Digital Marketing Guide

Digital Marketing Strategy Frameworks

Digital Marketing Strategy Frameworks

A digital marketing strategy framework is like a compass guiding you towards your marketing goals. Without one, executing successful marketing projects and campaigns is challenging and unpredictable. 

Every company has different marketing goals and activities. With many moving pieces and collaborators, a digital marketing strategy framework brings structure to the digital marketing process. Marketers can save time by modeling their frameworks from existing frameworks instead of starting from scratch with each new marketing project.

What is a digital marketing strategy framework?

A digital marketing strategy framework is a model that defines marketing processes and workflows and outlines crucial components and touchpoints in the buyer journey. Executing marketing activities with a digital marketing strategy framework ensures a 360 perspective and nothing gets lost in action. 

There are many digital marketing strategy frameworks, each one addressing a specific marketing process or approach. Some frameworks combine aspects of others, while others stand independently. Businesses must first understand their objectives and priorities before choosing a digital marketing strategy framework that helps achieve their goals.

What are the benefits of using a digital marketing strategy framework?

Digital marketing strategy frameworks help develop an effective marketing plan. Nearly 40% of marketers do not think their digital marketing strategy is effective. This failure is mainly due to a lack of planning and digital marketing models — or using the wrong model to achieve your marketing goals.

Digital marketing strategy frameworks help marketers:

  • Develop successful digital marketing plans by identifying critical actions for each stage of the customer journey
  • Identify roadblocks to conversions by analyzing the entire customer journey and past marketing performance
  • Recognize opportunities to drive customers towards the desired action 
  • Avoid gaps in hand-offs by creating harmony between collaborating teams
  • Create a smooth experience and minimize friction at every customer touchpoint

Examples of digital marketing strategy frameworks

Below, we've listed a few of the most widely used digital marketing strategy frameworks to enhance your digital marketing efforts. 

RACE planning

RACE planning is a popular example of a digital marketing strategy framework. RACE stands for Reach, Act, Convert and Engage, and focuses on sales growth. Let’s take a look at the four phases in RACE planning:

  • Reach: Building brand awareness and visibility are the main goals of the 'Reach' process. This includes generating website traffic, external links, social media interactions, and earned media.
  • Act: 'Act' entails persuading visitors to take a specific action on a website, sales page, or social media account. Bounce rate, average time spent on a web page, and the number of subscribers are key metrics for this stage.
  • Convert: 'Convert' focuses on converting passionate followers into paying clients. Conversion rate, number of leads, sales, and revenue growth are key performance indicators.
  • Engage: 'Engage' is the process of developing authentic relationships with customers to increase retention. Customer churn rate and repeat customer rate are two critical performance measures.

Marketing funnel

This is one of the most commonly used digital marketing strategy frameworks. It illustrates the customer journey from when prospective customers discover a company's products to when they purchase. The marketing funnel is divided into four stages:

  • Awareness: This is when a prospective customer discovers a brand through direct digital marketing channels such as targeted online ads or indirect digital marketing channels such as search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Interest: In this stage, the customer's interest is sufficiently piqued by visiting the company's owned media channels to learn more about their product.
  • Consideration: This is when a potential customer begins contemplating a product as a solution to their problem.
  • Action: Here, the customer decides to patronize the company and purchase a product.

Flywheel model

The flywheel model is a customer-centric digital marketing strategy framework. The goal of all functions in the flywheel model is to optimize the customer journey, removing "frictions" that slow the buyer process, such as inconsistent brand messaging. 

The flywheel model breaks down the customer journey into three phases:

  • Attract: Focuses on attracting customers' attention through organic or inorganic digital marketing strategies
  • Engage: Focuses on creating a relationship with your audience and making them aware of your products
  • Delight: Focuses on supporting and enabling customers to have positive experiences and meet their needs 

When customers have positive experiences with a brand or company, they're more inclined to recommend them to their network. 

Forrester’s 5 Is

Forrester's 5 Is model looks at the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence an individual has with a brand over time. The model proposes that the marketing funnel is out of date. Instead, you must engage customers throughout a product's life cycle to create successful digital marketing campaigns. 

Forrester's 5 Is are:

  1. Involvement: The act of getting the customer involved with the brand or product. Involvement may be quantified through website statistics, such as page views, website traffic, and average time spent on a page.
  2. Interaction: This stage encompasses the customer's activities with your brand or product, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, and sharing photos. 
  3. Intimacy: Intimacy reveals the sentiment and emotions behind the actions customers take with your brand or product. Examples include the sentiments behind a product review, social media mention, or customer testimonials. 
  4. Influence: The Influence stage refers to the likelihood that customers and stakeholders outside your organization recommend your products to others. This can be measured via share rate, referrals, and online mentions. 
  5. Individual: The Individual implies focusing on a single person rather than a group or community. The 'Individual' is more granular and specific and less generic.

McKinsey's consumer decision journey

Customers make their purchase decisions based on several criteria. Most people start their online buying journey by searching for product reviews and social media suggestions. A consumer's decision journey includes the following steps:

  1. Trigger: This is when users realize they have a problem and require a product or service to provide a solution. This trigger starts the consumer decision journey.
  2. Initial consideration set: When contemplating a purchase, people reflect on their first consideration set — the familiar brands that come to mind instantly. 
  3. Evaluation: Consumers seek and acquire information from several sources and review websites to discover which brand provides what they want or need.
  4. Buying: The consumer picks a brand and makes a purchase after filtering the alternatives based on information from the Evaluation step.
  5. Ongoing exposure: After buying the product or service, customers develop post-buy expectations that influence their decision-making process for future purchases.
  6. Loyalty loop: Depending on how well the product solves a user's needs, they may become loyal customers and brand advocates, attracting more customers to your business. 

As the digital marketing landscape changes, digital marketing strategy frameworks help predict variables while keeping a set formula in place. Even the most experienced digital marketing strategist can leverage strategy frameworks to guide their decision-making and achieve the best marketing results. 

Digital marketing project management software like Wrike supports digital marketing strategy frameworks with a centralized collaborative workspace for marketing teams to establish, manage, and collaborate on marketing projects.

Further reading

Digital Marketing Project Manager


What Are Digital Marketing Goals and Objectives?


How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy


What Is Full-Stack Digital Marketing?