Why do we need another model?
A key part of being an effective marketer is using a framework to plan your marketing. Indeed, it is this ability to plan using a structured approach that can set you apart. The good news is that there is a model that allows you to plan AND review your competitors.
As marketing adapted to the digital age, marketers questioned how much we needed to adapt our frameworks. In 2007, Richard Gay (a CIM examiner) took a very pragmatic approach – he looked at the elements of current marketing planning frameworks that work, then added to them with the digital world in mind.
The result is, the 10Cs of Digital Marketing.
Overview of the 10Cs
Gay identified 10 distinct elements of online marketing. We’ll look at each in turn. While he created it primarily as an internal tool to help you review your digital collateral and communications, marketers have successfully used it to analyse competitors’ digital marketing.
There are two key points of note about the 10Cs of digital marketing:
- The customer is at the heart of the model and each of the other 9Cs has to justify how well it currently meets the customers’ needs
- You don’t have to use all of the 10Cs. Choose the ones that are most relevant to your organisation or the areas where you need to offer competitive advantage.
If you’re using the 10Cs of digital marketing as a competitor analysis tool, then replace ‘your organisation’ with ‘your competitor’ as you work through this article.
A brief look at each C
Your goal is to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction because this should lead to increased profitability. Digital marketing shifted the balance of power to customers (yes, us marketers used to have more power!) but also gave us even more opportunities to understand and better connect with our customers.
Areas you may need to consider here are:
- How well does your organisation know its customers?
- Can you back this up with data and evidence?
- How well is your marketing, on and offline, meeting their communication wants and needs?
Customers, more and more, want to understand the company they are buying from and see if they can emotionally connect with it. Your corporate culture is crucial to this.
Do you meet the expectations of your customers? Is what’s important to them eg plastic-free, ethical, important to you? How can you prove that you ‘walk the walk not just talk the talk’?
Customers expect things to be convenient for them. Whether it is accessing information or making a purchase in a way they like at the time they like, digital has enabled so much more.
How convenient do you make it for customers to engage with you at every step of their Buyer’s Journey? And how do you know that it is convenient for them – where’s the research and data to back your answer up?
Digital has given rise to new companies and new competitors – I remember the days before Google! Gay says how organisations may face competition from these angles:
- Traditional competitors moving online.
- New online-only entrants in domestic markets.
- New online entrants from overseas.
- Competitors from newly formed online alliances and partnerships.
- Competitors introducing or eliminating channels of distribution.
- Revitalised traditional businesses.
Consider where your next big competitor might come from – your customer research could give you clues as people may already be using them.
The Promotional marketing mix is rapidly expanding because of digital – there are new communication tools every day, with others dying out. For example, inbound promotional marketing, such as organic SEO and social media, are becoming more important as customers reject having promotional comms ‘pushed’ on to them.
- How effective is your organisation at ‘pull’ communications?
- Do your customers feel they are having a conversation with you or being spoken at by you? How effectively do you retain control of your messaging when others can take it over?
As always, look at your data and customer research to assess your effectiveness
Consistency creates a brand experience that is, in Gay’s words, ‘unswerving’. Customers should feel they are engaging with the same organisation regardless of channel, time of day, or any other variant.
Have you achieved this reassuring consistency for them, which creates a strong brand that can survive a few knocks? How have you created consistency and how good is it?
Content is good, creative, relevant, updated content is crucial. In an age where algorithms punish the sloppy content creators and the poor updaters, your results will show you if your content is up to scratch.
When assessing your Content, first determine what content you have out there – on and offline.
Map it all out then assess all of it. Check that it still represents your organisation, is consistent, and is what the customers wants and enjoys.
The key phrase here is, ‘relevant customisation’. Customers expect to be treated as individuals and digital gives us the tools to do this on a mass scale.
How effectively are you customising across your products, services, platforms and communications? Does it feel like genuine, relevant customisation for your customers?
Gay originally set this out as assessing how well marketing co-ordinates all the business functions so that they are all focussed on meeting the customers’ needs. This has been expanded out to assessing how integrated the customer experience is from the first touch to purchase to beyond. Make sure you assess both areas:
- How well does Marketing integrate with the rest of the business?
- Are we effective in coordinating all marketing and sales activities so the customers have a smooth experience?
Like PR Smith’s SOSTAC framework, Control is the element that assesses how well you are monitoring and evaluating all your marketing.
What do you have in place to see how well your marketing is doing as you go along? What do you have in place to assess that you have met your goals? If you can’t monitor your marketing as you are rolling it out and then evaluate if it has been successful, how do you know that you have met your customers’ needs in the most effective way?
About the Author
Kara Stanford is a Strategic Marketing Consultant with KMS Marketing, the founder of The Marketing Spaces and a tutor with Oxford College of Marketing. Tell her you read this article and connect with her on LinkedIn.
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