Online Marketing Analysis and Strategies

SOSTAC® is a planning model by P. R. Smith, although it gets used generically. It means Situation analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, and Control. This is the structure of this webpage. The page also makes extended use of the Five Esses of P. R. Smith and Dave Chaffey (2005, especially chapter 1).


The present and this has several means of being examined.

SWOT analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Strength is a positive internal to the organisation. What are they, how important and how many.

Weakness is a negative internal. What are they, how important and how many.

Opportunity is a positive external. What are they, how important and how many.

Threat is a negative external. What are they, how important and how many.
Smith and Chaffey (2005) on Five Esses but here as an assessment of the current situation:

Selling - what is the condition of selling now? Is the business in decline as sales fall?

Serve - How are people served? Are the foundations for contact good? For example, how is advertising read (banners clicked on online), web pages reached?

One can refer here to the AIDA model. The purpose of communicating is to get Attention (thus the hook of overall appearance), generate Interest (the content is actually interesting), create a Desire (the motivation to respond - the ability to reply, to buy), and Action which is the visible result, as in the valuable customer comment or the purchase itself.

Speak - In detail, how does the message get across (once the banner is clicked, when the poster is read in the smaller print)?

Save - What efficiences are in place?

Sizzle - How are the products seen and understood by the customer?
Customer Insight - What do customers say, how do they interpret the whole selling environment? Understanding the consumer's life cycle, how does the product or service stay with them or otherwise? Where are the different perceptions and gaps?

Brand Perceptions - what do customers think of the product or service?

Internal Capabilities and Resources - What resources are being utilised and how best in the organisation.


Intended measurable outcomes

Smith and Chaffey (2006) on Five Esses as outcome intentions:

Sell - Grow sales and attract business using digital technologies by a particular percentage of whole, growing on the Internet by a percentage per year. So the business is online with routes to Add to Basket.

Serve - The customer online gets more information than in real life displays. Add value through the benefits of the Internet, so that broadband allows rapid picture and video use and secure movement between web pages in the process from looking to selecting to buying. A target might be to increase customer dwell time or stickiness on own selling area by 10% using more interesting content.

Speak - Get closer to customers by use of Internet phones (Skype), Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, and mobile messaging; so a two way conversation builds between customer and provider.

Save - Replace physical space by virtual space (premises, physical paper by screens, staff) to make the business more efficient. Objectives turns these into actual plans.

Sizzle - In the virtual presentation emphasise the sizzle not the sausage, so tell the story of a product's or service's broader benefits, aesthetics and ethics rather than simply describe its features. The online encounter experience should itself reflect the 'sizzle' of the product and service (e.g. use of high quality photography). It is measured in terms of brand awareness and purchase intent.
Relating to the Consumer's Life Cycle, so to increase the necessity and relevance of the product at a particular time by an intended amount and closing gaps of product irrelevance.


The route there and means to arrive

Smith and Chaffey (2005) on Five Esses now here as ongoing improvement:

Sell - By what means should sales rise? This should be practical and achievable.

Serve - What sort of visibility and interactivity is relevant and intended?

Speak - What are the intended means of contact via online and digital media? Emails, messages, adverts, notices, editorials, blogs?
For example, in using a blog, there is a checklist before publishing:

  • Make it interesting, addressing an issue
  • It's about a product or service 'sizzle'
  • Choose a catchy title
  • Proof-read
  • Add relevant tags if useful
  • Easy to read with paragraphs, titles and subtitles
  • Link to the product page on the WebShop?
  • Link to other posts, blogs
  • Link especially to the Add to Basket web pages
Save - What new means are there to achieve a digital future and can they be adopted.

Sizzle - Can the photogapher and artist be found, is the page layout going to look attractive, consider further the wording. What benefits of the product or service should be readily identified by the customer, and where in the customer's product/ service-using lifecycle?


Making the means realisable.

This means doing the actual work.

Make content of a blog happen often and interesting.

Link with other blogs in an ongoing debate.

Generate news items by advertising created events and happenings in emailed newsletters or links to them in webpages or .PDFs. Make press statements about created events.

Set up web banners and links to direct daily clicks including targeted advertising.

Generate a Facebook page and add to the number of members

Send out responsive emails (build up an address book, but don't spam, so have an opt-out method).

Create videos and images with offbeat and humorous content: there is always potential for something to go viral.

Improve Search Engine results (more links, more pages, use good keywords). It is possible to pay for sponsored searches but also use accuracy of terminology, size of website, website longevity.

Issue of using your own website, or using a business shopping website (like EBay, that so many customers use) and how one might point to the other.

Content should be attractive and interesting to increase the time on site - a very brief visit is no visit.


All the above coalesced into a plan that involves staff.

Action might be detailed on a Gantt chart.

Online marketing thus becomes a project to be managed.


Review of the journey and destination.

Use and exploit Google Analytics such as:

  • Visits
  • Absolute Unique Visitors
  • Bounce Rate
  • Visitor Loyalty
  • Exit
Look at the uses of Contacts us, email connections and Newsletters in quantity and quality of contact. Check out blog comments, product comments, reviews and ratings.

Is it easy to find the website of the business? Is it simple to move about the site to view more products purposefully (via menus and the use of onsite search facilities)?

Where are website viewers looking from? What has been set up to generate further interest and how does content stay fresh? How much does an external website generate viewings? How the pages are shared through social bookmarking via Facebook, Twitter or Linked In


Chaffey, D., Ellis-Chadwick, F., Johnston, K., Mayer, R. (2006), Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice, 3rd ed., Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited.

Chaffey, D., Smith, P. R. (2005), eMarketing eXcellence: The Heart of eBusiness,2nd ed., Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, especially 1-32.

Moran, M., Hunt, B. (2006), Search Engine Marketing, Inc: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's Web Site, London: Pearson Education.

Porter, A. (March, 2007), 'Search Engine Marketing: Click, Click… Are you there?', International Journal of Pharmaceutical Executive, 27 (3), 104-105.

Smith, P.R. (2003), Great Answers to Tough Marketing Questions, 2nd ed., London: Kogan Page.

Smith, P R. (2009), PR Smith Marketing Success, Paul Smith, [Online], Available World Wide Web, URL: [Accessed:Wednesday March 13 2013, 04:25].


Adrian Worsfold

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful