In this article we will talk about PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Planning Framework, which is a marketing model by PR Smith and included in his book in 2004. SOSTAC® is an acronym that represents Situation Analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action and Control. Here we will see each section of the acronym and deepen in each of its applications. Before we start any further, I write about various types of marketing. It would be great if you can check those out at Kevin Lobo !!!
SOSTAC® – The Perfect Marketing Plan !!!
Digital advertisers may already be familiar with Paul Smith from previous books. Some are eMarketing, eXcellence or Marketing Communications. With his latest e-book, Smith analyzes in depth the framework he has developed, called SOSTAC®. If you want to create a true eCommerce business that thrives irrespective of the downturns, you need to build an agile, strategic approach to your business.
#1. Situation Analysis
To understand this your organization must ask one question “Where are we now ?“. The first thing one has to do is determine the situation, and the potential presence on the Internet right now. Then go to do industry analysis and review your services, resources, strengths and weaknesses. Which can be used to implement areas for improvement and areas to highlight your strengths.
Points to be noticed in Situation Analysis Phase :
- Goal performance : Performance goals are short-term objectives that are specific to specific tasks or tasks in your current job. These objectives are usually related to the general objectives of the company or specific management objectives. They help you to know what is expected of you in your situation. To be effective, it is important to be clearly defined and easy to measure.
- Customer insight : We have identified customer vision as a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of customer problems. As product managers and marketers, our mission is to ensure the identification, development and delivery of products and services that add value to customers in a way that distinguishes us from competitors and provides value to the organisation.
- Marketplace SWOT : It is all about knowing the Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat of a market that you are going to applying SOSTAC® on. Every market has some strength and weakness. It is your job as a marketer to find out these and prepare a good marketing plan.
- Internal capabilities & resources : An organisation’s capability refers to the way its people and systems work together. A company’s culture is defined by how management fosters talent, mindsets, and collaboration. It also tells us that we should analyse our people and systems efficiently.
#2. SOSTAC® Objectives
The question to ask here is “Where do we want to get to?“. The goals of the organisation is prepared. Using this they can formulate their strategies effectively. What is your incentive? What do you wish to achieve? Setting a goal like, what numbers do we want to achieve, possibly a certain amount of customers, for your customer base? What kind of reputation will you achieve through your actions? How much will this cost to do and how much time?. These are most important questions to be asked in Objective phase.
There are 5 points to be remembered while formulating objectives.
- Sell: Start with your most important transactions that lead to revenue and profit! That’s sales. If you don’t sell online, the leads that your online marketing will deliver which will convert through to sales or donations if you’re a not-for-profit. Customer acquisition & retention targets.
- Serve: Paying attention to the quality of service you offer is also key to support your capability to Sell, Speak, Save and Sizzle. Create process and ways to monitor and improve Customer satisfaction targets.
- Sizzle: Sizzle is about building your brand online. Think about what makes for a positive online brand experience is for your audience and you. Every industry has it’s different ways. It is also based on how effectively you keep your visitors engaged to your product/services. Site stickiness, Visit duration.
- Speak: Here after a great sales, you have to excel as communications channels to engage your audience. We recommend creating detailed conversion or budget models which allow you to set goals by channel for reaching and influencing your audience. Number of engaged customers
- Save: You must show the value you earn by using online cost savings to reduce service costs and provide them in traditional media, such as printing and publishing.This is more convenient for a multichannel retailer or service company that can set goals for the number of downloaded catalogs or the number of service transactions compared to other channels.
#3. SOSTAC® Strategy
The best question to ask here is “How do we get there?“. Once you know the objectives i.e. where you want to go, you can plan for strategies. What all things you can do to achieve the objectives is strategy. Following are things to be remembered during planning a strategy.
- Segmentation, targeting and positioning
- OVP (online value proposition)
- Integration (consistent OVP & database)
- Tools (web functionality, e-mail etc.)
How will you deliver your results from the goals that you wish to achieve? Which customers should you focus on? What is your over all intention and message towards your customers? How will this challenge or stand against your competitors? These are the questions to be asked in this phase.
#4. SOSTAC® Tactics
The question to ask here is “How exactly do we get there?“. In strategy phase we plan on how to achieve the objectives. Tactic phase is the details of strategy phase. It tells us what all we can do to implement the strategy. Some Tactics which can be used to implement strategies are :
- E-marketing mix, including: the communications mix, social networking, what happens when?
- Details of contact strategy
- E-campaign initiative schedule
What techniques do you plan to use? Which of your experience will be most effective in what you are trying to achieve? Email marketing? Ad campaign? What data do we have on our customers that we can apply to this? What tools and techniques are available that will improve our methods?. All these questions can be useful in using tactics.
#5. SOSTAC® Action
This part of framework is focused on how to bring your plan to life, to make actionable measures. For the purpose of this case study, the following tactics were listed and below each tactic, procedures were included to ensure that each was considered before launch. This is not a comprehensive list but outlines what to consider:
Tactic 1: Affiliate Networks & Influence Marketing
Affiliate Program – What is the competition doing? e.g. commission tiers, online marketing tools made available to publishers, volume of affiliates.
Business Development – Have we built up a working relationship with the affiliate program and will they assist in identifying and recruiting key affiliates to the program.
Tactic 2: Email Marketing
Tracking/Software – Is the email software tool being used effectively? Are we tracking performance of email delivery and tracking email effectiveness such as click-through rates, open rates, conversion to sale?
What are the goals that are to take place each day to get you closer to what you want to achieve? Who would be best at what you wish to achieve from your team, that possesses these particular skills? Do you need to hire someone to do it? What would be your return of investment if you do? When should it be done and how long will it take to do it? Do you need extra support from external sources? If so, what is it that you need and what would be the best way to acquire it?
#6. SOSTAC® Control
The final stage is to plan how you plan to monitor and measure your performance based on the objectives set out in the second phase. Tactics have been considered and your control section provides you with a series of control panels designed for each method. It is also important to communicate your concerns with the wider team to ensure that you have a purchasing plan for the company. Here are some of the Metrics used in Control phase.
- Usability testing(A/B)/mystery shopper
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Site visitor profiling
- Frequency of reporting
- Process of reporting and actions
Have you achieved what your goal was? What responses have you received since the application launch? How many people are visiting your site? What are people talking about your business? Have you achieved your budget target or did you need to spend more to achieve? What would you do differently next time that would improve your next strategy to be effective even more?
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Here are some additional PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Planning resources
- SOSTAC® Video (4 mins) www.SOSTAC.org
- SOSTAC® Planning Framework (60 mins) video clips – online Udemy course https://www.udemy.com/_sostac_plan/
- SOSTAC® Certified Planner (20 hours) – online course www.SOSTAC.org
- SOSTAC® Guide to your Perfect Digital Marketing Plan http://tinyurl.com/qe79473
- SOSTAC® Blog: www.PRSmith.org/blog
- SOSTAC® Groups are also on Facebook & Linkedin