Strategic planning focuses on the 3C's, namely: Customer, Corporation and Competitors.[13] A detailed analysis of each factor is key to the success of strategy formulation. The 'competitors' element refers to an analysis of the strengths of the business relative to close rivals, and a consideration of competitive threats that might impinge on the business' ability to move in certain directions.[13] The 'customer' element refers to an analysis of any possible changes in customer preferences that potentially give rise to new business opportunities. The 'corporation' element refers to a detailed analysis of the company's internal capabilities and its readiness to leverage market-based opportunities or its vulnerability to external threats.[13]


The convenience and easy accessibility of the Internet has created a global B2C e-commerce research facility, for a vast online shopping network that has motivated retail markets in developed countries. In 2010 between US$400 billion and $600 billion in revenue was generated by this medium. It was anticipated that in 2015 this online market will generate between $700 billion and $950 billion.
When conducting primary research, you can gather two basic types of information: exploratory or specific. Exploratory research is open-ended, helps you define a specific problem, and usually involves detailed, unstructured interviews in which lengthy answers are solicited from a small group of respondents. Specific research, on the other hand, is precise in scope and is used to solve a problem that exploratory research has identified. Interviews are structured and formal in approach. Of the two, specific research is the more expensive.
Update your website and continuously offer useful and updated content. Think of your website as a storefront but in the virtual world. In the same way that you do not leave your physical store unattended for a month, you would not do the same to your website. Always update your website and keep it fresh by having a blog, announcing sales, special offers, and new products. Think that you are a customer yourself, so give them the information that they want.
Another way to find this information is to do a simple Google search. For example, one could place the following phrase into Google Search:  “(product name) + affiliate program”. (Replace “product name” with the name of the product you are promoting.) There is an interesting chrome addon called Affilitizer is available which makes this process easy.
Typically the firm will attempt to leverage those opportunities that can be matched with internal strengths; that is to say the firm has a capability in any area where strengths are matched with external opportunities. It may need to build capability if it wishes to leverage opportunities in areas of weakness. An area of weakness that is matched with an external threat represents a vulnerability, and the firm may need to develop contingency plans.[60]
Mintzberg suggests that the top planners spend most of their time engaged in analysis and are concerned with industry or competitive analyses as well as internal studies, including the use of computer models to analyze trends in the organization.[14] Strategic planners use a variety of research tools and analytical techniques, depending on the environment complexity and the firm's goals. Fleitcher and Bensoussan, for instance, have identified some 200 qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques regularly used by strategic analysts[15] while a recent publication suggests that 72 techniques are essential.[16] No optimal technique can be identified as useful across all situations or problems. Determining which technique to use in any given situation rests with the skill of the analyst. The choice of tool depends on a variety of factors including: data availability; the nature of the marketing problem; the objective or purpose, the analyst's skill level as well as other constraints such as time or motivation.[17]
Typically the firm will attempt to leverage those opportunities that can be matched with internal strengths; that is to say the firm has a capability in any area where strengths are matched with external opportunities. It may need to build capability if it wishes to leverage opportunities in areas of weakness. An area of weakness that is matched with an external threat represents a vulnerability, and the firm may need to develop contingency plans.[60]
Those who follow after the Close Followers are known as the Late Entrants. While being a Late Entrant can seem very daunting, there are some perks to being a latecomer. For example, Late Entrants have the ability to learn from those who are already in the market or have previously entered.[98] Late Followers have the advantage of learning from their early competitors and improving the benefits or reducing the total costs. This allows them to create a strategy that could essentially mean gaining market share and most importantly, staying in the market. In addition to this, markets evolve, leading to consumers wanting improvements and advancements on products.[99] Late Followers have the advantage of catching the shifts in customer needs and wants towards the products.[92] When bearing in mind customer preference, customer value has a significant influence. Customer value means taking into account the investment of customers as well as the brand or product.[100] It is created through the “perceptions of benefits” and the “total cost of ownership”.[100] On the other hand, if the needs and wants of consumers have only slightly altered, Late Followers could have a cost advantage over early entrants due to the use of product imitation.[95] However, if a business is switching markets, this could take the cost advantage away due to the expense of changing markets for the business. Late Entry into a market does not necessarily mean there is a disadvantage when it comes to market share, it depends on how the marketing mix is adopted and the performance of the business.[101] If the marketing mix is not used correctly – despite the entrant time – the business will gain little to no advantages, potentially missing out on a significant opportunity.
What does it take to do that? Simply put, you have to take a step back for a moment. You have to analyze and understand the basic mechanics of your message and how to effectively reach a larger audience without losing your shirt. The secret to all of this? No matter what marketing strategy you use, if you don't have an effective sales funnel and optimize your conversions, you'll just be throwing money away.

The availability of research by way of the Internet has influenced a vast number of consumers using this media; for gaining knowledge relating to virtually every type of available product and service. It has been added to by the growth factor of emerging global markets, such as China, Indonesia and Russia, which is significantly exceeding that of the established and more advanced B2B e-commerce markets. Various statistics show that the increasing demands of consumers are reflected not only in the wide and varied range of general Internet researching applications, but in online shopping research penetration.

Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.
Affiliate agreements can be entered into by any type of business, from sole proprietor to corporation. Affiliating with another company is a good way to promote your business and make more money by joining with someone who has a proven track record and a larger customer base. But before you join an affiliate program of any kind, consider these questions (from Leslie Truex, Home Business expert).
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