E-Marketing Plan: Part IIThe second part of your e-marketing plan is a situational analysis and an e-marketing strategic plan. As a reminder, the creation of an e-marketing plan can be viewed on pages 58–67 of the textbook. The situational analysis should include the components listed below (refer to page 60 for an example).Include an introduction.Provide a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis, including a chart and explanation of each element.Include an analysis of the external changes that will affect your company, including political, economic, sociocultural, and technological (PEST) factors.Determine segmentation criteria that would apply to your company.Identify the target market.Include a positioning statement.Your paper should use the  Unit IV Template  and must be at least two pages in length. You are required to use at least two sources; one can be your textbook, and the other source(s) should be from a credible source in the CSU Online Library. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations and be cited per APA guidelines.
E-Marketing Plan: Part II The second part of your e-marketing plan is a situational analysis and an e-marketing strategic plan. As a reminder, the creation of an e-marketing plan can be viewed on page
6 N&B Kids’ Toys Marketing Plan Casidy Landry Columbia Southern University Internet Marketing Principles Unit II N&B Kids’ Toys Marketing Plan Introduction This paper looks at the N&B Company Kids’ Toys E-Marketing Plan. The work plan includes a brief description of the company, business model, products offered by the company, and industry analysis. Description of the Company N&B is one of the new companies selling kids’ toys in the market. The customers of this new brand of kids’ toys are between 20 to 35 years old. According to the findings from the marketing segment, this age group buys more kids’ toys per capita than the older persons. Most of these customers originate from Midwest and northeast. Almost 60 percent of the market is full of tough competition from other companies like Fossil, Swatch, and many others (Gilligan, 2012). Our company exhibits comprehensive experience in manufacturing and innovation of high-quality timing devices, which allows us to provide our customers with valuable and new branded fashion toys. We also have experience in distributing products into 80 percent of all outlets for new branded toys. The company’s primary objective is to establish a mixture of unique products that are cost-effective to enable us to introduce a 5 percent market share in the first year of operation. The kids’ toys market plan will begin operating from the year 2022. Business Model The N&B kids’ toys will successfully compete with many other brand fashioned toys. The size of the market for the new branded fashion toys is predicted to be $500 million retail dollars by the end of 2022. This is expected to rise to $700 million by the year 2025. The market’s growth per year is also likely to go beyond 7 percent through the year 2025. This will exceed the current year’s sales growth. Product The focus for N&B Company is to manufacture, design, and distribute kids’ toys across the markets in the world. The company will introduce between 40 to 50 varied designs in its first year of operation. These will be targeted at consumers aged 25 years and above. These are individuals with first or second born in their families. The company will also have varieties of products as well as character designs across the lines. One of the most unusual aspects across our bar will be unique shapes, be it hexagonal or tetragonal. Industry Analysis In as much as we experience competition from almost 25 competitors, we always exhibit substantial concentration. Some of these competitors include Kline, Guess, Fossil and Swatch. Some of these hold 60 percent of the market (Wilson, 2010). We are also informed that despite the existing competitors, there are other considerable opportunities for fresh entrants the way Guess and Fossil have demonstrated it. We hope that our firm and innovative products, products design, and strong manufacturing skills and experience will enable us to compete successfully. We will also make good use of continuous advertising (Gilligan, 2012). This will lead to the increased popularity of our products in the market. Our resilience also will put us at the upper hand in the continuous distribution of the products irrespective of the challenges we face. SWOT Analysis Strengths- We use innovative methods of production that can provide the potential for fresh designs and experience in distribution channels for timely products. Weakness- We do not have experience in supply to stores located in inland countries Opportunities – We are proud of large markets and the faster growth of the market. Threats- Strong competition will be our primary threat. References Frost, R., Fox, A. K., & Strauss, J. (2019). E-marketing (8th ed.). (Pages 58–67) Routledge. https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781351744843 Gilligan, C. (2012). Strategic marketing planning and the marketing plan. In Strategic Marketing Planning (pp. 55-88). Routledge. Wilson, R. M. (2010). Strategic Marketing Planning and the Marketing Plan. In Strategic Marketing Planning (pp. 51-80). Routledge.
E-Marketing Plan: Part II The second part of your e-marketing plan is a situational analysis and an e-marketing strategic plan. As a reminder, the creation of an e-marketing plan can be viewed on page
4 Your Title Your Name Columbia Southern University Course Name Instructor Name Date Note: This is a template for your E-Marketing Plan: Part II. The italicized areas are for instructional purposes only and should not be included in your document. Your Title Situation Analysis This is an introduction to the situation analysis and should include the importance of the analysis and an overview of this paper. SWOT Analysis Strengths – Strengths are INTERNAL (e.g., well-trained employees, solid financial position, recognized in the community). Weaknesses – Weaknesses are INTERNAL (e.g., lack of trained employees, poor financial position, new to the community). Opportunities – Opportunities are EXTERNAL (e.g., high unemployment provides a large pool of potential employees; there is a strong demand for your product, so there is an increased interest in shopping online). Threats – Threats are EXTERNAL (e.g., downturn in the economy reduces the discretionary income of customers, increased fear by consumers concerning data breaches, strong competition). External Changes Discuss how each of these external forces might affect your company. Not all of them may be a factor; however, if that is the case, explain why. Political Economic Sociocultural Technological Segmentation Criteria What are the criteria that you are using to identify your target market? Why have you chosen these criteria? How do they relate to your product? Target Market Include a summary of your target market based on the previously discussed segmentation criteria. Positioning Statement What is the positioning statement of your company? A positioning statement is the desired perception of your company/brand by the consumer in relation to the competition. See page 61 of the textbook. References The References page is a separate page at the end of the document. The Citation Guide, which is provided in the Student Resources tab within Blackboard, can help with the proper APA guidelines. Everything on the References page must be cited in the body of the paper, and everything cited in the paper must be on the references page.
E-Marketing Plan: Part II The second part of your e-marketing plan is a situational analysis and an e-marketing strategic plan. As a reminder, the creation of an e-marketing plan can be viewed on page
The Venture Capital E-Marketing Plan Small to mid-sized firms and entrepreneurs with start-up ideas often begin with a napkin plan and do not initially go through the entire traditional marketing planning process. One reason is that one or two leaders generally plan the whole venture, intuitively understanding the marketing environment and how their hot new idea is positioned for success. Such was the case for Jerry Yang and Dave Filo when in 1994 they started Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web—later named Yahoo! However, as the company grew and needed capital, Jerry and Dave had to put together a comprehensive e-marketing plan. Without an emphasis on strategic planning, Yahoo! would not have been an internet survivor. Where does an entrepreneur go for capital? Some of it is debt financed through bank loans, though most of it is equity financed. Start-up companies tap private funds (friends and family), angel investors, and venture capitalists (VCs). Angel investors provide funds with fewer requirements than those of venture capitalists. In general, friends and family are the smallest sources of capital; angel investors invest hundreds of thousands of dollars; and venture capitalists invest millions of dollars. Some banks, corporations, and consulting firms have established venture capital branches to finance internet start-ups. Some VCs even finance companies operated out of college dorm rooms. Crowdfunding has grown as a popular method to raising capital to fund a business. The Coolest Cooler was a project released on Kickstarter that raised over $13 million to create a cooler on wheels with a speaker system built-in (see more at kickstarter.com). There are tremendous amounts of venture capital available for innovative businesses that utilize the internet. In 2016, total venture capital financing in the US was over $69 billion (“Venture Pulse,” 2017). The conventional wisdom is that money is scarce, but talent is really the scarce resource. Obviously, investors aren’t stupid. They are looking for a well-composed business plan, and, more importantly, a good team to implement it. After all, it was Steve Jobs that drove Apple Computer to be the success it was. This kind of thinking relieves some of the planning pressure on entrepreneurs but does not eliminate the need for planning to maximize organizational resources. The plan prepared by entrepreneurs for VCs should be about 8-10 pages long and contain enough data and logic to prove that 1) the e-business idea is solid and 2) the entrepreneur has some idea of how to run the business. In addition to product benefits and costs, it should include information about the competition, the target market and its potential, and the cost to acquire and retain customers. Venture capitalists typically look for an exit plan—a way to get their money and profits out of the venture within a few years. The golden exit plan is to go public and issue stock in an initial public offering (IPO). As soon as the stock price rises sufficiently, the VC cashes out and moves on to another investment. VCs don’t even pretend that all their investments will be successful. But even if 1 out of 20 is an Amazon.com or Facebook.com, the risk is well worth the reward. The employees of these start-ups typically work for very low wages—deferring their compensation in stock options. Of particular interest to investors are projects that tap new markets with high margins. First came a boom in B2C investments, and then B2B investments, and now social media investments. As soon as observers feel that the markets are becoming saturated, another opportunity arises. Now it is mobile marketing that is taking off. A Seven-Step E-Marketing Plan The seven key planning elements are 1) situation analysis, 2) e-marketing strategic planning, 3) plan objectives, 4) e-marketing strategy, 5) implementation plan, 6) budget, and 7) plan for evaluating success (Exhibit 3.2). We cannot overemphasize the need to include feedback mechanisms to assess the plan’s success and to use in making course corrections along the way. In fact, some marketers recommend contingency plans that if reached will invoke strategy refinement. EXHIBIT 3.2 E-Marketing Plan Process A good way to think about the marketing plan is through the analogy of preparing for a football game. While reviewing game films, a situation analysis reveals each team’s strengths and weaknesses (e.g., the home team has a good passing game, the visitors have an excellent run defense). A likely objective would then be to win the game by throwing the ball. Strategies are developed to meet this objective (e.g., use play action to draw in the coverage; throw deep). Next, tactics implement the strategies (e.g., use a play action pass on first down; run on second down to keep them honest; pass on third down). Finally, Monday morning quarterbacking provides the postgame evaluation. Step 1—Situation Analysis As with creating a business or marketing plan, the best place to start an e-marketing plan is to conduct a situation analysis. The marketing environment is ever changing, providing plenty of opportunities to develop new products, new markets, and new media to communicate with customers, plus new channels to reach business partners. At the same time, the environment poses competitive, economic, and other threats. Three key environmental factors that affect e-marketing and are part of any situation analysis are legal, technological, and market-related factors. They are covered in depth in Chapters 4, 5, and 7, as well as in the “Let’s Get Technical” boxes throughout the text. The SWOT analysis flows from a situation analysis that examines the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses with respect to the environment and the competition and looks at external opportunities and threats. Opportunities may help to define a target market or identify new product opportunities, while threats are areas of exposure. For example, when Amazon.com launched as an online bookstore in the mid-1990s, it had no significant competition. Its biggest threat was a full-scale push by a large bookstore chain to claim the online market. The company’s greatest weakness was that it had no experience selling books or even processing credit card transactions. What’s more, it had no experience boxing books for shipment and originally packed them on the floor until a visiting carpenter suggested building packing tables (Spector, 2000). The company’s greatest strength was a smart and talented team that stayed focused and learned what it didn’t know. Fortunately for Amazon, the big stores were caught napping. The delay by the bookstore chains gave Amazon the opportunity to establish its online brand at a time when many firms didn’t fully understand the power of the internet. Barnes & Noble (bn.com) did not fight back until Amazon was on the eve of a stock offering. By then it was too late. Further proving Amazon’s strategy skills, CEO Jeff Bezos began experimenting with brick-and-mortar stores in 2015. However, the threats are not over for Amazon or any company. Amazon’s 2016 annual report lists a number of potential risk factors, including increasing competition, resource constraints, expansion risks, performance fluctuations, data security issues, and foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations (“Amazon Annual Report,” 2017). Bear in mind that a company’s strengths and weaknesses in the online world may be somewhat different from its strengths and weaknesses in the brick-and-mortar world. For example, Amazon is worried about data security and intellectual property. Barnes & Noble has strengths in the brick-and-mortar world, but this did not necessarily translate into strengths in the online world. Barnes & Noble can easily find itself in the unfortunate position of channel conflict—having to explain to channel partners why customers can purchase for less online than in the store. Step 2—E-Marketing Strategic Planning After reviewing the situation analysis and currently used marketing plans, marketers engage in strategic planning. As you recall from Chapter 2, the strategic planning process involves determining the fit between the organization’s objectives, skills, and resources and its changing market opportunities. For clarification throughout the book, we present these tasks as tier 1 strategies, including segmentation, targeting, differentiation, and positioning. During this phase, marketers uncover opportunities that help formulate the e-marketing objectives. Marketers conduct a market opportunity analysis (MOA), including both demand and supply analyses, for segmenting and targeting. The demand analysis portion includes market segmentation analyses to describe and evaluate the potential profitability, sustainability, accessibility, and size of various potential segments. Segment analysis in the B2C market uses descriptors such as demographic characteristics, geographic location, selected psychographic characteristics (such as attitude toward technology and mobile communication device ownership), and past behavior toward the product (such as purchasing patterns online and offline). B2B descriptors include firm location, size, industry, type of need, technological savvy, and more. These descriptors help firms identify potentially attractive markets. Firms must also understand segment trends—are they growing or declining in absolute size and product use? Companies use traditional segmentation analyses when they enter new markets through the online channel; however, if the firm plans to serve current markets online, it will delve more deeply into these customers’ needs. Which of the firm’s customers will want to use the internet? How do the needs of customers using the organization’s website differ from those of other customers? For example, most internet users expect e-mails to be answered within 48 hours but will be satisfied if a postal letter is answered within weeks. In addition, firms often discover new markets as these customers find their way to social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest. Marketers can use Web analytics to discover how best to serve these new markets. The purpose of a supply analysis is to assist in forecasting segment profitability as well as to find competitive advantages to exploit in the online market. Only by carefully analyzing competitive strengths and weaknesses can a firm find its own performance advantages. Therefore, companies should review the competition, their e-marketing initiatives, and their strengths and weaknesses prior to developing e-marketing initiatives. They must also try to identify future industry changes—which new firms might appear online, and which will drop away? For example, who could have envisioned Facebook’s successful growth in 2005 to 2008 when Myspace was the hugely popular social network at the time? With a thorough MOA, the company can select its target market and understand its characteristics, behavior, and desires in the firm’s product category. Furthermore, firms will want to understand the value proposition for each market. For example, marketers at Jay’s Ice Cream might decide to target several Hispanic markets. In doing so, the company first assesses its strengths as having a strong customer service department and websites. Its weaknesses, however, include having a low-tech corporate culture and a seasonal nature to its business. A pending security law means that Jays could face costly software upgrades, as the company’s main competitor, Ruby’s Soft Serve, begins to aggressively use Facebook for marketing purposes. Jays recognizes that Hispanic markets are growing and untapped in the industry and that they could save on postage costs if they engage in Facebook marketing. Another tier 1 step in e-marketing strategic planning is identifying brand differentiation variables and positioning strategies. Based on an understanding of both the competition and the target(s), marketers must decide how to differentiate their products from competitors’ products in a way that provides benefits perceived as important by the target. In the case of Facebook, management opted to add third party applications to differentiate the site from its competitor, Myspace. Flowing from this differentiation is the positioning statement: the desired image for the brand relative to the competition. If the positioning strategy was already decided upon in the traditional marketing plan, e-marketers must decide whether it will be effective online as well. If planning for a new brand or market, e-marketers must decide on branding strategies of differentiation and positioning at this point in the process. Step 3—Objectives In general, an objective in an e-marketing plan includes the following aspects: task (what is to be accomplished) measurable quantity (how much) time frame (by when). Assume that Chevrolet wants to increase the number of visitors to the “Build & Price” page on its website from 215,000 to 216,000 in one year. This type of objective is easy to evaluate and is a critical part of the e-marketing plan. The plan will often include the rationale for setting each objective—why each is desirable and achievable given the situation analysis findings, e-marketing, and e-business strategy. Even though e-commerce transactions are revenue producing and an exciting dimension of an e-business presence, other objectives are also worthwhile, especially when the firm is using technology only to create internal efficiencies such as target market communication to build long-term customer relationships. In fact, most e-marketing plans aim to accomplish multiple objectives, such as the following: increase market share increase the number of comments left on a blog increase the sentiment of comments to 5:1—positive: negative increase sales revenue (measured in dollars or units) reduce costs (such as distribution or promotion costs) achieve branding goals (such as increasing brand awareness) increase database size achieve customer relationship management (CRM) goals (such as increasing customer satisfaction, frequency of purchases, or customer retention rates) improve supply chain management (such as by enhancing member coordination, adding partners, or optimizing inventory levels). An important part of the planning process is to define potential revenue streams, using a viable business model from Chapter 2. The organizational e-business plan might contain a SWOT analysis like the Jay’s Ice Cream example, leading to the firm adopting an e-business model of e-commerce. E-marketers take over from here, setting a measurable objective of generating $500,000 from e-commerce sales within the first year. Step 4—E-Marketing Strategies Next, marketers use the 4 Ps to craft strategies to achieve plan objectives regarding the offer (product), value (pricing), distribution/supply chain (place), and communication (promotion). Further, marketers design CRM and partner relationship management (PRM) strategies. For clarification, we call these tier 2 strategies throughout the book. In practice, tier 1 and tier 2 strategies are interrelated (Exhibit 3.3). For example, marketers select the best target market and identify a competitive product position, which dictates the ideal type of advertising, pricing, and so forth. Steps 2, 3, and 4 are an iterative process because it is difficult to know what the brand position should be without understanding the offer that comprises the brand promise (i.e., the benefits the firm promises to customers). Tier 2 strategies discussed in detail in subsequent chapters. The Offer: Product Strategies The organization can sell merchandise, content, services, or advertising on its website. It can adopt one of the e-business models discussed in Chapter 2, such as online auctions, to generate a revenue stream. The firm can create new brands for the online market or simply sell selected current or enhanced products in that channel. Such analyses will reveal many opportunities. If the firm offers current brands online, it will need to solve many different problems, such as the way colors appear differently on a computer screen than in print. The most astute firms take advantage of information technology capabilities to alter their online offerings. For example, the Porsche AR – Imagine app uses augmented reality to allows users to customize a Porsche vehicle, examine it from numerous angles, and even take it for a test drive. The Value: Pricing Strategies A company must decide how online product prices will compare with offline equivalents. To make these decisions, firms consider the differing costs of sorting and delivering products to individuals through the online channel as well as competitive and market concerns. Two particularly important online pricing trends are the following: Dynamic pricing. This strategy applies different price levels for different customers or situations. For example, a first-time buyer or someone who hasn’t purchased for many months may receive discounted prices to motivate purchase, or prices may drop during low demand periods. The internet allows firms to price items automatically while users view pages. Online bidding. This approach presents a way to optimize inventory management. For instance, hotels allow guests to bid for hotel rooms on slow days, instructing its reservation agents to accept various minimum bid levels depending on occupancy rates for any given day.Priceline.com, eBay.com, and many B2B exchanges operate exclusively using this strategy. Distribution Strategies Many organizations use the internet to distribute products or create efficiencies among supply chain members in the distribution channel. Consider the following examples: Direct marketing. Many firms sell directly to customers, bypassing intermediaries in the traditional channel for some sales. In B2B markets, many firms realize tremendous cost reductions by using the internet to facilitate sales. Agent e-business models. Firms such as eBay and E*TRADE bring buyers and sellers together and earn a fee for the transaction. Marketing Communication Strategies The internet spawned a multitude of new marketing communication strategies, both to draw customers to a website and to interact with brick-and-mortar customers. Firms use webpages, social media, and e-mail to communicate with their target markets and business partners. Companies build brand images, create awareness of new products, and position products using online content. Database marketing is key to maintaining records about the needs, preferences, and behavior of individual customers so companies can send relevant and personalized information and persuasive communication at strategic times. Relationship Management Strategies EXHIBIT 3.4 E-Marketing Objective-Strategy Mix Many e-marketing communication strategies also help build relationships with a firm’s partners, supply chain members, or customers. However, many firms up the ante by using CRM or partner relationship management (PRM) software to integrate customer communication and purchase behavior into a comprehensive database. They then use CRM software to retain customers and increase average order values and lifetime values. Social CRM is a recent development that uses social media conversation to engage and build relationships with prospects and customers. Other firms build extranets—two or more proprietary networks linked for better communication and more efficient transactions among partner companies. One informative way to present the company’s goals and accompanying e-marketing strategies is through an objective–strategy matrix, an example of which is shown in Exhibit 3.4. This graphical device helps marketers better understand their implementation requirements. Each cell contains a yes or no, depending on how the marketer will link particular goals and strategies. Step 5—Implementation Plan Now comes the fun: deciding how to accomplish the objectives through creative and effective tactics. For example, at Halloween, GoPro posted an Instagram video of people skydiving while dressed as witches and riding broomsticks, in an effort to connect with its audience and take advantage of the Halloween season in a creative way. Marketers select the marketing mix (4 Ps), relationship management tactics, and other tactics to achieve the plan objectives and then devise detailed plans for implementation (the action plans). They also check to be sure the right marketing organization is in place for implementation (i.e., staff, department structure, application service providers, and other outside firms). The right combination of tactics will help the organization meet its objectives effectively and efficiently. E-marketers pay special attention to information-gathering tactics because information technologies are especially adept at automating these processes. Website forms, cookies, feedback e-mail, social media comments and likes and online surveys are just some of the tactic’s firms use to collect information about customers, prospects, and other stakeholders. Other important tactics include the following: Website log analysis software helps firms review user behavior at the site and make changes to better meet the needs of users. Business intelligence uses the internet for secondary research, assisting firms in understanding competitors and other market forces. Step 6—Budget A key part of any strategic plan is to identify the expected returns from an investment (ROI). These returns can then be matched against costs to develop a cost/benefit analysis, for ROI calculation, or for calculating internal rate of return (IRR), which the management uses to determine whether the effort is worthwhile. Marketers today are especially concerned with adequate return on marketing investment (ROMI). During plan implementation, marketers will closely monitor actual revenues and costs to see that results are on track for accomplishing the objectives. The internet is terrific for monitoring results because technology records a visitor’s every click. The following sections describe some of the revenues and costs associated with e-marketing initiatives. Revenue Forecast The firm uses an established sales forecasting method for estimating the site revenues in the short, intermediate, and long terms. The firm’s historical data, industry reports, and competitive actions are all inputs to this process. An important part of forecasting is to estimate the level of website traffic over time, because this number affects the amount of revenue a firm can expect to generate from its site. Revenue streams that produce internet profits come mainly from website sales, advertising sales, subscription fees, affiliate referrals, sales at partner sites, commissions, and other fees. Companies usually summarize this analysis in a spreadsheet showing expected revenues over time and accompanying rationale. Intangible Benefits The intangible benefits of e-marketing strategies are much more difficult to establish, as are intangible benefits in the brick-and-mortar world. How much brand equity is created, for example, through an American Airlines program in which customers receive periodic e-mail messages about their frequent-flyer account balances? What is the value of increased brand awareness from a website? Putting a financial figure on such benefits is challenging but essential for e-marketers. Cost Savings Money saved through internet efficiencies is considered soft revenue for a firm. For example, if the distribution channel linking a producer with its customers contains a wholesaler, distributor, and retailer, each intermediary will take a profit. A typical markup scheme is 10 percent from manufacturer to the wholesaler, 100 percent from wholesaler to the retailer, and 50 percent to the consumer. Thus, if a producer sells the product to a wholesaler for $50, the consumer ultimately pays $165. If the producer cuts out the intermediaries (disintermediation) and sells its product online directly to the consumer, it can price the product at $85 and increase revenue by $30. Whether this approach translates into profits depends on the cost of getting the product to the consumer. Other examples include the $5,000 a marketer might save in printing and postage for a direct-mail piece costing $1.00 per piece to 5,000 consumers, or the $270 million Cisco saved in one year on handling costs for its online computer system sales. E-Marketing Costs E-marketing entails many costs, including costs for employees, hardware, software, programming, and more. In addition, some traditional marketing costs may creep into the e-marketing budget—for example, the cost of offline advertising to draw traffic to the website (e.g., GoDaddy. Om’s Super Bowl ads). For simplicity, this section will discuss technology-related cost items only. See the “Let’s Get Technical” box for the steps required to build a website. Consider that the cost of a website typically ranges from $5,000 to $50 million. Following are just a few of the costs site developers incur: Technology costs. This includes software, hardware, internet access or hosting services, educational materials and training, and other site operation and maintenance costs. Site design. Websites need graphic designers to create appealing page layouts, graphics, and photos. Salaries. All personnel who work on website development and maintenance are included in the budget. Other site development expenses. Expenses not included in the technology or salary categories will fall here, such as registering multiple domain names and hiring consultants to write content or perform other development and design activities. Marketing communication. All advertising, public relations, and promotions activities, both online and offline, that relate to drawing site traffic and enticing visitors to return, and purchase are included here. Other costs include search engine optimization (SEO), online directory costs, e-mail list rental, prizes for contests, and more. Let us Get Technical Building a website You have been added to the team charged with redesigning your company’s website. You have heard that colleagues in graphic design and information systems will also be on the team. You are not sure who is responsible for what function or even what all the issues are. You would like to appear articulate and informed in the meetings. How are professional websites actually built? The process is similar in some ways to building a home. In home building, an architect works with clients to determine their needs, draws up a design to meet those requirements, and then hands that design over to a developer who builds the home. The sequence moves from requirements to design to development. Similarly, the marketing department draws up a creative brief that specifies in detail the requirements for the site and specific design elements (e.g., fonts and colors that will go into the site). The next step is to create a mockup of the homepage and a few interior pages in a design tool such as Adobe Photoshop. Mastery of Photoshop and of design theory in general requires training and practice. In a large shop, the marketing department would look to the visual communication or graphic design team to produce the design. The design is run past the client and adjustments are made. Once the design is finalized, the development team takes over. The development team takes the design and makes it functional. The development team has five major goals for the site. The site should be: Easy to update. Content changes should be easy to implement. Ideally, an input screen should allow an authorized user to type or paste content directly into the site without technical assistance. Any continuous updates such as stock feeds or weather updates should be programmed to take place automatically, without human intervention. Optimized for quick download. Each page on the site should load on the user’s computer within seconds. Research shows that users have little patience for slow sites. Optimizing involves compressing the graphic elements on the page as GIF, JPEG, or PNG files. GIF files are used for line art that has areas of flat color (e.g., a corporate logo) and support having one color transparent so that white backgrounds disappear. JPEG is used for continuous tone images such as photographs. PNG files do the best of both. Adobe Flash and HTML 5 allow for animation and movies. Text does not require compression because it loads quickly. Easy to find. The site should be easy for search engines to index and find. Among other things, this accessibility involves the careful placement of key word terms in locations that the search engines will rate highly. Interactive. Simple interactivity is generated by including hyperlinks to link the pages together. However, more complex interactivity can require some sophisticated programming. Examples of complex interactivity include the following: a search box on the site validation of user input (e.g., checking to see that the e-mail address contains an “@” symbol or that a credit card number is valid) processing of transactions such as shopping carts and checkout user logins connection to backend databases, which could be public databases such as sports scores, news feeds, stock tickers, and weather updates. They could also be private databases containing sensitive company or personal account information. Interactivity is accomplished using development tools such as Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Visual Web Developer. These tools develop computer code in HTML, JavaScript, Java, Flash, and a variety of other computer languages. Mastery of these tools requires a considerable degree of training and practice. 5. Secure. In this age of hackers and viruses, the site needs to be protected against malicious attack. Oftentimes, organizations attempt to quantify the dollar value of their exposure to attack to determine whether to even continue with development. Want to try it yourself? There are some great online site development tools that are free. Two of the more impressive tools are Wix and Google Sites. Both create a polished-looking site. Wix has more options, but Google Sites (especially the new Google Sites) is a bit easier to use. If you have a Gmail account, then you are already authorized to use Google Sites (find it under the “More > Even More” menu on the Google homepage). Google Sites integrates well with other Google products such as YouTube, Google Docs, and Google Gadgets. Google’s seamless integration makes it a fairly easy exercise to create an interactive site—something that only a few years ago would have required lots of coding expertise. Social media communication. Staff costs can really escalate when companies engage customers on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media pages. Organizations should also allocate resources to monitoring their brand and other company mentions in social media so they can catch and respond to negative posts. Miscellaneous. Other typical project costs might fall here—expenses such as travel, telephone, stationery printing to add a new URL, and more. Step 7—Evaluation Plan Once the e-marketing plan is implemented, its success depends on continuous evaluation. This type of evaluation means e-marketers must have tracking systems in place before the electronic doors open. What should be measured? The answer depends on the plan objectives. Review the Balanced Scorecard for e-business and social media metrics (in Chapter 2) to see how various metrics relate to specific plan goals. In general, today’s marketers are quite ROI driven. As a result, e-marketers must show how their intangible goals, such as brand building or CRM, will lead to higher revenue down the road. Also, they must present accurate and timely metrics to justify their initial and ongoing e-marketing expenditures throughout the period covered by the plan. For example, the huge German chemical company, BASF, must provide an ROI measure for its global search engine advertising. It is very difficult to follow lead activity because website leads are sent to salespeople worldwide, who take many months to close the deals. Chapter Summary The e-marketing plan is a guiding, dynamic document for e-marketing strategy formulation and implementation. The purpose is to help the firm achieve its desired results as measured by performance metrics according to the specifications of the e-business model and e-business strategy. Creating an e-marketing plan requires seven steps. The first is to conduct a situation analysis by reviewing environmental and SWOT analyses, existing marketing plans and company/brand information, and e-business objectives, strategies, and performance metrics. In the second step, e-marketers perform strategic planning, which includes a marketing opportunity analysis to develop segmentation, targeting, differentiation, and positioning strategies (tier 1 strategies). In the third step, e-marketers formulate objectives, usually setting multiple objectives; they may use an objective–strategy matrix to guide implementation. In the fourth step, e-marketers design e-marketing strategies for the 4 Ps and relationship management (tier 2 strategies). In the fifth step, e-marketers develop an implementation plan with a suitable 4 Ps marketing mix, select appropriate relationship management tactics, design information-gathering tactics, and select other tactics to achieve their objectives. They must also devise detailed implementation plans during this step in the process. In the sixth step, e-marketers prepare a revenue forecast to estimate the expected returns from the plan’s investment and detail the e-marketing costs to come up with a calculation that management can use to determine whether the effort is worthwhile. In the final and seventh step of the plan, e-marketers use tracking systems to measure results and evaluate the plan’s success on a continuous basis.

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