One of the elements of you online marketing strategy is the determination of target groups. Who exactly do you want to serve? Important follow-up questions are what exactly you want to achieve with that target group, what strategy you are going to implement for that target group and which channels you are going to use for this.

The POST model helps with this. The model is more than 10 years old and was introduced in the book Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li. The model was then devised to map which social media channels you use per target group. Nowadays we expand our focus a bit beyond just social media and also look at technologies such as e-mail or apps.

What elements does the POST model consist of?

Below you see the POST model. On the Y-axis you put the number of target groups. The X-axis contains People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology.

The very first step is to identify who exactly your target groups are and what distinction you make between those groups. You can do this, for example, based on personas. Once you have mapped out your target groups, you can fill in the four facets of the POST model for each target group.

#1 People

The first part of the POST model is the heading “People”. For each target group, you determine exactly how that target group behaves on the web. You can again use the Social Technographics Profile.

That model, also from the book Groundswell, classifies your target group on a ladder in terms of web activity. This target group may do virtually nothing online (the 'Inactives'), but it may also be that they are very active and also contribute to the web themselves (the 'Creators'). Below you will see a representation of the Social Technographics Profile.

The percentages can help you get an idea of ​​how many users in general (or in a specific country) have a certain role. These percentages have often been updated over the years and you can retrieve them with some searching.

#2 Objectives

The second step in the model is setting goals per target group. The question is quite simple: what exactly is your goal for this target group? A goal could be that you want more conversion on the newsletter, more registrations for the information evening about your product or more purchases in the webshop.

It is of course important that you formulate your goals SMART. So also think about the metrics to measure this. Also look critically at your goals in relation to what you have entered for a target group under the heading 'People'. If your goal is for the target group to start using a review tool en masse while they are 'inactives', then that goal is not very realistic.

#3 Strategy

You know who your target groups are, how they behave on the web and what exactly you want to achieve with that target group. Then it's time to think about the strategy to achieve those goals.

The questions you ask yourself here are:

  • What exactly am I going to offer my target group?
  • How will you deliver that (the HOW / process)?
  • What relationship do you want to have with this target group?
  • Are there partners I need to work with for this?

The authors of Groundswell specifically mention the relation as the most important factor to think about. How does the relationship with your target group change due to the use of certain techniques? What are things you need to take into account if that relationship changes?

#4 Technology

Finally, you will determine which techniques you will use to achieve your goals and implement your strategy. Techniques include:

  • Blogs
  • Social Media channels
  • Wikis
  • Apps
  • Landingpages
  • Forum
  • Email funnels
  • My environments

It essentially covers the entire technical spectrum of the web through which you can reach customers and convey value. It is important that you obtain a coherent set of goals, strategy and technology. The whole picture has to be 'right'.

As you can see, the POST model is a fairly simple model, but one that immediately handles a wide range of questions. Important questions that you need to think about carefully to create a solid online marketing strategy!