Evaluating the micro-environment for digital marketing plans

The micro-environment should be reviewed along with the macro-environment as part of the situation analysis stage of digital marketing planning to inform strategies and tactics.

The main factors to consider which are summarized in a digital channel SWOT are :

  • Customers. Digital marketing propositions and communications should be based around the customer – their characteristics, technology usage, behaviours, needs and wants summarized as a customer persona.
  • Marketplace analysis. Including intermediaries, influencers and potential partners and their role in affecting the path-to-purchase. This involves identifying and reviewing the main online influences on purchase behaviour and can be usefully summarized in a customer journey map. There are many influences to consider, including keywords used in search engines, publisher media sites, blogs, review sites and social networks. Marketplace analysis also involves reviewing opportunities and threats from digital media and technology, including new business and revenue models.
  • Competitors. It is essential to understand how organisations compete in a particular marketplace; benchmarking customer propositions and communications activities against direct and indirect competitors and out-of-sector businesses can identify opportunities for new approaches and digital marketing activities that need to be improved. These should be summarized in online competitor benchmarking
  • Internal review or digital performance analysis. Another major part of the situation involves an inward-looking, internal review of the effectiveness of existing digital marketing approaches. This will include reviewing current results from digital marketing by review of key performance indicators (KPIs) and dashboards and the organisational capabilities and processes used to manage digital marketing, summarised as strengths and weaknesses. 


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Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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