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Creating Strategy Driven Digital Marketing Plan with SOSTAC® Model

Updated: Aug 30, 2018

Originally created in the 1990s by writer and speaker PR Smith, the SOSTAC® framework has built an authoritative reputation as the framework of choice for different scales of business including multinational and start-up organizations across the world as the basis of the great marketing plan.

Strategy-Driven Transformation requires 6 steps:

I. Situation Analysis (Where are we now?):

The situation should provide an overview of your organization – understanding how we are performing, what are our distinctive competitive advantages, how effective our Marketing Mix, are we focusing on the best segments with the right type of customers and are we using the most appropriate channels for communication and distribution? and how you interact and trade online by addressing internal and external factors impacting the business.

This section should be painting a picture of your organization and to do this, consider using some of the following methods to bring this section to life:

  1. Goal Performance (5S’s): Explained in details in the Objectives section

  2. Customer Insight (who, why, how?)

  3. Market Trends

  4. Competitor Analysis: who are your competitors? How do they compete? e.g. price, product, customer service, reputation, what are their key differentiators?

  5. E-Marketplace SWOT Analysis: what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the whole organization.

  6. Brand Perception

  7. Internal Capabilities and resources

(For guidance this section should take 20% of your total planning time)

II. Objectives (Where do we want to be?):

Clarify Business mission as well as Business, Marketing, communication objectives and use the SMART (Specific with numbers, Measurable by monitoring progress and confirm achievements, Actionable that can do it, Reasonable and realistically attainable, Timed with incorporating deadlines) test for objectives. Help list an overview of goals for the business by 5S’s objectives;

  1. Sell: Growing sales, achieving through wider distribution to customers can’t serve offline. Setting customer acquisition and retention targets such as online sales or conversion rates.

  2. Serve: Adding Value, achieving through giving customers extra benefits online. Customer satisfaction targets such as increasing no. of customers using online services

  3. Sizzle: Extending the brand online, achieving through providing a new proposition and experience online. WoW factor (added value), site stickiness, visit duration

  4. Speak: Get closer to customers by creating a two-way dialogue through digital channels, gather research & information. Setting targets on a number of engaged customers, followers.

  5. Save: Saving cost through using digital technology (communications, sales, service, transactions etc) Quantified efficiency gains such as targeting web self-service usage.

(For guidance this section should take 5% of your total planning time)

III. Strategy (How do we get there?):

Strategy means how do you plan to get there in terms of fulfilling the objectives set. The strategy section should also identify which segments of the market you aim to target with your plan by answering three key questions on Segmentation;

  • How do we want to divide up to market(s)?

  • Targeting; Which segments of the market do we wish to focus upon?

  • Positioning; how do we want to be perceived in each different target segment?

Helps provide a big picture plan to achieve the goals by using:

1. STOP Model

  • Segmentation

  • Target markets

  • Objectives

  • Positioning (OVP – Online Value Proposition)

2. SIT Model

  • Sequence of Tools (Trust, Try, Buy…): Credibility before visibility

  • Integration of Tools: Consistent OVP, CRM & Database

  • Targeting and segmentation tools: Web functionality, e-mail, IPTV etc Communication tools to be used

(For guidance this section should take 45% of your total planning time)

IV. Tactics (How exactly do we get there?):

Tactics cover the specific tools of the digital mix that you plan to use to realize the objectives of your digital marketing plan. The strategy section should also identify which segments of the market you aim to target with your plan. It breaks down the big picture strategy into smaller details to answer “How do we implement the Strategy?” by:

1. E-Marketing Tactics: what happens and when?

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): To understand what a positive impact SEO would offer in terms of increasing brand visibility for this target market, a keyword analysis should be performed, specifically on the Google UK market since ~90% of all searches in many markets are conducted through Google

  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click): the keyword research will provide a foundation on what keywords to target with a budget. there will be an ongoing refinement of keywords to target as well as a budget to allocate per keyword. Due to stock fluctuations, keyword budgets will need to be paused or activated based on stock volumes and demand for the product.

  • Affiliate Marketing: A cost-effective vehicle for driving brand visibility. Building your affiliate marketing network is a central component to ensure you’re maximizing opportunities in generating incremental revenue streams through a network of publishers that are active within your program either through lead generation, display, search or voucher codes.

  • Email Marketing: An email strategy needs to be implemented in order to ensure our existing customer base is receiving regular newsletters. Tactics to be employed include a variation on what should be included in the content of the newsletters to ensure we retain a good click-through rate, open rate, and conversion to sale. This tactic would be to utilize the existing customer database and incentivize them to recruit friends and colleagues to join the mailing list through weekly campaigns.

2. Using these tactics by adopting;

  • 8 P’s (Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process, Physical Environment, Productivity & Quality)

  • The communications mix

  • E-Campaign initiative schedule

  • Content Plan

  • Contract Plan

(For guidance this section should take 30% of your total planning time)

V. Actions (The details of Tactics – Who does what and when?):

Stage 5 of your digital marketing planning framework is focused on how to bring your plan to life, to make actionable measures. This section covers what needs to be achieved for each of the tactics listed in the previous section by assigning responsibility and deadlines for certain tasks.

  1. Responsibilities and structures

  2. Processes and systems

  3. Internal resources and skills

  4. External agencies

VI. Control (How do we Monitor Performance?):

This section offers an easy way to track the progress of the plan. Optimising through:

  1. 5 S’s, KPI’s and web analytics

  2. Usability testing/mystery shopper

  3. User experience review: Customer Satisfaction Surveys

  4. Site visitor profiling: Conversion rate optimisation

  5. Frequency of reporting

As it requires any business plan you will need Three resources to achieve your plan:


  • Men (& Women) as Human Resources

  • Money (Budget)

  • Minutes (Time Scales)

If you wish to learn more about SOSTAC, it's methodology and you can benefit using this model, please check following guidelines and addresses accordingly.

  • 4 minute SOSTAC® video or

  • SOSTAC® Certified Planner’s portal has additional resources (case studies from a range of different sectors for a range of different levels e.g. digital marketing plans, integrated marketing plans, tactical campaigns e.g. SEO & PPC Campaign Plans, as well as Health & Safety Plans).

  • SOSTAC® Guide To Your Perfect Digital Marketing Plan - on Amazon - PR Smith (2017)

  • SOSTAC® Guide To Writing The Perfect Plan - on Amazon – PR Smith (2011)

  • SOSTAC® Portal – Become a SOSTAC® Certified Planner

  • SOSTAC® group on Linkedin

  • SOSTAC® page on facebook

Connect via LinkedIn & we can continue the conversation.

Please feel free to contact me for any requirement to audit your hotel’s current status, advice on best tools and websites to use as well as training your key management staff on SOSTAC and Reputation Management. You can reach me either contact tab on website or via to email directly on to arrange a private chat.

I regularly upload easy to use spreadsheets for guidance and free to use basis. Please visit to download.

Please follow me on for my articles on various areas of Hospitality business, trends and interpretation methods.

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