A generic strategic approach

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Strategy process model

A framework for approaching strategy development.

Marketing planning

A logical sequence and a series of activities leading to the setting of marketing objectives and the formulation of plans for achieving them.

A strategy process model provides a framework that gives a logical sequence or 'roadmap' to follow to ensure inclusion of all key activities of strategy development and implementation. In a marketing context, these strategy development and implementation activities are coordinated through a marketing plan, and the process of creating this is known as 'marketing planning'. McDonald (2003) defines marketing planning simply as:

The planned application of marketing resources to achieve marketing objectives ... Marketing planning is simply a logical sequence and a series of activities leading to the setting of marketing objectives and the formulation of plans for achieving them.

McDonald (2003) distinguishes between strategic marketing plans which cover a period beyond the next financial year (typically three to five years) and tactical marketing plans which cover detailed actions over a shorter time period of one year or less.

For Internet marketing, a similar distinction is useful. We suggest that a longer-term strategic Internet marketing plan should be developed in large organisations, which places emphasis on three key areas. First, early identification of changes to competitive forces in the micro-environment and significant changes in the macro-environment. Second, developing value propositions for customers using online services as part of their buying process. Third, definition of the technology infrastructure and information architecture to deliver these value propositions as a customer experience. It could be argued that the third issue is part of tactical planning, but the reality is that new technologies and new information architectures such as a customer relationship management system are major investments which can take several years to specify, select and implement. This long-term plan provides a two-to-four-year roadmap of the infrastructure for e-commerce as noted by some interviewees in E-consultancy (2005) research.

Figure 4.4 shows an overall strategy process model for strategic Internet marketing. An alternative perspective was presented in Figure 1.9 in order to introduce the role of strategy development into the first three chapters.

Shorter-term, tactical or operational Internet marketing plans then address actions specific to the current time such as specification of Internet marketing activities to support current marketing objectives. Alternative shorter-term plans include:

• Web site design and build plan. A plan to relaunch an existing web site or to create a new company web site or campaign microsite. Includes specification of online and offline marketing communications to support a web site launch or relaunch.

• Specialist online marketing communications plans. These are plans for specific digital marketing tools, featured in more details in Chapters 6 to 9. They include:

- search marketing plan

- affiliate marketing plan

- e-mail communications or e-newsletter plan

- interactive advertising and sponsorship

- mobile marketing campaign

- web analytics plan.

Figure 4.4 A simple framework for Internet marketing strategy development

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