What is the SOSTAC methodology?

September 03, 2019
Editorial
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What is the SOSTAC methodology?

SOSTAC is one of the most popular marketing models given its easiness when structuring campaigns. In fact, you won’t even realize how involved you are in planning your marketing campaigns until you work under this method.

In the face of the digital marketing boom, there have been many brands wanting to have a presence in all channels without really knowing what for. This not only generates bad results but also causes fatal positions and even crisis of corporate magnitude.

Every marketing effort needs previous planning since that plan will be the one guiding the future actions that will help to achieve goals and objectives and that will have a repercussion on the digital growth of a company.

The SOSTAC model is precisely your best ally for all that planning.

What is the SOSTAC methodology?

The SOSTAC methodology is a planning model, developed in the 1990s to help PR Smith’s marketing organization. Its name corresponds to the acronym in English of:

  • Situation: Where is your business right now?
  • Objectives: Where would you like to go? What objectives would you like to achieve?
  • Strategy: How will you get there?
  • Tactics: What tactics will you use to achieve it?
  • Action: What actions will you carry out?
  • Control. Measuring the results.

1.-  SOSTAC Methodology: analysis of the situation

The first stage of implementation of the SOSTAC methodology is to establish a situation analysis. That is, the situation should provide a general description of your organization: Who you are, what you do, and how you interact online with all the actors that intersect with your business. Consider using some of the following methods to bring this section to life:

  • Define and identify your digital customers. How they interact with your brand, etc.
  • SWOT analysis. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business.
  • Perform a competitive analysis. Detect your competitors, observe how they act, what strategies they carry out in all their digital channels, etc. But above all, look at their main differences.
  • Landscape of digital channels. List all the digital channels used so far and evaluate the success of each for your brand. Are there some especially outstanding?

Then go deeper into some of these areas:

Analyze your current digital customers

An analysis to determine who is part of your digital audience should be defined in a separate section. In fact, this information is vital to ensure that you have a clear picture of existing and potential customers you want to capture.

Define your buyer persona

Creating a Buyer Persona figure will help you understand what kind of customers you have, what you want to capture, and what their motivations are. That is to say, you will give life to the profiles of your clients. To create a series of characters, most of this work can be completed by extracting existing data through your CRM system.

You’ll get some of the following advantages:

  1. You’ll get a better understanding of who your customer is and what their real needs are. And, more importantly, the needs you can satisfy through your products or services.
  2. It’s ideal for focusing a strategy on a specific customer.
  3. It will allow you to generate personalized messages and strategies.
  4. You will achieve greater effectiveness in your campaigns. The more you know your users and the more focused your strategy is, the logic says that you will increase your results.

SWOT Analysis

Another fundamental step in the SOSTAC methodology is to create a SWOT analysis of your organization, considering all your internal departments rather than focusing solely on the marketing department.

In reality, any marketing strategy achieves some success thanks to its previous planning. And the more you know about everything around your business, the better you can focus on meeting your goals. For example, do you know what do you do better than your competence? Or where you need to improve? What does the competition have that your brand doesn’t? What opportunities does the market give you to grow? Hence the importance of working these 4 major areas:

  • Strengths.
  • Weaknesses.
  • Opportunities.
  • Threats.

As for the market in which you operate, you should also reflect on the needs that already exist. And how your company is developing in that specific niche.

2.-  SOSTAC Methodology: objectives

The second stage of the SOSTAC methodology should focus on the main objective of your strategy. But perhaps setting goals is a subject that still suffocates you.

The recommendation is that you should focus on SMART objectives. They will help you define the goal you want to achieve so that you can see if your efforts have really paid off. Do you know what each letter of the acronym refers to?

  1. “S” for SpecificThe objective must be clearly defined. For example, “I’m going to eat healthy” is not a specific goal. But “I’m going to eat 60 calories a day for a week” is. The same goes for marketing. “I want to increase conversions or double visits” is not specific. You should clearly define the answers to the following questions:
    • What.
    • Where.
    • When.
    • How.
    • Why.
  2. “M” for Measurable. Can you quantify the benefits? Your objectives must be measurable.
  3. “A” for AttainableTry to make sure that the goal you set is within your reach and not something like “the goal of your dreams”.
  4. “R” for RealisticDon’t lose sight of your limitations. It is possible that some goals require an investment you cannot afford. Therefore, define what you are going to achieve those goals with.
  5. “T” for Time Bound How long do you think it will take you to accomplish that goal? It’s critical that you create a timeline for it.

There are a number of SMART objectives that you can establish, for example:

  • Goal 1. Commitment: Having 50% of existing customers servicing your online account by July 2019.
  • Goal 2. Acquisition: Increasing brand visibility from April 2018 to July 2019. To be measured through Google Analytics.
  • Goal 3. Commitment: Increasing email frequency. Going from a single email sent per quarter to a weekly email from May 2018 to July 2019.

3.- SOSTAC Methodology: the strategy

Strategy refers to the path you plan to follow until you achieve the established objectives. In other words, once you have an objective and know how to get there, creating a strategy consists of drawing a road map that indicates the path you will follow.

For example, a strategy that provides powerful results could be Inbound Marketing, which seeks to attract potential customers through quality content to educate and loyalty.

4.- SOSTAC Methodology: tactics

Tactics cover the specific tools of the digital mix you plan to use to achieve the objectives of your marketing plan. The strategy section should also identify which market segments you want to reach with your plan.

What tactics can you follow?

  • SEO. SEO positioning gives a company the ability to compete against its competitors.
  • PPC campaigns. As with SEO, the research and choice of keywords, among others, will provide you with certain ideas to adjust your budget.
  • Affiliate marketing. In Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, a company partners affiliates (bloggers, publishers, companies, organizations, etc.) to promote its brand.
  • Email marketing. You need to implement an email strategy to ensure that your existing customer base receives newsletters regularly. The tactics can include all kinds of campaigns to keep a good click rate, open rates, and conversions.

5.- SOSTAC Methodology: action

The fifth step is to bring your plan to life and take proper action. Here, you will start the campaign and all the hard work. And responding to the 5W is fundamental to that.

The 5W method is used in professions where it is necessary to verify that a document is complete and written for an appropriate audience. In fact, they answer the following basic questions:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • How?

Responding properly to the 5 Ws is very important. It will determine the success of a campaign, regardless of the channel in which it is launched. And as such, it shows up as the result of conscious and intelligent planning and proper execution. Keep in mind that success will depend on them.

6.-  SOSTAC Methodology: control

This phase focuses on analysis and KPIs.

Indicators are usually chosen based on the type of campaign you launch. And they will mainly depend on your objectives. Especially since both must be SMART in order to obtain logical results.

A good relationship between a target and a performance indicator (also known as KPI) is all you need to have real results. Although, if you want them to be successful, it will depend on the marketing strategy you are launching at the moment and how you work on it.

This relationship is in charge of showing you how your goals have been met, how and in regards to what have they failed, what should be changed, etc. It sets a fixed course throughout the strategy.

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