We will consider Avoca in the context of building an effective marketing plan using the six elements of the PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Planning System. Each stage of SOSTAC® is interlinked and according to Chaffey and Smith (E-Marketing Excellence 2013 Pg. 3) each stage is not discrete but there may be some overlap during each stage of planning and previous stages may be revisited and refined. The acronym SOSTAC® stands for Situation Analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action and Control.
Situation – where are we now?
Avoca redesigned its website less than a year ago and has further enhanced its e-commerce capability focusing on its large online sales from an international customer base, indeed it has been to the forefront of its competitors in embracing the e-commerce possibilities. The website itself links to a Facebook account, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. The LinkedIn page is used to advise of changes in-store or online (as an example it announced 9 months ago that it had just revamped its website and online store with a new responsive design framework to optimise its performance across desktop and mobile devices, recognising that more of their customers are interacting with Avoca on their smartphones and tablets). There was no easy access to subscribe to an online Newsletter which may be an opportunity missed by Avoca, but a solution to which is provided for in our two suggested business innovations.
Objectives – where do we want to get to?
As a brand, Avoca is uniquely positioned in the Irish market to target its key customer, females in the 25-70 age range, with its outlets in key areas, however, the Company should consider other sites that open up the Avoca experience to other parts of Ireland and to consider extending the customer experience for its keycustomer to grow its sales. Avoca will also need to consider other customer segments to grow its business in Ireland. Internationally, Avoca will need to continue to scan its international environment to assess its competitors and respond quickly to changes that will surely be demanded by the growing internet marketing arena.
Strategy – how are we going to get there – overview?
Avoca is a sector leader in Ireland and is one of many internationally. The focus will be on growing the company in Ireland, through new sites whilst staying ahead of its international competitors. Additionally, if Avoca becomes synonymous with Artisan foods and services both in Ireland and internationally, it will see exponential growth in the coming years.
Tactics – how are we going to get there – detail?
Avoca has the opportunity to put its name to a larger range of Artisan products. In addition Avoca should consider sponsoring some local charities or causes focused on environmental issues. Implementing the proposed business innovations of a Magalogue and Consultancy service for Artisans would significantly raise the profile of Avoca to those currently unaware of the brand, after which the Hierarchy of Effects Model could translate that awareness into knowledge of the brand, liking and preference for the products offered by Avoca and translate this into an intention to buy and ultimately a purchase by new customers.
Action – who is going to do what and when?
Avoca may need to identify a specific budget to target its online market, to have this manned permanently, for ready replies to Twitter content and to other online marketing methods of communication of its brand. A larger budget may need to be considered to develop the Artisan consultancy concept, after detailed market research.
Control – how can we control, measure and develop the process?
Measurement of the success of the strategies can be measured by an increase in sales, by using daily or weekly website analytics to see trends from its website, to see click through rates and rate of impressions and other metrics to extend the customer experience on the Avoca website and once information is garnered from this source to monitor this weekly or monthly thereafter.
PR Smith’s SOSTAC® is a registered trade mark of PR Smith
Smith P. R. The SOSTAC® Guide – to writing the perfect marketing plan [Online]. Available from: http://prsmith.org/sostac/ [Accessed 19 May 2014].
Chaffey. D, Smith, P.R. 2013. Emarketing Excellence. 4th ed. Pg. 3. London & New York: Routledge
 The Hierarchy of Effects Model was created in 1961 by Robert J Lavidge and Gary A Steiner. This marketing communication model, suggests that there are six steps from viewing a product advertisement (advert) to product purchase. The job of the advertiser is to encourage the customer to go through the six steps and purchase the product.