SOSTAC – standing for situation analysis, objectives, strategy, tactics, action and control – is a model that allows businesses to analyse their current situations, set goals and put together a strategy to meet them, before acting that strategy and measuring its performance. It can be used by businesses in all industries and of all sizes. Here’s a breakdown of the stages of this model and what it entails.
1. Situation analysis
The first stage of SOSTAC is to conduct a situational analysis of your company. Ultimately, you need to answer the question ‘where are we now?’ This analysis should take up a hefty chunk of your overall SOSTAC plan – some say it should take up more than half. To conduct this analysis, you should analyse your customers, products, competitors and environment. Conducting a SWOT analysis – where you identify your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – is also recommended at this stage.
This stage needs to answer the question ‘where are we going?’ Here, you should set a mixture of both short-term and long-term goals, ensuring that they’re SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
The third stage concerns ‘how do we get there?’ This stage is typically the shortest but most important part of the plan. Here, you should look at how to divide your market, deciding on what types of customers you want to focus your efforts on (also called customer segments), along with what messages you want to use. You could also look at how your strategy compares to that of your competitors too.
The fourth stage is all about deciding on the methods you’re going to use to execute your strategy. Examples could be search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing or paid ads like PPC or Facebook Ads. In this stage, look at both the tools and techniques you’re going to use.
Before you proceed with actioning your plan, you need to ensure it will be executed well, and this means having the best people, processes and systems in place. This could involve training members of staff up in the tactics you want to focus on, or outsourcing them – whatever you choose to do, you need to make sure who is doing what, and how they’re doing it, is clear before it’s go time.
While at this stage you may be ready to shout “ready, set, action!”, don’t be too hasty – first, you need to plan how you’re going to measure the performance of your efforts. Ensure everyone is clear on what needs to be measured, and how often – identify the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), and then put a system for measuring them in place.
Once these stages are complete, you’re ready to proceed and start executing your marketing strategy!
If this all seems a bit daunting, or you feel you don’t have the time, don’t worry. Here at Engage Web, we can plan, execute and deliver an effective digital marketing strategy for your business, whether that’s through SEO, email marketing or paid ads, to name but a few options. Get in touch with us today to have a chat about how we can help you meet your business objectives online.