Blog 4a – Week 5

Discuss the extent to which the nine key strategy decisions are important to a new online retail business.

The management of business planning processes is important for organisations operating in a competitive business environment. 

Business decision making occurs throughout the lifecycle of a business, from the planning and development stages through to the implementation and evaluation stages of strategy.

  1. Market and product development strategies

Product development and launch is faster in the digital economy, accelerated by technology.

For new businesses, there are many considerations in determining market and product development strategies.

Feedback gathered throughout the organisation can inform and evolve development over time and product strategies should be informed by market research and testing.

Mass customisation is a way of creating personalisation for many customers and extending products with additional features to consumers creates a diversified offering for bundling (Chaffey, 2019).

Pricing, how much can consumers pay for the product, their ability to pay and estimation of the value of the brand to the competition and congruence are all factors that affect market strategies. 

The degree of competition and price as a barrier to entry, demand versus supply and market pervasiveness, all determine price (Percy and Elliot. 2016). Resource evaluation also informs decision making.

  1. Business and revenue models strategies

A new business should innovate and use a reshaped business model that will allow them to defend market share from competitors.

The business model should support research and development for strategic agility. Common models include commission, transactional e-commerce models, retail and media (Chaffey, 2019).

  1. Target markets strategy

The two key issues relate to target markets strategy, segmentation and differentiation strategy, focusing on the customers the business can serve best.

A new business should understand the competitor market share, unmet needs, competitor offers, current market size and future value, cost effectiveness and likelihood of increased engagement to create brand loyal customers and convert non-users (Chaffey, 2019). 

Data driven approaches are appropriate for benchmarking, to inform further decision making.

(Smart Insights, 2020). 

  1. Positioning and differentiation strategy

Positioning, identifying and defining the market in which the business competes, informs the overall marketing strategy and determines choice of target market segments and competitive advantage. 

Positioning the brand in marketing communication links the brand to the category need. 

This is really important and informs the overall marketing plan, which is revised based on changing market conditions and goal attainment.

  1. Customer engagement and social media strategy

Lifetime brand engagement goals, measured through lifetime value, loyalty and customer interactions require both online channels to support offline brand activities. Technology is a variable in the long-term.

A fully activated social media strategy can help to acquire new customers, enhance and inform feedback loops for anytime, anywhere customer service and integrated channel distribution.

  1. Multichannel distribution strategy

Social commerce models emphasise the use of different channels to communicate user and brand information.

Managers should consider the choice of distribution channel, for example, the internet and potential channel conflicts online and offline. 

This is a geographic consideration based on physical distribution channels that are already in existence. 

New businesses should focus on developing distribution channel infrastructure.

Quality models for e-businesses focus on:

  • efficiency 
  • fulfilment
  • reliability
  • privacy
  • responsiveness
  • compensation
  • contact.

Based on E-SERVQUAL (Chaffey, 2019).

  1. Multichannel communications strategy

New businesses should focus on integration and digital brand development to create a digital identity that is consistent across traditional and online mediums. 

A multichannel strategy means that brands are accessible to different audiences through different platforms when they want them (on demand brands).

The personalization of inbound and outbound customer service communication can improve service delivery by stepping through customer’s contact with the organisation for sales related enquires, for information or purchasing.

Influences on channel choice include:

  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Preference
  • Actions

Types of channels include:

  • Physical
  • Virtual 
  • Mobile

Accessibility, the cost of switching and convenience are also factors.

  1. Online communications mix and budget

The positioning strategy informs the marketing mix and this involves the control of variables and tactics to achieve the overall objectives.

There are questions for managers around the promotion element of marketing plans, whether to invest in site promotion, offline promotion and online promotion techniques. 

Using new approaches, creating a user experience based on the buying process, and using CRM for customer acquisition and retention are all issues that should be considered.

  1. Organisational capabilities (7S framework)

Organisations need proper governance in order to facilitate digital transformation agendas. 

The McKinsey 7S framework can be used to implement a proposed strategy and to align business functions with the existing business strategy and structure.

McKinsey 7S Model. (McKinsey, 2020).


Adjei, M., Noble, S., & Noble, C. (2009). The influence of C2C communications in online brand communities on customer purchase behavior. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 38(5), 634–653. 

Amarjeev Kaul. (2019). Culture vs strategy: which to precede, which to align? Journal of Strategy and Management, 12(1), 116–136.

Barker. et al. (2017) 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.

Corporate Finance Institute. (2020). McKinsey 7S Model.

McKinsey. (2020) Agile marketing: a step-by-step guide.,tests%20quickly%2C%20evaluating%20the%20results%2C%20and%20rapidly%20iterating.

Percy, L., & Elliott, R. (2016). Strategic advertising management (Fifth edition.). Oxford University Press.

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

Smart Insights. (2020). The segmentation targeting and positioning model. 

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

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 1b – Week 2

1b. Discuss the opportunities and challenges for e-commerce businesses in the age of COVID-19.

Connecting digital lives: together and apart at the same time

Social distancing is a global phenomenon resulting from health restrictions and businesses have adapted physical spaces to prevent the spread of illness and the virus. According to Markham (2020) social distancing and social presence are two dichotomies that suggest that we can be present socially together online. Physicality and sociality are not similar, suggests Markham. The importance of connectivity is emphasised during periods of absence and customer experience management (CXM) is being reshaped to support physical connections (KPMG, 2020).

Digital virtual ethnography is a common approach to studying digital culture and the use of digital media in everyday life and can help us understand social contexts where people are immersed in digital life (Bryman, 2016). Through social observation we can see changes in social behaviour due to social distancing adapting to new ways of interacting through digitally mediated communication.

This demonstrates that people will continue to develop connections online to organise socially and will socialise online through social networks that existed prior to COVID-19, taking these relationships to new platforms and online communities to both create and preserve existing social behaviours, routines (like Friday drinks) and businesses-to-consumer relationships. There are social benefits to this as people develop genuine, authentic and personal connections online without anonymity.

Digital business models leverage on the opportunities provided by digitisation and the digital economy: Amazon Australia

Most academics would argue that the benefits of digital marketing are supply side, as successful digital marketing creates business advantage. Many businesses were unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption it has caused to international business, increasing business focus on health and safety, and e-business solutions to create contactless transactions in retail. Elsewhere, disruption to global supply chains has shut down entire industries uncovering gaps in digital capability. Technology aids social distancing in physical shopping environments, and retailers such as Coles and Woolworths have focused on making consumer experiences seamless with improved technology during the pandemic.

Prior to COVID-19, e-commerce businesses such as Amazon Australia’s primary strategic focus remained on optimising supply chains, developing more advanced inventory systems. Managing increased web traffic and fulfillment operations is an issue during times of increased trading for online retailers. Successful global businesses such as Amazon have experienced supply chain shortage and logistics bottlenecks (CNBC, 2020). Globally Amazon’s advertising business is successful, and locally Amazon Prime is growing in profitability (SMH, 2020). Other businesses like Coles are accelerating their digital transformation to save money on marketing costs (AFR, 2020) as some local media businesses have gone bust due to the economic downturn and their digital marketing strategies (Bauer Media).

The macro economy: Australia

The Australian macro economy has been reshaped by international events through the slowing of international trade and restrictions on international and local people movement and this has affected most industries. The economy is expected to continue to experience a downturn, with anticipated third period of negative economic growth in September 2020 (Reserve Bank of Australia, 2020).

To help the economy recover, businesses are encouraged to empower themselves to expand, invest, innovate, and hire people. Household income levels will change as unemployment grows. The Australian newspaper predicts that Australians will split between affected and unaffected prosperous households, and that workers, firms and industries will change (The Australian, 2020). In the economy in general, there are less permanent positions available and demand will come from people who seek new sources of income. The gig economy has grown due to the economic environment where short-term employment is more common due to uncertainty. Gig economy growth will help the economy to recover (KPMG, 2020).

Opportunities and challenges for e-commerce businesses

Digital marketing tactics can be used by e-commerce businesses to capture new audiences in geographical markets to sell more and to make more profit. KPMG suggest that digitisation of tasks will shift the skills needed by organisations, and skilled workers will need retraining to support these newer e-commerce ventures. Large, medium and small businesses will need to embrace new models of digital business to survive the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic.


AFR. 11 August 2020.

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

Bryman, Alan. Social Research Methods. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Print.

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

CNBC. Tech. 30 July 2020.

CNBC. Tech. 14 July 2020.

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Social distancing versus social presence. Annette Markham. Blog. 20 March 2020.

Reserve Bank of Australia. August 2020.

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

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Blog 1a -Week 2

1a. Explain the concept of digital marketing and critically evaluate the digital business model of an online retail business.

Let me explain how digital marketing works.

Digital marketing is the use of digital media to support marketing activities. Communications facilitated through content and interactive products and services are delivered by digital technologies such as the internet, web, mobile, phone, TV and digital displays and signage (Chaffey, 2019, p9).

Marketing itself is the management process of identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer needs to earn a profit (Chaffey, 2019), and achieving marketing objectives through the application of digital media, data and technology is the aim of digital marketing.

The integration of digital and traditional communications throughout the customer lifecycle creates seamless and efficient marketing executions. Social marketing involves the monitoring and facilitating of customer-to-customer (C2C) interactions to create positive engagement with a business and its brands.

Understand the strategic value of digital technologies

Digital marketing tactics can be used strategically to develop and expand markets, products and services, to diversify existing product bases and capture new audiences in new geographical markets to sell more goods and services, building customer relationships to create brand switching. The effects relate to demand side economics, that is, they relate to the consumer competition.

A combination of good strategy and positioning using both traditional and digital marketing with a comprehensive understanding of the competition can give businesses an advantage.

A great example is Amazon, a multinational technology company, e-commerce business, focusing on cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and digital streaming.  In 2019 Amazon Australia reported $562 million in revenue and its focus is on building physical operations that complement their online presence, through Amazon Flex, and cloud based web infrastructure (SMH, 2020). Internationally, Amazon have focused on the development of new digital technologies to integrate their retail experience, creating seamless tap-and-go environments for grocery shopping (CNBC, 2020) and investing in automation in the supply chain through robotics, research and development.

Globally Amazon has achieved economies of scale which means that they can reduce supply costs for delivery as consumers embrace convenience. This is a responsive move, and on-demand delivery options for customers who are willing to pay remain popular. Achieving returns by reducing production costs means that Amazon will continue to dominate in a globally competitive market.


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

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

CNBC. Tech. 30 July 2020.

CNBC. Tech. 14 July 2020.

CNBC. Tech. 21 January 2018.

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

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