Have you ever done a SWOT analysis? That process where you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. As a quick refresher, your strengths and weaknesses are items internal and typically within your control. Whereas, opportunities and threats are external items that are outside of your control, which you account for through your marketing mix. Items such as regulation, economic conditions, competition, etc. The digital marketing environment is very similar in this aspect, with two major elements – a micro and macro-environment.
While your strengths and weaknesses focus on your internal environment, the micro-environment is shaped by your customers, competitors, intermediaries, and suppliers. When operating within a micro-environment, it’s important to understand the behaviors of these individuals in order to create an effective digital marketing strategy. The macro-environment is comprised of forces that impact the success of your programs and are beyond your control; much like the ‘threats’ in your SWOT analysis. Things like legislation, technology, social change, political influences, etc). One of the biggest ways to gather intelligence is through data analysis. Organizations like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon offer data through an application programming interface (APIs). The data provided can help to understand the influences that impact the customer journey and their purchasing behaviors.
Just as you create a target audience, segment into various target markets, create data-driven personas, document your customer journey, an online marketplace map helps you to understand the potential influence of various digital sites. There are three elements in the online marketplace map: customer segments, search intermediaries and intermediaries, influencers and media/publisher sites, and finally destination sites and platforms.
Since I have blogged before about building data-driven customer segments, let’s dig a little deeper into the search intermediaries and intermediaries, influencers, and media/publisher sites. One of the first things you do when you launch your website is to make sure you submit your website to the main search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yandex. Additionally, incorporating search engine marketing, using both SEO and PPC will help drive traffic to your site, therefore, hopefully generating leads and moving them through your sales funnel. Once you have traffic hitting your website, you can then start to evaluate the type and volume of phrases through Google Analytics (your site should be connected to this as well!) and by looking at websites such as www.askthepublic.com to understand the type and volume of phrases used for products or services in your market category. Once you understand your market category volume, you can calculate your share of search to determine potential opportunities.
Intermediaries and influencers help to drive additional traffic to your website through search or directly. It’s important to evaluate potential news media sites (high authority), niche industry websites, social media, price-shopping sites, affiliates, and bloggers. Bloggers can drive engagement through their relationships with their audiences helping to drive credibility and trust for your business.
One of the strongest driving factors for digital marketing is the ability to measure the effectiveness of your marketing programs. Utilizing ‘demand analysis,’ you can identify opportunities for generating online sales based on the actual use of digital media by your target consumers. Demand analysis evaluates the volume and share of consumers who have access to the digital channels, use specific online services in their decision process, are influenced by and purchase using the digital channel. Analyzing these various factors can help better understand the needs and wants of your target market and which digital channels offer the highest opportunity to engage and retain your customers.