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Creating a Marketing Plan

This guide is meant to assist students in writing, preparing, and presenting marketing plans.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the area of marketing that uses digital, mobile, or online platforms to promote a company's product or service.   Digital marketing occurs exclusively on online platforms, such as social media, search engines, and websites.  Popular channels for digital marketing include:

  • Social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
  • Search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)
  • Email
  • Audiovisual online platforms (for videos, podcasts, etc.)
  • Mobile applications

Digital Marketing Plans

To create a digital marketing plan, apply the same process and steps as a traditional marketing plan.  You will need to consider different digital marketing strategies and identify the appropriate one for your target market.  You will also need to decide on the best platform(s) to implement that strategy.  These decisions will be based on your consumer base, business goals, available resources, and budget.  View our marketing plan page to learn more about creating a precise marketing plan.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a branch of digital marketing that occurs exclusively on social media platforms.  It utilizes content created by everyday people, such as social networks, blogs, message boards, podcasts, wiki pages, online communities, and vlogs.  There are different roles in the field of social media marketing, which are typically the same across all platforms (Singh, 2020):

  • Marketers: This group shares content online to help achieve the company's marketing goals.
  • Influencers: The role of this group is to contribute consumers' decisions about a particular product or service.  They are often called "social media influencers" and appear on large platforms such as YouTube and Instagram.
  • Platforms: These are the websites where the marketing content is distributed.  Social media platforms vary, so the type of marketing content will vary based on the type of platform and the content it provides.

Social media marketers should do the following to be as successful as possible:

  • Make your content persuasive in nature.
  • Use multiple platforms to distribute your content effectively.
  • Make your content inspiring.
  • Make previous content easily accessible.
  • Be prepared to receive criticism from others.

Advantages to Digital Marketing

There are several advantages to participate in digital marketing (Veleva et al., 2020):

  • It allows companies to be flexible and adaptable to changes in their external environment.
  • It can overcome geographical barriers when it comes to reaching specific audiences.
  • Results of digital marketing activities are easier to track and record.
  • It allows companies to segment their markets accurately and target their specific needs (high degree of personalization).
  • Companies can reach more audiences via social networks.
  • It is more convenient for consumers.
  • Increases traffic to the company's website.
  • It shortens the amount of time required to conduct marketing research.
  • It creates new opportunities for partnerships and business models.

Disadvantages to Digital Marketing

While digital marketing is beneficial, there are also some disadvantages (Veleva et al., 2020):

  • It can be easy to forget about traditional marketing strategies.  Many digital marketing strategies are a result of developing traditional marketing techniques, so it is important to apply traditional marketing principles to the digital realm.
  • Not everyone has access to technology, so digital marketing may miss a large portion of your target market.
  • It makes your marketing strategies open to competitors, who may "borrow" your ideas.
  • Requires the company to create relationships with those they cannot meet in-person.
  • Privacy issues: Consumers may be weary of digital marketing techniques due to privacy issues related to collecting personal data online.  Distrust often leads to poor reception of digital marketing strategies.
  • Digital marketing may not be appropriate for all types of products or services.
  • Digital marketing is dependent on technology, so they must function properly in order for digital marketing to run successfully.
  • There are several digital tools available for digital marketing, so it can be difficult to select the most appropriate one.
  • Information about an organization must be updated consistently.

Digital Marketing Strategies

There are several digital marketing strategies that utilize different technologies (Tangelo, 2021):

  • Website development
    • New websites can reach new audiences and achieve new business objectives
    • Can be hosted by a third party vendor.
    • Successful websites should be user-friendly, quick to load, mobile friendly, visually appealing, and easy to find.
  • Social media marketing
    • Provides consumers with content that they will want to share with others.
    • Utilizes social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook.
      • Examples: videos, images, etc.
  • Blogs
    • Shares a company's news with consumers.
    • Can be integrated into social media platforms for increased traffic.
  • Search engine optimization
    • Increases traffic and awareness of a brand by ensuring a company's website appears in top results in free search engines.
    • Helps consumers find information on your brand.
    • Uses search engines like Yahoo!, Google, and Bing.
  • Paid advertising (online)
    • Targets loyal and ideal customers.
    • Exposes products and services to a target market through digital visuals and displays.
    • Utilizes an advertising channel or search engine to advertise the company.
      • Examples: Sponsored social media posts, celebrity endorsements, etc.
  • Website analytics & reporting
    • Analyzing website data to summarize traffic patterns and consumer behaviors.
    • Detects potential weaknesses in a website.
      • Examples: Google Analytics, etc.
  • Email marketing
    • Uses a company's email network to promote products or services.
      • Examples: e-newsletters, business updates, etc.
  • Content creation
    • Creating informative, interesting, and useful content to attract an audience.
    • Drives traffic to a website and generate a high internet ranking.
  • Games and gamification (Veleva et al., 2020)
    • Creating a game for a mobile device or game system that is intertwined with your organization's mission or brand.  This often requires tending to users' desires in a game, or it will be unsuccessful.
      • Example: mobile application, computer game on the company's website, etc.

The most appropriate digital marketing strategy will depend on your target audience and market.  Not all target markets respond well to digital marketing, so it is important to ensure that your target market is knowledgeable of the technology that you utilize.

Digital Marketing Tips

The following tips can assist you in creating a successful digital marketing plan (Parkin, 2014):

  • Understand the business's vision: Do not begin creating a marketing plan until you have a clear vision!  This is necessary for aligning the goals of the marketing plan to the organization.  This may require market research to understand your target market.
  • Be customer-oriented: It is a good idea to view everything through the lens of your consumers because it will demonstrate the potential success of a plan or idea.
  • Keep your original marketing approach: You should avoid radically restructuring an existing marketing approach, especially if it works well for both employees and consumers.  New approaches should be implemented based on the existing methods, or introduced gradually to replace the existing one.
  • Align the plan with existing marketing processes: Digital marketing activities should be connected to traditional ones, such as a print ad containing a company's website information.
  • Project management: Implement project management techniques to ensure timely completion of marketing activities.
  • Technology should complement the marketing strategy. Technology should not decide the marketing strategy you use.  You should define the marketing strategy you wish to implement, then select the best technology for that strategy.
  • Determine consumers' communication preferences.  Your digital marketing strategy should match those preferences.
  • Be open to exploring new potential markets: Digital marketing allows you to overcome geographical barriers, which can expand your consumer market dramatically.
  • Success happens over time.  With the right time and investment, a digital marketing plan will provide long-term success.
  • Be prepared for increased consumer demand: Successful digital marketing plans can increase demand unexpectedly.  Make sure that the business has the amount of supplies, employees, and resources to provide for the increased consumer demand.

Digital Marketing Resources

The following journals and journal articles are available through the library to help you develop digital marketing strategies:

Be sure to view our digital marketing eBook list on the left side of this page.  Need more help locating sources on digital marketing?  Try searching our EBSCO eBook Collection!