RACE Model: Effective Marketing Management In a Digital Environment

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on July 13, 2023
RACE is a customer communication planning model designed to guide and manage a company's marketing, primarily in a digital context. Composed of 4 stages, it covers all customer touchpoints and is particularly effective for promoting complex and expensive products that aren't impulse purchases, such as cars or apartments.

Why and When Was The RACE Model Developed?

This framework was created by Dave Chaffey, co-founder of Smart Insights, in 2010. He noticed many companies lacked a clearly defined digital marketing strategy and implementation plan.

The goal of the RACE model is to identify actions to focus on to enhance digital marketing results.

The model was developed from 2000 onwards in the context of digital marketing consulting and educational projects for major international brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group), as well as smaller retail businesses and startups such as Arco, Confused, and Euroffice.

What Does The RACE Framework Mean?

The RACE acronym encapsulates key online and multichannel marketing activities that span the full customer lifecycle or marketing funnel.

The acronym stands for Reach, Act, Convert, Engage. There's a crucial planning phase (P) preceding the funnel, which involves the creation of an overall digital marketing strategy and selection of key performance indicators for goal setting and efficiency analysis. The planning stage is meant to align digital communications with the company's business and marketing strategy.

Hence, sometimes the model is referred to as PRACE:
But its creators, for simplicity, decided to retain only 4 letters in the name. Let's delve into each of the four stages designed to help brands engage their customers throughout the customer lifecycle:

● Reach, sometimes referred to as Research by some marketers - first, your audience sees your ad;
● Act - then they visit your site and explore your products/services, with interactions at this stage possibly happening through multiple channels and touchpoints, such as offline channels, the internet, social media, email, etc.;
● Convert - they make an online or offline purchase;
● Engage - they get into your loyalty program, are added to your mailing list, subscribe to your social media, etc.

Step №1: REACH

The aim of this stage is to increase website visits and other resources and boost brand awareness of its products and services using all channels and contact points.

It involves maximizing reach to create multiple interactions using various touchpoints.

Stage Tools:
● Search engines;
● SEO;
● Social media;
● Media publications;
● Contextual advertising;
● Email newsletters;
● Publishing expert content.

To nurture customers at this stage, apart from direct advertising, useful content, reviews, checklists, recommendations, etc., are published. These materials are promoted in channels desired by the audience.

Key performance indicators for this stage:
● Unique visitors (on the site);
● Cost per visit;
● Social media subscribers.

Step №2: ACT

At this second stage, the potential buyer has familiarized themselves with your offer, compared it with others, and is ready to make a choice. They perform a series of actions to make the final purchase decision: they read reviews, study product features, request consultation via chat, etc.

The primary goal of this stage is to build trust. The quality of the relationship with the customer that you manage to establish will determine the conversion rate at the next stage.

Stage Tools:
● Company website;
● Blog;
● Social media;
● Review sites.

Actions to retain the customer at this stage:
✓ Creating a communication plan and content schedule for social networks,
✓ Developing a chain of newsletters in messengers and via email,
✓ Preparing useful information about the product/service;
✓ Working with reviews and recommendations;
✓ Organizing webinars and workshops with experts;
✓ Preparing visual content about the product, its usage, and benefits.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for this stage:
● Leads;
● Lead conversion rate;
● Time on page/site;
● Social media reposts, comments, and likes;

At this stage, analytics goals can include: "Product viewed", "Added to cart", "Registered as a participant" or "Subscribed to the newsletter".

Step №3: CONVERT

The aim of this stage is to transform potential customers into paying customers. It involves moving the target audience to the next crucial step - turning them into buyers.

At this stage, it's important to provide everything necessary for a comfortable purchase and usage experience to the customer who has made a purchase.

Actions to retain the customer at this stage:
✓ It's necessary to arrange for prompt delivery, offer the option to choose a delivery method, and track the product en route.
✓ Provide warranty service and repairs, ensure the availability of spare parts.
✓ Be always available for the customer, promptly answering all queries through convenient channels for them.
✓ Use remarketing to remind yourself to "warm" users.

Key Performance Indicators for this stage:
● Online and offline sales;
● Revenue/profit;
● Average order value.

Step №4: ENGAGE

This is the stage of long-term interaction, aimed at developing long-term relationships with customers who have made their first purchase. It is designed to increase customer loyalty and stimulate repeat purchases.

Actions to retain the customer at this stage:
✓ Sending out welcome email sequences,
✓ Communication with customers in the support chat on the website,
✓ Interacting with your customers on social networks,
✓ Inviting to a loyalty program,
✓ Creating a community of "advocates" for the brand.

And other actions aimed at increasing the value of the product and the brand in the eyes of the buyer.

Key Performance Indicators for this stage:
● The number and frequency of repeat purchases,
● Engagement of customers in social networks and the percentage of regular subscribers to the newsletter,
● CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) satisfaction and NPS (Net Promoter Score) loyalty index.

Summary

The RACE framework can help both small and large businesses track the path of potential buyers until they become customers and evangelists of the brand.

■ Each stage of the model is designed to move potential customers along your sales funnel from raising awareness to creating loyalty.

■ This is an omnichannel model. It allows planning and implementing integrated actions across various offline and online channels.

■ It is a performance-enhancing tool. Its important aspects include setting a goal for each stage and tracking its achievement using key performance indicators.

■ In addition, the RACE formula corresponds to the Kaizen principle. The aforementioned principle states that if you continuously optimize your funnel, your return on investment (ROI) will continuously grow.

If you are not yet using this framework in your work, now is the time to start!

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