Guides and Templates

Digital marketing models guide

Frameworks and mindtools to create digital audits, strategies and marketing plans

How will this guide help me and my business?

Many digital or ‘e-marketing’ models have emerged over the last decade. Partly in response to the introduction of the digital era, and partly as a result of new disruptive methods of marketing.

We believe that models are powerful 'mindtools' to help marketers use a more strategic approach to improve their digital marketing when they create plans to exploit digital marketing.

The guide lists 10 useful models the authors, Annmarie Hanlon and Dr. Dave Chaffey, use in their teaching and books. It is structured in sections for digital audits, planning and strategy. Digital marketing models are useful ways to structure your efforts and can help you tease out insights where you previously were unable to.

As with our companion Essential Marketing Models guide, this guide explains the fundamentals of each digital model, how it works, and gives examples of how to use each model along with best practice advice and templates to use in your business.

How is this guide structured?

This guide is broken down into 3 main sections which the 10 different marketing models fit into. These are:

Audit Models 

  • Forrester’s 5Is
  • Lauterborn’s 4Cs
  • Ten Cs of Marketing

Planning models 

  • 6Cs of customer motivation
  • Hofacker’s 5 stages of information processing
  • RACE Planning Framework
  • Technology acceptance model

Strategy models

  • 4Cs for marketing communications
  • McKinsey’s consumer decision journey
  • The Honeycomb model

For each model we explain what it is, who originated it, how to apply it and give examples of how it can be used.

Latest updates

This content is generally evergreen, but has been updated in 2024 to reflect recent digital changes and features updated examples to ease understanding.

Resource Details

  • Authors: Annmarie Hanlon and Dr. Dave Chaffey
  • Editor: Amelia Cooper, Smart Insights
  • Format: Downloadable PDF e-book
  • Companion guide:

About the authors

Annmarie Hanlon

Annmarie Hanlon

Annmarie Hanlon is the Smart Insights expert commentator on online and offline marketing strategies for business. Annmarie is the MD of Evonomie and author of Quick Win Marketing, and co-author of Quick Win Digital Marketing. She runs social media workshops in the UK and Ireland and shares marketing tips and news in her blog, B2B Marketing. You can follow Annmarie on X (formerly Twitter) or connect on LinkedIn.

Dr. Dave Chaffey

Dave Chaffey

Dave is co-founder of Smart Insights and creator of the Smart Insights RACE Planning Framework. He has consulted and trained for many businesses including large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell,, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses.

For his full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. He has been recognized by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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