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ASCOR Digital Marketing Framework: An Introduction

ASCOR Digital Marketing Framework: An Introduction

What is ASCOR Digital Marketing Framework?

Any structured approach to Digital Marketing involves using a practical, industry-standard digital marketing framework to guide the step-by-step deployment of digital marketing strategies. One of the most prominently used digital marketing frameworks today is ASCOR Digital Marketing Framework.

ASCOR Digital Marketing Framework: Key Phases

ASCOR as an acronym stands for five key phases which need to be deployed for any digital marketing implementation:

  • Assessment Phase
  • Strategy Phase
  • Channel and Communication Plan
  • Digital Marketing Operations
  • Refinement Phase

Let us go through a high-level understanding of each of the phases with the help of below diagram:

ascor digital marketing framework | Digital marketing, Digital marketing plan, Campaign planning

ASSESSMENT – Phase 1

The first phase involves any firm’s or individual’s assessment and analysis of their present external/internal marketplace environment to ascertain that they have clearly assessed their current Digital Presence state to develop high-level digital marketing objectives and review criteria. This stage involves executing all the necessary market research to assess present market trends impacting them.

Key activities involved in the Assessment Stage include:

a) External Analysis

Includes the analysis of Macro-Micro Environment (entities that surround and influence the firm, its products, operations and opportunities) and Market situation analysis (includes market and competition analysis, specific to the industry where the firm and its product are operating)

b) Internal Analysis

Involves an analysis of factors that are internal to a company and within their control to influence their goal setting and create successful and realistic Digital Marketing objectives. It includes four main analysis areas- Offerings mix, Marketing mix, Resources mix and Competencies mix

c) Digital Presence Analysis

This is a 2X2 Matrix that helps firms identify their present Digital State through a combined analysis of External and Internal factors. There are four key Digital Presence States depending upon the present “Extent of Digital Presence” of any firm and its “Market Standing” with respect to direct competition in their specific industry segment and market category

d) Objectives Development & Review

Involves setting high-level Digital Marketing Objectives based upon the specific Digital State in which the firm is present. The Review stage consists of activities that involve monitoring, evaluating and controlling marketing activities continuously

Strategy- Phase 2

The second phase involves creating the Digital Marketing strategy roadmap in line with traditional marketing strategy and objectives. Key stages include-

a) Digital Strategy Definition

Defining Business Strategy for firms going digital, their impact factors and emerging Business Structures. Also involves alignment of firm’s Core Competencies to changing Value Function shifts to develop appropriate OVPs

b) Customer Development Strategy (STP2.0)

Includes revisions to classic STP (Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning) activities to develop a revised STP2.0 version for Digital to form the base for creating the Customer Development Strategy

c) Digital Marketing Mix (8Ps)

Involves looking at the classic 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) with a digital view and also developing the new set of 4Ps for modern marketing (People, Process, Programs & Performance)

d) 6S Implementation Framework

The final stage involves developing the 6S (Scoping, Shadow, Set-up, Stability, Scale-up, and Spectrum) Digital Marketing Implementation Framework for executing the strategy elements

Communications & Channel Mix – Phase 3

This stage involves a more in-depth communication and channel mix plan created for each of the marketing objectives

Key activities include

a) Digital Media Planning

Involves developing the strategy towards creating a Digital Media Plan post the Digital Strategy Definition exercise from the last phase to determine the communication and channel mix for brand’s specific offerings taking into the present Product Lifecycle and Digital Presence Stage

b) Communication Program Design

Details seven steps to creating an overall communications strategy and helps create an implementation plan towards developing the communication message and its orientation for specific end objectives

c) Channel Mix Development-

Details the nature of each channel and the type of communication which can be targeted through the particular channel to meet a specific communication objective. Also involves looking at the positives of one channel over the other for specific marketing objectives and strategies

Budget Allocation for Channel Mix- Involves utilizing the four key methods commonly used for Budget allocation to ensure appropriate emphasis is given to each channel depending on communication objectives and the nature of returns expected from each of the channels in the overall mix

Operations- Phase 4

MARKETING OPERATIONS- This is the deployment stage for digital operations and involves the actual planning, implementation, monitoring and optimization of campaigns during the media flight dates so that marketers obtain the maximum impact for their investments during the campaign run period.

Key activities include

a) Digital Campaign Planning

Involves activities performed towards planning the campaign before it starts and aligning the resources, tools and key activities. It starts with developing the campaign objectives which would include developing a high-level brief of the product, the type of segments to be targeted, targeted message, overall flight dates (run-time) and the final tangible output desired in terms of response rates, website visits/leads or conversions.

b) Multi-channel Campaign Set-up

Involves the actual operations work for setting up the campaign across multiple channels and begins with developing a campaign calendar and getting it approved internally before sharing it with execution teams for implementation.

c) Campaign Execution

This step involves all the activities performed by campaign managers’ right from the time they make the campaign “Go-Live”. Typical representative parameters (which we would learn more about in the upcoming chapters too) include Bid, Geo, Targeting, Networks, Devices, Languages, Ad Extensions, Advanced Settings, etc.

Campaign Monitoring & Tracking- During the implementation of the campaign, marketers start receiving daily and weekly data points and extensive metrics so that all data captured can be effectively analyzed and monitored.

REFINEMENT Phase 5

This is the final stage of Digital Marketing wherein Marketers and the Campaign Team analyze overall RoI for the effort and investments, create reports and analytics dashboards and refine present strategies for further digital marketing activities based on customer response and collated data.

Key activities include

a) Implementing Web Analytics

Traditionally web analytics helped evaluate website performance, but the emerging Web 2.0 world involves analytics activities like Multiple-Outcome Analysis, Site Testing, understanding customer & competition, etc

b) Defining Measurement Framework

Involves developing a Marketing Measurement Framework that helps generate quantitative and qualitative analytics for all three digital media types (Owned, Earned and Paid).

c) Marketing Implementation RoI

Involves developing a Return on Investment model which calculates Key Expense areas for spend across all Marketing Channels and overall marketing impact for the firm.

d) Digital Marketing Refinement

As a final step, the overall digital marketing strategy is refined using a five-step model of Define, Measure, Analyze, Action and Improve or Eliminate to make sure that campaigns are run most effective in future executions.

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