Digital Business Planning, A Long and Smarter Road: From your Business Objective to a Tweet

Every Titanic has its iceberg
Every Titanic has her iceberg

Some notes regarding digital strategic planning, data & tactics. Will detail them in the next posts. This might seem complicated. Strategy is about asking the right questions, having the right data and setting the right priorities. Those who take shortcuts on strategy are just lousy tacticians.


  1. Determine the Business Objective
  2. Build a Business Case
  3. Identify the KPIs
  4. Identify the Necessary Programs
  5. Global Plan & Budget
  6. Strategic Creativity Alignment
  7. Determine the Tactics & Creativity Alignment
  8. Build the Conversion Funnel
  9. Specific Plan, Budget & Resources
  10. Execution, Metrics, Iterations
  11. Review


  • Program Maturity Audit
  • Media / Audience  / Touchpoint Ecosystem Audit (owned, earned, bought – analytics)
  • Competition Audit
  • Trend Analysis
  • Current Communication Portfolio
  • Social CRM
  • Conversion Funnels
  • Previous Campaigns Metrics & Lessons Learned


  • Contests
  • Email based
  • Display ads
  • SEO/ SEM
  • Blog
  • Social content
  • Microsites
  • Mobile apps / advertising
  • Social advertising
  • Facebook app
  • Point of sale (physical)
  • Event
  • Affiliate
  • PR
  • Stunt
  • Guerrilla
  • etc

I’mma Let You Finish: A Digital Business Planner Sequence

Magic mirror on the wall who's the digital plannerest of them all
Magic mirror on the wall who’s the digital plannerest of them all

Digital Business Planning Review

So far I’ve been trying to make the following points:

  1. The digital / social media planner and strategist role must have a very strong business component (metrics, analytics, and general business model understanding).
  2. Any strategy must support a business objective with clear KPIs
  3. Plan for one business objective at a time
  4. The above KPIs must result from a business case
  5. The execution of a business objective is subject to a series of prerequisite strategic programs

Simple Sequence

Business Objective -> Business Case -> KPIs / Metrics -> Program Maturity Model -> Prerequisite Programs -> Planning

Case Study

From the previous example:

Business Objective

Increase the Customer Recommendations by 20% in the next 12 months.

Business Case

Customer base: 600 000
Customer annual value: $1 000 (Annual revenue $600 000 000)
Customer annual net profit: $200 (Annual profit $120 000 000) (20%)
Customer annual churn: 30%
Current recommendation rate: 20%
Recommendation conversion rate: 50%
On average a customer recommends 2 people.

A 20% increase in recommendations (from 20% to 24%) = 4% increase in total recommendations at a 30% churn rate, both cumulative over 3 years = 53.5K customer years

So the increase program will generate in net profit of $10.7M over 3 years.

Determine a budget based on previous programs. Say $1.7M over one year.

KPI / Metrics

Increase by 24K new consumer recommendations for a $1.7M budget.

Program Maturity Model

Determine the maturity level by assessing the quality of current digital programs.

Let’s assume the client program review reveals the following programs maturity:

Digital business model and objectives – Level Advanced (needed Advanced)
Digital analytics & monitoring – Level Basic (needed Advanced)
Digital and social media framework strategy and implementation – Level Advanced (needed Advanced)
Social media policies & governance – Level Advanced (needed Advanced)
Community building and engagement – Level Basic 8% (needed Advanced 12-15%)
Social CRM – Level None (needed Basic)

Prerequisite Programs

Based on previous analysis here are the necessary programs needed to execute the business objective in a single strategy.

  • Implement a more advanced digital analytics & monitoring solution
  • Increase the community engagement from 8% to 12%.
  • Implement a Social CRM


Now you’re ready to do the planning. And you have 3 new programs to implement…. And only $1.7M… Get ready to build more business cases and negotiate.

You cannot commit to the required business objective with deficient prerequisite programs. 

More soon. Would love to hear from you, does this make sense to you?

A Case-Study in Building A Digital Strategy :: Business Objectives + Data & Insights + Programs

Saying it doesn't make it so. Results do.
Saying it doesn’t make it so. Results do.

This is a post about the importance of numbers and data when doing strategic planning.

We’ll look into :
– How to Calculate the Investment in your Business Objective Based Marketing Program
– What data we need to gather in order to create a successful digital plan and strategy
– The Programs that could be associated with this business objective


Say the board of a mobile company decides that one of the business objectives is to Increase the Customer Recommendations by 20% in the next 12 months.

Assume the we are talking about direct and influent recommendations (for instance as a response to a personal query “Do you like your phone? Should I buy one?”; a mere Facebook like won’t be considered a recommendation). Also this is not an exercise in online ads (ppc, etc.). We stay focused on the business objective.


Gather all the  necessary business data. 

Customer base: 600 000
Customer annual value: $1 000 (Annual revenue $600 000 000)
Customer annual net profit: $200 (Annual profit $120 000 000) (20%)
Customer annual churn: 30%
Current recommendation rate: 20%
Business objective recommendation rate: 24%
Recommendation conversion rate: 50%
On average a customer recommends 2 people.
4% increase in recommendations results in 2×2% increase in new clients (24K).
At a 30% churn rate over 3 years we end up with 24K+16.8K+11.8 = 52K

Calculate for the new Customer recommendations + respective churn, cca 1.5K

So the increase program will generate in net profit about 53.5K consumer years or $10.7M over 3 years.

Say invest 20% of the potential profitability. That will generate an additional investment of 1.7M/year in the Recommendation program for a $9M profit. (I would keep this number for now and adjust it once the exact operations are determined. see Programs).


Determine the KPIs

20% increase, from 20% to 24%
12 000 more customers to recommend the product to an average of 2 people
24 000 new customers

Investment $1.7M
Estimated net profit: 9M.

Of course assuming that profitability, consumer churn, recommendation rate and conversion stay the same.


In conclusion: 
We have 600K consumers
120K will already recommend the product
We need to get 12K more existing consumers to recommend and we have $1.7M ($142 per recommending customer or $71 per recommendation).


Gather more data by listing all the current owned eco-system.

Facebook page 100K fans (98% customers) with 8% engagement (8K fans interact every month)
Customer newsletter 20K subscribers with 20% open rate (4K customers)
400K print invoices / month + 200K electronic invoices
300K website visits from existing customers over the year (50% will come to the website)
50K Twitter followers with 2% engagement rate (1K)
40K have the mobile app
20K in store visit from existing customers.


Analyse the existing marketing calendar and media plan.

Q1 & Q3 Digital & Social media engagement campaigns
Q2 Digital notoriety campaign
Q4 Global all platforms new product launch
Monthly social media contests / campaigns (by topics: Customer care, Client recommendations incentives, FB community building, etc)


Ask the right questions. Get more data.

Having the right data is crucial. Any answer the following questions has the power to change the digital strategy.

Do we know who are the customers who already recommend?
Do we know what the customers who make recommendations have in common? (product, service, customer experience?)
Do we know to whom they are recommending the product? (friends, family, etc?)
Are the customers who make recommendations proportionally represented over social media?
Can we assume that 20% of the 8K who interact on Facebook already made a recommendation? Or are they more around 40%?


Once the right data is gathered the strategy writes itself.

Understand the target audience (the consumers who haven’t recommended the product yet, but are very disposed to do so)?
On what channels are they most active?
Create the tools / mechanisms for them to quickly recommend should they want to
Develop a value proposition
Tailor a creative advertising solution
Determine the types of operations  / campaigns
Integrate them in the existing marketing calendar
Set up a monitoring solution
Plan for at least one or two cycles (to have an opportunity for improvement)
Execute, monitor, optimize


Determine if you have all the prerequisite programs in place.

I have started the post by defining the business objective to Increase the Customer Recommendations by 20% in the next 12 months. Now we want to attach some of the previous programs to the business objective.

What are the prerequisite programs that the client needs to have in place before tackling this objective? It all depends on what digital properties will play a role. However some of them are pretty essential.

Digital business model and objectives 101 – having a digital business model, objectives, business cases
Digital analytics & monitoring 101 – determine the reporting format, and the necessary data to collect and analyse
Digital and social media framework strategy and implementation 101 – determine and implement the optimal digital eco-system
Social media policies & governance – produce, legally approve and publicize the policies, terms and rules
Community building and engagement 101 – develop monitoring, operations and content plans to build the social media community and its engagement
Social CRM 101 –
have implemented a social CRM solution that along with the digital analytics and monitoring system will provide the proper strategic insights and support the campaigns 


This post went a bit too long and I hope you were able to follow. I have left out a bunch of small details and consideration, however I hope it was insightful.  Looking forward to your comments.

The NeverEnding Story: Digital & Social Media Programs

Fostering creativity, $2K at a time
Fostering creativity, $2K at a time

This is the second set of note regarding the social media framework I’m building with Rock&Social.

In the previous post we have defined Business Objectives, now we want to define a set of digital and social media Programs that will be used to answer specific objectives. In a subsequent posts I will link specific business objective with a series of tracks, and later on detail each track from a planning perspective (timelines, budgets, strategic impact, etc.).

Following is a list of digital programs (in no particular order). The 201, is a more advanced version of the 101 and usually has several other programs as prerequisites. Essentially, the goal of this framework is to create an easy model of detecting digital planning solutions to business objectives.

See the programs as iterative projects (or operations), in need of regular monitoring and update in order to attain the business objectives.


Digital business model and objectives 101, 201
Optimize the business model to include the digital and social opportunities. Determine the business objectives, metrics, success business cases and acquire business leaders’ approval. Approve the budget and the roadmap to attain the determined business objectives.

Social business culture 101, 201
Determine the roadmap for creating a social business culture

Digital planning and social operations 101
Determine how the digital and social objective will be accomplished – internal operations, external operations, budgets, planning, etc.

Social media policies & governance 101
Create the social media policies and regulations, legal approvals, determine the stakeholders, etc.

Digital analytics & monitoring 101
Get the right tools and procedures in place – determine the reporting format, create a crisis plan, stakeholder analysis

Digital and social media framework strategy and implementation 101, 201
Ensure all the digital is strategically connected and optimized

Sales funnel 101
Set up sales funnel strategy and tools, include the digital and social to the existing sales funnel.

Build community 101, 201
Determine the community platform (FB, forum, subreddit), community building tactics, promotional, newsletters, convert current consumers, community value proposition (push&pull)

Build community engagement 101, 201
Content planning, community management, tactics and metrics

Advanced sales based operations 201
POS, Event, Mobile, FB, e-commerce tactics

Likeliness to recommend 101, 201
Determine the factors that influence the likeliness to recommend, implement the proper tools, and develop the communication program to increase L2R.

Social brand awareness building 101
Determine the factors that influence the brand awareness, benchmark against competition, monitor and implement the necessary advertising campaigns to build awareness.

Customer social support 101, 201
Build the customer support processes and implement a technological solution, provide a training program.

Social CRM 101
Create customer relationship objectives, procure and implement a technological solution, provide a training program.

Create a social media department
Validate the business needs, plan, fund, build a social media department.

The previous programs are examples meat to create a better understanding of what it takes to attain a specific business objective. More in the following post.