Get Inspired: Marketing strategy masterclass the SOSTAC® way

Blog | 31 Oct, 2016

The Chartered Institute of Marketing centenary poll voted SOSTAC® marketing planning in the Top 3 Business Models worldwide, but what is SOSTAC®?

This inspirational, yet gloriously formulaic marketing planning suite has been adopted by the likes of KPMG, LinkedIn and more. It stands for:

  • Situation analysis
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Actions
  • Control

SOSTAC® is a simple framework to build a marketing strategy created by author and thought leader PR Smith and is used widely by marketers all over the globe.

Want a quick overview? Here’s a 4 minute summary on how to write the perfect marketing plan.

However, if you’ve time, here’s a whistle-stop tour of some of the great advice PR Smith shared at Jellyfish’s flagship event Digital Journeys 2016.

For the full model simply buy PR Smith’s latest book or go to for marketing tips and tools within, and outside of the model.

How in depth should market research be?

This marketing crash course starts with what you would expect; customer, competitor and other items to compile a large scale situation analysis.

PR Smith emphasises that this is the most important part of any marketing plan because it gives you all the information you could possibly need to make the right decisions.

He indicates this should be the majority of your plan.

“If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem & only 5 minutes finding the solution.”
Albert Einstein

Here’s a great article detailing some of the components within this in-depth situational analysis 'online marketplace analysis for digital marketing'.

What is your differentiated mission?

One of the primary business objective questions companies must ask themselves is what is your mission?

Leaders have a mission that sets them apart and forms or informs their USP in a crowded, and sometimes hyper competitive marketplace.

Google’s for example is ‘To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’.

The world’s largest eCommerce company, Alibaba, is sometimes described as a marketplace, sometimes a search engine and on occasion a bank. It sells more than eBay & Amazon combined.

What has helped make Alibaba be so successful? 

According to the Wall Street Journal it’s their mission of ’making it easier to do business across the world’ and their motto of   ‘Customer first, employee second, shareholder third.’

Jack Ma, founder said, “We know well we haven’t survived because our strategies are farsighted and brilliant, or because our execution is perfect, but because for 15 years we have persevered in our mission.”

Marketing strategy then tactics selection

PR Smith shared some poignant quotes on strategising:

“There’s no point rowing harder, if you are rowing in the wrong direction.”
Kenichi Ohmae

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
Sun Tzu                         

His book details the best ways to go about strategy like arguably the most important of all - stop doing things that don’t add value. This is essentially just throwing time down the drain.

Your tactic selection will be sequential, based upon your situation analysis and strategy.

Here’s a marketing tactics framework he shared for choosing between earned, owned and paid media as well as offline tactics throughout the funnel:

Marketing measurement funnel

Measuring marketing objectives will vary, however, PR Smith provided this starting point for a website performance measurement funnel:

Does your reporting look like this? PR Smith also breaks measurement down further by audience:

C Suite reporting – such as sales and market share

Managerial reporting – such as conversion rate and cost per lead

Analytics reporting – such as site visitors, duration and social followers

Everything changes, but a good idea is a good idea

You don’t say! Therefore the control section emphasises the need to review performance and refine – something Jellyfish has always prided ourselves on.

PR Smith closed with an example of some fantastic creative and the measurement of that creative idea that reinforced the success of the marketing strategy.

A property company came up with an idea of a ‘sky pool’ across the apartments they were selling.

They made a computer generated image of this and chose the tactics to promote it.

Within 24 hours of the image first appearing, it generated 105 new sales leads (from people wanting to buy an apartment).

This eventually resulted in £21m revenue generated by this image and the idea behind it.

Now that's worthwhile marketing.

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