Blog 3 – Week 4

“COVID-19 spurs global marketing innovation and in the coming months, businesses will turn to digital strategy to survive Covid-19” (Marr, 2020).

Critically evaluate how businesses should evolve their digital marketing strategy in times of COVID 19?

  • Gains and pains
  • Evaluating the market
  • Digital economy
  • Challenges
  • Maintaining competitive advantage
  • Integration and the single customer view
  • Customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX)

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, businesses are determining the best way forward to stem losses from cancellations and closures. This requires strategy evaluation and planning for future business growth or decline.

Strategy formulation involves the generation, review and analysis of the macro and micro environment (demand and supply side) and selection of strategies to achieve strategic objectives, and the strategy itself defines how to meet the objectives (Chaffey, 2019). 

The brand value proposition (or brand benefit) of an existing e-businesses with some brand awareness is already obvious to consumers. The evolution of marketing strategies using customer insights gained from data for evaluation, will help any business to better understand their customers’ needs and position them for future strategy (Nylen, 2015). It is also useful to turn towards design thinking, and the review the online value proposition (OVP). Other businesses will need to adopt tech solutions to maintain customer loyalty and develop a new OVP if they wish to sell new products.

The digital marketing planning process should involve:

  • goal setting 
  • situation review 
  • resource allocation 
  • and monitoring. 

Digital marketing objectives support customer acquisition, conversion, proposition, and retention and state the business benefits of improved brand image, cost efficiencies, more sales and better customer service.

Digital marketing and e-business planning utilises portfolio analysis of marketing applications to select and evaluate programs of work for digital marketing, including supply side strategies for e-commerce options that are:

  • Key operational
  • support (non-critical)
  • high-potential
  • strategic (Chaffey, 2019).

To survive COVID-19 businesses should evolve their digital marketing strategy towards innovation using digital technologies to achieve new business goals of:

  • resource efficiency
  • increased market share  
  • increased investment in skill, knowledge, assets
  • increased investment in brand reputation
  • organisational change. 

The effect: gain competitive differential advantage not matched by competitors.

Gains and pains create competitive advantage

Design thinking is a way of undertaking research and gaining insights to identify opportunities and problems. Digital strategies oriented towards design thinking, focus on a non-linear process of innovation. This is noticeable during the COVID-19 pandemic, where innovation is necessary for survival.  

Empathetic design thinking is required because of the political, social, economic and technological environment and the accelerated culture of digital change required to stay afloat. Value propositions, both online and offline, should be mapped to activities and gaps identified to gain insights.

Source: (2020)

Design thinking is a way of undertaking research and gaining insights to identify opportunities and problems. In addition to a PESTLE analysis and SOSTAC framework, adding design thinking to an analytical toolkit can assist in the research and analysis phase of strategy development by orienting projects towards human centred innovation. 

Evaluating the market

Digital technologies enable consumers to meet their tastes and preferences and enable businesses to predict demand for online services. Consumers want to determine the terms for time and place of purchase and local customers can benefit the same as other demographic groups in other localities with access to products and services. 

The benefits statements of online services or the online value proposition (OVP), differentiates an organisation’s offline offering to those of competitors (Chaffey, 2019) and the brand benefits are more obvious to consumers during the pandemic, through renewed brand reputation, because consumer preferences changed, for instance, contactless sales became not only the tastes of consumers but also a regulatory requirement.


Businesses need to adapt in the short to medium term to deal with the broader operational environment. Marr (2020) suggests that loss mitigation can be difficult for smaller businesses which rely on word-of-mouth and local brand following, however resilience and adaptability can create opportunities.

Loss of face-to-face business, and implementation of emergency and contingency plans, plus changing workforce, consumer demand and supply have left the Australian economy in recession.

Digital economy

The translation of tech research into the formation of user friendly B2B platforms with their own online value proposition (OVP) and more expertise now means that the digital economy exists for many businesses to simply tap into.

Businesses that are not digital centric (bricks-and-mortar) can introduce sales channels through social media to create sales conversions, adapting to e-commerce models. A good example of businesses doing this kind of digital transformation and integration are small hospitality and retail businesses who are subject to social distancing regulations, preventing physical customer service from taking place.

Many implemented contactless pay and delivery apps into their BAU service delivery. There is a lot of consumer utility in implementing technological changes, creating positive brand association through convenience and capitalising on new economic and social opportunities.

Maintaining competitive advantage

In the pandemic, businesses will try to maintain competitive advantage to remain profitable. Newer entrants to the digital economy can utilise existing infrastructure (platforms, pay systems, supply and fulfilment software) to create business advantage, innovating quickly in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There is a cost advantage in adapting new technologies and positioning around other similar digitally integrated businesses, as well as benefits transfer from building consumer-based brand equity. 

Businesses with digital models in a new category have first-mover advantage and other businesses will seek to imitate or position themselves around their successes and learn from their setbacks. 

Integration and the single customer view

Using data to identify multichannel behaviour can reveal opportunities, identify response behaviour and value for pricing strategies.During the COVID-19 pandemic businesses may have found new online target segments, as household and personal characteristics change, as people work and study, entertain and maintain their health from home.

Brand strategies incorporating personalisation through e-commerce can help physical marketing efforts offline. Digital marketing strategy for a brand is best implemented in an integrated marketing communication strategy. Kingsnorth (2019) argues that personalisation of online marketing strategies can aid marketing integration.

The single customer view is part of a multichannel strategy and web design should be adaptive to consumer behaviours. The associated design processes for consumer centric design are easy to control but require rapid strategic execution (Griffith, 2020). 

Customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX)

Online tactical segmentation is based on customer journey behaviour and businesses can focus on this in the medium term (Chaffey, 2019). Usability and engagement are important measures to understand user behaviours, user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) enhancement. Nylen (2015) argues that digital innovation management covers user experience, value proposition, digital evolution scanning, skills, and improvisation. 

Image: customer lifestyle segmentation

Source: Chaffey (2019)

Digital marketing strategies informed by customer insights gained from data, that utilise design thinking and focus on technological innovation and online value proposition (OVP) are likely to be successful and can be easily iterated through BAU monitoring and measurement using metrics, analysis, review and project and portfolio evaluation. Businesses need to evolve their offline and online value proposition into a consistent integrated digitally focused brand strategy to build brand equity, maintain customer loyalty and to attract customers in new segments.


Barker. et al. Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach, 2nd Edition. (2017). 2017(44). Ringgold, Inc.

Chaffey, D., & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2019). Digital marketing : strategy, implementation and practice (Seventh edition.). Pearson. Paris (2020)

Griffith. S. (2020) Learn to Lead with UNSW. August. Online course.

Kingsnorth. (2019) Digital Marketing Strategy. 2nd Edition. Kogan Page.

Kraft. (2020) 

Marr. B. (2020) Why Companies Turn To Digital Marketing To Survive COVID-19. Forbes.

Nylén, Daniel, and Jonny Holmström. “Digital Innovation Strategy: A Framework for Diagnosing and Improving Digital Product and Service Innovation.” Business Horizons 58.1 (2015): 57–67. Web.

Penn. A. (2020) Growing Australia’s digital economy out of COVID-19. Telstra exchange. June 26.

Porter. M.E. The competitive advantage of nations. March–April 1990 Issue. 

Roberts, M., & Zahay, D. (2013). Internet marketing : integrating online and offline strategies (3rd ed.). South-Western, Cengage Learning.

Tuten and Solomon. (2012). Social Media Marketing. In Social Media Marketing. Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ USA.

Blog 2a – Week 3

2a: Examine the importance of the marketing environment to

a) digital marketing success and b) digital marketing failure.

  • The marketing environment
  • Environmental change
  • Successful digital marketing
  • Digital marketing failure
  • Incorporating current issues into strategy

The marketing environment

The marketing environment is the overall economic environment. Understanding the macroeconomic conditions can help businesses develop better strategies to be responsive to the stakeholders and to business conditions. Knowledge of the economy and stakeholders gives organisations a strategic advantage in developing an approach.

Strategy is everything really.

The changing nature of the political, social and economic environment affects every business, but in the digital economy e-commerce businesses are reliant on competition to position strategically for business growth. Ensuring that businesses thrive and succeed means that other businesses are also more likely to succeed and benefit in the long-term, because they are viable. Positioning is by definition manoeuvring based on the perception of your competitors (Chaffey, 2019). Business, economic and social issues will affect strategy. Competition leads to the reallocation of resources to ensure efficiency and productivity are maintained.

Environmental change

Changes in social culture are fast and technological advances are a part of a short-term culture, which leads to increased consumer demand. There are also supply side changes to resourcing as a result of societal change.

Technological changes that can affect digital businesses include:

  • emerging technology
  • platforms 
  • devices

Digital marketing is supporting marketing goals with technology and the macro environment as primary concerns using data. This is the marketing environment. Strategic agility (Chaffey, 2019) means gaining a competitive advantage through innovation by keeping up with changes in the marketplace. An evaluative approach can help to determine options and tactics. Businesses who are undergoing digital transformation should focus their strategies around evaluations of the existing business activities, baselining their approach to data to inform future digital marketing strategies.

a) Successful digital marketing

Businesses such as Amazon, ASOS, Apple and Netflix have identified areas where consumers have changing tastes and preferences such as the use of voice assistants, internet streaming services and data management, capitalising on their competitive advantage in understanding technology by grabbing new segments and building new audiences for new platforms.

Shifting consumer demand has resulted in low growth in digital media demand, as tastes and preferences shift, from TV and radio to internet streaming services (Deloitte, 2019). This is important for content marketers who choose mediums and vehicles based on audience segmentation.

Social media is useful for consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketing and many social media platforms are still trying to make this model of trade successful, and focus more on drawing in digital advertising whilst websites such as GumTree build brand loyalty for marketplace transactions. Tactically online word of mouth is crucial to product success (Marchand, 2017), through microblogs (Twitter) and reviews.

A whole market perspective is better to understand emerging trends in the marketing environment. Everyone-to-everyone (E2E) involves cloud computing for universal access to services, data driven customer insights that inform digital marketing approaches, and e-commerce driven by martech in a digital ecosystem (Chaffey, 2019). Emerging digitalised services include financial intermediation services, UBER transport, wholesale e-Commerce, outsourcing and digitalised international trade (ABS, 2020).

b) Digital marketing failure

Businesses that fail are likely to leave the market or become less competitive for sale to other business. Bauer Media in Australia is a good example of business with a failing digital strategy, but not a failed business.

Many years ago, social media websites like MySpace struggled because they did not have functionality that met the needs of their target audiences and became less popular (Lee, 2011). Successful digital businesses focus on customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) to create websites and applications that are user friendly and accessible.

International world wide web consortium (WC3) has standardised code and developed improved accessibility standards that help developers make more functional websites and technologies. 

Web standardisation reflects the maturity of the tech industry and the internet in developing new technologies and applications through research and development, for example Netscape standardised Javascript as a programming language. Research and development is crucial to digital marketing success. 

Incorporating current issues into strategy

A relevant model for strategy development is the SOSTAC framework (Chaffey 2019).

  • Opportunity – situation analysis using PESTLE and SWOT and objective setting (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal, Environmental)
  • Strategy – tactics and resourcing to achieve objectives through activities
  • Action – managing implementation through actions and controlling the environment with effective systems.

The 5 D’s of digital marketing 

A PESTLE analysis for a digital marketing strategy is informed by the 5 D’s of marketing.

  • Digital devices 
  • digital platforms
  • digital media
  • digital data and 
  • digital technology.

Source: Chaffey (2012)


Barker. et al. (2016) Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach, 2nd Edition.

Chaffey. and Ellis-Chadwick. (2019) Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. Seventh edition. Harlow, England; Pearson, Print.

Chaffey. (2012) SOSTAC® marketing plans [infographic].

Deloitte. (2019) Media Consumer Survey.

Elliott, G. (2017) Marketing, 4th Edition, Wiley. ProQuest Ebook Central,

KPMG. (2020) Traditional business models won’t be enough in the digital commerce era.

Lee. (2011) Myspace. How the social network fell apart. The Huffington Post.

Marchand, Hennig-Thurau, Wiertz. Not all digital word of mouth is created equal: Understanding the respective impact of consumer reviews and microblogs on new product success. International Journal of Research in Marketing, Volume 34, Issue 2, June 2017, Pages 336-354,

Roberts and Zahay. (2013) Internet Marketing: Integrating Online and Offline Strategies. 3rd ed. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning. Print.

Tuten. and Solomon. (2018) Social Media Marketing. Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ USA. Print.

Zhao. (2020) ABS Chief Economist. Measuring digital activities in the Australian Economy. Economic Research Hub.,to%20economies%20around%20the%20world