There are so many theoretical models available to us as marketers that we can use to refine and improve our marketing strategies and thinking.  However, often we can feel bogged down by the sheer number that are present. So when you come across a model, like the RACE framework that provides refreshingly simple direction, it is certainly not one to ignore.

Created by Smart Insights, the RACE framework provides solid, practical support in your digital marketing planning within both objective setting and tactical development.  It also helps provide focus on the KPI’s required to manage your campaign.

The 4 Steps in the RACE Framework

RACE consists of four steps designed to help brands engage their customers.  These steps reflect the stages in the customer journey or lifecycle: starting with Awareness through to Conversion and then post purchase Engagement (an area where Digital Marketing can really drive personalised success).

Let’s look at each stage of the RACE framework in more detail and how it can be used practically when planning digital activities.

  1. REACH. This is the awareness stage of branding where you focus on activities that will drive reach to your target audience online and therefore traffic to your various website portals (websites, microsites or social media pages). Media can be reviewed from a paid for, owned or earned perspective.  Traffic driving objectives can be set from this.
  2. ACT. Smart Insights suggests ‘Act is short for Interact’. This stage of the RACE framework is where you need to encourage your visitor to interact with you – or take an action – when they land on your website page or social media page.  It’s the first stage of engagement before moving them to final conversion.  This can be leaving details requesting a quote or further information (business-to-business), but it may also be as simple as finding out more about a company or its products, searching to find a product, signing up for a newsletter subscription or reading a blog post. These actions are all top-level goals within your conversion funnels in analytics.  A nice way to think of this is ‘How do you open the conversation and encourage them to give you their time – and sometimes their contact details’.
  1. CONVERT. This means getting your visitors to take that final next step which turns them into paying customers whether the payment is taken through online Ecommerce transactions or offline channels (such as a strong business lead). This is the final goal in your conversion funnel that ultimately drives your online business model revenue structure. Conversion % based objectives will drive these activities.
  2. ENGAGE. This is where you focus on developing a long-term relationship with first-time buyers to build customer loyalty. This should ultimately drive repeat purchases and potentially advocacy. A range of communications can be used offline and online, across your site, within social media pages, email and other direct interactions to boost customer lifetime value. Objectives and KPI’s focus on engagement (e.g. engagement or shares on social media) or repeat sales %. Other measures that link to engagement are customer satisfaction scores.

In Summary

The RACE framework provides a simple approach that can be used across different levels within a digital marketing plan. It can help define objectives, strategy and tactics as well enabling an organisation to set suitable KPI’s at each stage too.

If you would like to find our more about the RACE framework and how you can use it to create a successful digital marketing plan, our range of digital marketing courses could be of interest to you. To find out more, get in touch with one of our team today by calling +44 (0)1865 515255 or email

This article was written by Fiona Eriksen-Coats, tutor with Oxford College of Marketing.