Maturity Model for Digital Marketing Strategy

It makes sense to have a maturity model as a companion to the new digital-marketing strategy framework . (See the thumbnail of the framework below.)


What’s a maturity model?

Maturity models are well established today. Their purpose is to be a roadmap to marketers. You find your personal “You are Here” point on the map. Then you see what next steps you may wish to consider for further growth.

How does this model (below) relate to the framework (above)?

The framework proposed five major components for digital-marketing strategy:

  1. Setting Digital’s mission
  2. Deriving the digital strategy
  3. Deriving the interaction strategy
  4. ROI measurement and improvement
  5. Technology strategy

The job of the maturity model below is to score different levels of maturity with each of these 5 different areas.

Here is the Maturity Model

Click to expand

Maturity model for digital marketing strategy

How can we use this model?

Below are three examples of typical companies that you will find in the market place today.

1: Digital laggards

Typical laggards may look like the following spider chart when scored against the digital strategy maturity model. Usually there is no defined mission, or only a vague or basic definition for the contribution of the digital channel.

And everything goes downhill from there.

Sadly, many CPG, pharma, manufacturing, or book publishing companies find themselves in this boat. The reason is not ignorance at all. It is that these business models make it hardest to prove the contribution that their digital channel has on the business. They typically don’t sell directly, neither online nor offline.

Digital-marketing maturity model example - digital laggards

These companies will need very creative business and ROI measurement strategies to unlock their digital potential.

2: Digital leaders that lack cross-channel integration

Digital marketers can get very sophisticated within their silo without yet taking a look beyond their plates. So many web teams have grown up in isolation from the rest of marketing (or sit outside marketing alltogther) so that they slide into this one-way street.

Digital-marketing maturity model example - digital leader

Part of the reason for the online-only silos has also been that marketers have tried to avoid their IT departments at all cost. That locked them into SaaS only technologies and clicks & cookies only views of their customers.

Again, it wasn’t for ignorance. For many reasons, IT at most companies has been ill equipped to support digital marketing. So marketers that experienced this voted IT off the island and crossed to using SaaS technologies in the past 5-8 years.

3: Digital leaders including a true cross-channel view

While still the tip of the pyramid, you now increasingly enocunter digital marketers that have moved beyond the digital silo. They are typically building data warehouses that bring together customers’ online click behavior with the same customers’ offline transactions and other marketing data.

They prioritized these (not cheap) projects because they realized a true (i.e. cross-channel) view of ROI of digital strategies was necessary in order for company leadership to take the digital channel seriously. They also use this central data mart as the basis for cross-channel marketing integration, e.g. re-marketing, cross-sales, or retention marketing. 

Digital-marketing maturity model example - cross-channel leaders

Even these leaders don’t necessarily apply long term analytics yet. I am thinking of analytical methods such as Kevin Hillstrom’s Multichannel Forensics. He aims to predict longer term migrations of customers across channels or products to help companies decide where they should invest now based on that forecast.


There are many frameworks and maturity models. They each have their merrits, and their blind spots. See a few good ones below:

Take a look around and pick the models that best speak to your own business needs.

Digital-Marketing Framework (now revised and improved)

Here is a revised framework for digital marketing strategy.



Why the revision?

This fixes a number of shortcomings in the first version that I had proposed 10 days ago.

  • For example, David Raab and Laura Patterson, members of the Founders Council of DigitalMarketingOne, caught a critical flaw in the earlier version. Namely, my placement of channels (e.g. Search, display, etc.) in the framework diagram was flawed. I placed them in specific locations of the customer lifecycle whereas they can play a role in many stages of the lifecycle.
  • Additionally, I was in round table discussions at the eConsultancy peer summit in NYC, and it was a good reminder that many companies still haven’t made explicit what mission their digital channel has, i.e. how it should be contributing to the business.

Elements of the new strategic framework for digital marketing

Informed by overall marketing strategy

First of all, before CMOs think about using this framework they still ought to start with a higher level framework such as Doug Goldstein’s briliant work at That global strategy needs to be in place so that the CMO can now drill-down to define the contribution of digital within the bigger setting.

Define Digital’s mission

Job one is to define how digital is to contribute to the business and to the customer life cycle across multiple channels.

Select your overall digital strategy

Based on your digital mission your CMO can now derive the overall approach in terms of presences that you should prioritize (e.g. mobile, Facebook, website, etc.) and their related “site types” or business models, i.e.

  1. eCommerce,
  2. lead gen,
  3. customer service,
  4. content/publishing,
  5. or brand marketing.

Based on these decisions you can then derive the top five KPIs and targets that you should work towards. You can also form an initial opinion on the ad channels that suggest themselves for the audience that you wish to reach.


As pointed out in the last post, interactivity is what digital is really good at. So the new framework retains the prominent role for interactive marketing across the customer lifecycle. I removed the reference to channels (e.g. search, etc.) however since each channel can play a role in multiple lifecycle stages.

ROI measurement and optimization

The other strengths of digital are measurability and testing. This needs to be put to use towards continuous improvement. Using the insights marketers change their investments in the familiar cycle of continuous optimization.

Unlike the original web analytics cycle of continuous improvement however, the emphasis here is that the continuous improvement applies not just to web pages and advertising. But you want to apply it to your entire digital and interaction strategy.

Technology strategy and selection

Finally, your use of digital marketing technology should of course be determined by the digital and interactive marketing strategies that you are going after.

In Search of a Strategic Framework for Digital Marketing

At the new DigitalMarketingOne, our Founders Council is seeking to design and explore a strategic framework for digital marketing.  

Marketing does so many things though and does them so differently at different companies. How do we put all that into a framework that makes sense to CMOs – our target audience?

Luckily, many clever people have thought about that before.

Starting from a Strategic Framework for Marketing in General

The Strategic Marketing Framework presented on (see below) was one of many frameworks that seemed especially appropriate for a CMO audience. It should serve as a great starting point.

Mind of Marketing's Strategic marketing framework

Strategic marketing framework,

It’s just beautiful how this framework:

  1. Emphasizes that the job of Marketing is much more than just to be the “Hey, make this pretty and send us the leads!” department.
  2. Is also easy on the eye

Evolving this Marketing Framework for Digital

There are a number of things, however, that are so strategic to digital marketing that they should be better emphasized in our framework. Namely:

1. Interactivity

While digital can’t beat traditional advertising media on reach, its unique strength is interactivity.  So, let’s expand the traditional marketing mix’s classic 4 Ps: Product, price, placement, and promotion. Namely, let’s drill open promotion to show just how much is possible within that one P in digital. Let’s add the Ps that are so key to digital marketing: persuasion, permission, personalization, multiple web presences, net-promoters, etc.

2. Ad channels

Rumors of the death of advertising in the digital age are greatly exaggerated: ads are everywhere on the net.  But there is an immense amount of unique know-how within each of the digital ad channels. We should call out the most important channels in the framework to do that justice.

3. ROI measurement and optimization

Digital media are fantastically measurable. Optimization within a channel can sometimes even be automated. That creates the illusion that it should be almost automatic to measure overall ROI / returns across digital and allocate your investments appropriately. Not so easy! Therefore let’s add ROI measurement and optimization to the framework explicitly.

The Resulting Strategic Marketing Framework for Digital

Below is the resulting strategic marketing framework with the modifications for Digital.

Click to expand

What do you think?

Does this framework do a good enough job to encapsulate all that goes into measuring and increasing ROI (with marketing initiatives and customer relationships) in digital?

Once we have the framework down, we can proceed to the next step and explore the details with the help of DigitalMarketingOne’ers from all corners of Digital.



A number of folks deserve credit for their inspiring works that went into this framework. Namely:

  •, provided the Strategic Marketing Framework starting point
  • The idea of the extended Ps for the marketing mix came from Unica’s Yuchun Lee in his keynote at the 2008 Unica customer conference, MIS
  • Jim Sterne, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, coined the “windows into the hearts & minds of the market place”
  • The Eisenberg brothers while at Future Now Inc. developed Persuasion Architecture
  • I credit Digitas for the idea of the hour glass shaped funnel since I saw it on a slide of theirs

In a world of credit cards, what’s the point of retailers’ savings cards anymore?

When talking about retailers’ savings / discount cards, the first thing the analytics industry used to point out was the benefit for customer identification. The card helped tie transactions to known customers or households and facilitated the range of well known customer analytics such as:

  1. Market basket analysis across transactions
  2. Shopping preferences segmented by any demographic information that was supplied when signing up for the card
  3. Loyalty analysis in terms of RFM and latency
  4. Response analysis to preceding marketing contacts
  5. Marketing targeting analysis based on past purchases

And so Wikipedia still says: “The store — one might expect — uses aggregate data internally (and sometimes externally) as part of its marketing research. These cards can be used to determine, for example, a given customer’s favorite brand of beer, or whether she is a vegetarian.”

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Soup to Nuts Marketing Optimization – In the Coming Big League

Exciting times! The consolidation in the marketing technology industry is producing a big league of solutions providers.

Dreaming ahead into the future, what can companies hope to achieve with this new breed of marketing software and services providers?

The end-to-end conversion optimization vision that still seemed far reaching to me back in February, looks much more limited now given the new outlook today.

Disclaimer: The following perspective reflects only my personal dreams and shouldn’t be taken to represent the positions, strategies or opinions of my employer.

Digital Enterprise Marketing++

It isn’t possible to do the coming future justice by calling it next generation analytics, campaign management, or marketing automation. The step up in caliber requires also a step up in language.

Might the following become every day terms in enterprise marketing technology in 2011 and beyond?

Soup to Nuts Marketing Optimization

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To Test or to Target? Where to Start for Best ROI?

The previous post had concrete recommendations for proving the ROI of behavioral targeting. Several smart reader comments brought together a pretty clear picture.

However, when I was meeting with a number of experienced online bankers in Europe recently, the question that I received was more difficult to answer than just proving the ROI of targeting.

Namely, the question was whether one can expect greater ROI from testing or targeting? Whichever promises greater ROI, shouldn’t that be where you may want to start?

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Behavioral Analysis for Driving Targeted Marketing

You might be squandering a huge opportunity if you aren’t using web analytics as a rich source of behavioral insights on individual prospects and customers.

Read the full article published on the brilliant new online-behavior site. There you’ll also see uses of Venn diagrams for behavioral analytics that are more serious than the recent fun with the nerd vs. geeks Venn diagram post.

Kudos to Daniel Waisberg for launching!

Analytics for Facebook Applications with Unica

Unica announced the addition of innovative social media marketing capabilities this week. Among these capabilities are Social Media Analytics for Unica’s web analytics solution, NetInsight. Specifically, one of the components of the Solutions Pack released today encompasses analytics for Facebook applications. This enables marketers to gain insights on application usage and users including details from the Facebook API.

More specifically as a customer of Unica NetInsight, NetInsight OnDemand, and Interactive Marketing OnDemand you can:

  • Instrument all aspects of your Facebook application for granular behavior analysis and optimization
  • Rely on the highest degree of accuracy in their analytics by basing your sessionization and unique user insights on the Facebook ID and employing cache busting mechanisms to avoid the loss of click data due to caching (e.g. in the browser cache).
Report in Unica NetInsight on Facebook application usage trends by visit duration

Report in Unica NetInsight on Facebook application usage trends by visit duration

You can also include any desired detail from the Facebook API along with the click-stream analysis as long as you comply with Facebook’s platform policies. The API data will help you understand usage trends, success, and user preferences based on available insights about users’

  • Social graph, e.g. how do key influencers use the application vs. the average user?
  • Demographics, e.g. how do people at various age ranges use the application?
  • Geographic location, e.g. how to users from different parts of the country or world prefer to use the application?
  • Relationships or affiliations, e.g. how to married folks vs. bachelors differ in their preferences for using the application?
Unica NetInsight on current locations of today's Facebook application users (based on API data on users)

Unica NetInsight on current locations of today's Facebook application users (based on API data on users)

Privacy and Facebook’s Platform Policies (Note: I updated this section on April 27th)

Key to including any insights from the Facebook API in analytics is not only marketers’ good stewardship of this data. This is also expressed in the Facebook platform’s developer principles and policies.

The policies previously used to limit the kind of API data that can be stored, including by web analytics solutions, for longer than 24 hours. However, with the launch of the Facebook open social graph on April 21st 2010 the policies were revised to remove that limit. Instead there is

  1. A greater emphasis on the principles of using data towards a good experience for users which expressly excludes spam.
  2. A greater emphasis on gaining user consent for access to API data beyond the basic elements which are user ID, name, email, gender, birthday, current city, profile picture URL, and the user IDs of the user’s friends who have also connected with your application
  3. A greater emphasis on gaining user consent for using that data beyond the Facebook application.

I think that is a great move by Facebook but clearly means that marketers must act responsibly. It may only take a few violations to create a backlash by Facebook users. All marketers would suffer a set back as a result.

    Unica NetInsight report on today's Facebook application users by gender and age range

    Unica NetInsight report on today's Facebook application users by gender and age range

    Going Beyond Analytics to Interactive Marketing

    As always with Unica NetInsight, the built in data warehouse stores the granular and complete interaction history of each individual Facebook application user keyed in their Facebook ID.

    Unica NetInsight, granular data drill down to individual Facebook app users

    Unica NetInsight, granular data drill down to individual Facebook app users

    Not only can the Facebook application remember its user’s preferences. But by going from analysis to action, Unica customers can also use the profiles of Facebook application users to personalize future emails or website sessions. This assumes, of course, that the Facebook user is identified with their email address or website cookie and that permission to market has been earned.

    What data is available from the Facebook API?

    As Facebook application developers can glean from the documentation of the Facebook API, rich access to details about app users is available through API functions such as Users.GetInfo.

    It is however key to point out that not all data fields from API functions such as the one above are available for all users. Rather, only the fields for which the user’s privacy settings permit access are available to applications. Additionally, some particularly sensitive fields require explicit user permissions.

    • For example the email address (even the proxy’d version) requires extended user permissions.
    • For example, the gender info is only available if the user clicked the checkbox on their profile to include gender as part of their profile page

    For more information

    Unica customers can contact their account mangers for more details on the Solutions Pack for Social Media Analytics.

    Web Analytics Highlights and Semphonic ThinkTank at Unica's MIS 2010, May 16-19

    Watch this short video to learn about the unique highlights that web analysts and managers can expect at Unica’s customer conference, the Marketing Innovation Summit 2010. Don’t miss especially the Semphonic Think Tank workshops to be held on the Wednesday of the conference.


    Unica MIS 2010 – Highlights for Web Analytics Managers from Akin Arikan on Vimeo.

    Go to the Unica MIS 2010 microsite for the full conference agenda and to register. You can also find the full course descriptions for the Semphonic Think Tank workshops there and register along.

    Q&A with Eric Siegel on Predictive Analysis using Web Analytics Data

    Last Wednesday (March 31st) Eric Siegel presented on 5 Ways of leveraging predictive analysis using web analytics data.

    Registrations and attendance were very strong which isn’t surprising because the WAA”s yearly survey had recently shown that predictive analysis is a top question on which web analysts seek to get more education.

    You can access the recording of the webcast here.

    Meanwhile, Eric was nice and speedy enough to answer all the questions that came in during the webcast. You can access the Q&A on the new Unica blog.

    Check this Q&A blog post out even if you don’t have enough time to watch the webcast.

    By the way, did you know Unica had a blog? It was recently restarted and is on fire with lots of contributors blogging across the company now.

    Thanks much to Eric Siegel for a super insightful webcast and Q&A. If you had any doubts on whether predictive analysis makes sense on web analytics data, then be sure to watch this webcast to open your eyes.