Principles of e-Marketing
© Otilia OTLACAN
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
- example of an e-marketing plan (main
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
Lets see what do we call a marketing plan?
It is the result of the planning activity, a document that includes
a review of the organizations 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
- Declaring the mission: this is the planning stage
when we establish the organizational orientations and intentions,
thus providing a sense of direction. In most cases, this is a
general presentation of the companys intentions and almost
has a philosophic character.
- Establishing current objectives: it is essential for
the organization to try to determine with preciseness the objectives
to be reached. These objectives, in order to be viable, must
be SMART. As we remember from the Class 4, SMART is an acronym
and stands for Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Realistic and
Timed. The objectives must also convey the
general organizational mission.
- Gathering information: this stage is based on the
concept of marketing audit. After performing the audit of the
macro-environment by analyzing the STEP factors (social, technologic,
economic and politic), we should turn the focus upon the immediate
extern environment (the micro-environment) and analyze the competition
structure, the costs and the market. Finally, we will conclude
with the SWOT analysis, by this way we will have a general view
upon the internal environment compared to the external one. The
SWOT analysis combine the two perspectives, from the inside and
from the outside, because the Strengths and the Weaknesses are
internal issues of an organization, while the Opportunities and
Threads come from the outside.
- Re-formulating objectives: after the close examination
of data gathered in the previous stage, sometimes it is needed
to re-formulate the initial objectives, in order to address all
the issues that might have come up from the previous stage. The
distance between the initial objective and the re-formulated
objective will be covered by appropriate strategies. We must
ensure the re-formulated objective is SMART as well.
- Establishing strategies: several strategies are to
be formulated, in order to cover the distance between what we
want to achieve and what is possible to achieve, with the resources
at our disposal. As we would usually have several options, we
should analyze them and chose the one with more chances to achieve
the marketing objectives.
- Plan of actions: consists in a very detailed description
of the procedures and means to implement the actions we want
to take. For example, if the strategy implies a raise in advertising
volume, the plan of actions should establish where the advertisements
will be placed, the dates and frequency of the advertising campaigns,
a set of procedures to evaluate their effectiveness. The actions
we plan to take must be clearly formulated, measurable, and the
results must be monitored and evaluated.
- Implementation and control: consist in the series
of activities that must be performed in order to run the marketing
plan in accordance to the objectives set by the marketer. At
this stage, it is critical to gain the support of all members
if the organization, especially when the marketing plan is due
to affect the organization from its grounds.
- Performance measurement: constitutes the last but
not the less important stage of the marketing plan, since we
can achieve only what we can measure. In order to measure the
performances achieved through the marketing plan, we need to
constantly monitor each previous stage of the 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
- Strategic analysis: consists in continuous scanning
of the macro- and micro-environment. The accent should fall on
the consumers needs that change very rapidly in the online
market, as well as on surveying the competitors actions
and evaluating the opportunities offered by new technologies.
- Defining strategic objectives: the organization must
have a clear vision and establish if the media channels will
complement the traditional ones, or will replace them. We must
define specific objectives (dont forget to check if they
are SMART!) and we must also specify the contribution of the
online activities to the organizations turnover.
- Formulating strategies - we do that by addressing
the following essential issues:
- develop strategies towards the target markets;
- positioning and differentiating strategies;
- establish priorities of online activities;
- focus attention and efforts on CRM and financial control;
- formulate strategies for product development;
- develop business models with well-established strategies
for new products or services, as well as pricing policies;
- necessity for some organizational restructuring;
- changes in the structure of communication channels.
- Implementing strategies: includes careful execution
of all necessary steps to achieve established objectives. It
could refer re-launching of a website, promo campaigns for a
new or rewritten site, monitoring website efficiency and many
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)
The e-marketing plan
- Executive Summary
- overview upon present conjuncture;
- key aspects of the strategic e-marketing plan.
- Situational Analysis
- characteristics of the e-market;
- possible factors of success;
- competitors analysis;
- technological factors;
- legal factors;
- social factors;
- possible problems and opportunities.
- The e-Marketing Objectives
- product profile;
- target market;
- sales objectives.
- The e-Marketing Strategies
- product strategies;
- price strategies;
- promotion strategies;
- distribution strategies.
- Technical Issues
- website content;
- website searcheability;
- logging security (for customers and staff);
- customer registration procedure;
- order forms and feedback forms;
- access levels to online resources;
- credit card transactions;
- website hosting;
- website publishing;
- technical staff (size, requirements)
Keywords: marketing plan, e-marketing plan, mission,
objectives, strategies, actions, control, measure.
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