: marketing plan, e-marketing plan, mission, objectives, strategies, actions, control, measure.

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