Choosing the right tools is imperative to getting any job done right AND efficiently. Case in point: buying a car. If you need to drive around people, you might opt for a minivan, but if you need to move cargo, a pickup truck is the more logical choice. Neither vehicle would substitute successfully for the other without sacrificing something.
The same principles apply to advertising. When trying to plan the best marketing strategy, begin with the end in mind. Start by identifying your end goals and think about what success will look like. Only after that, should you begin to consider what the best medium is for your marketing message…or in other words, what the right “tool” is for the job!
As a marketing professional, I talk to my clients about their marketing challenges and objectives well before I advise them on the approach they should take. Every company has unique situations, and therefore each marketing approach should be customized in order to be the most effective and efficient.
For example, one of my clients has 19 area locations across Maryland and Virginia. Because their potential customers are located throughout the entire Washington DC marketing area, I recommended a mass marketing vehicle to accomplish regional coverage to equally benefit all of their retail stores. TV and/or radio are excellent choices for this type of approach because both have the potential to communicate your message to millions of Washingtonians.
However, this mass marketing approach would not be appropriate for a one-location business, such as a dentist office or flower shop, whose best opportunities for potential customers come from a one to 10 mile radius of their store or office. Businesses like these would benefit more from geographically targeted advertising. One popular option these days is digital display ads (or banner ads) because you have the ability to geo-target your ads to appear in specific counties, cities, or even zip codes. This would be a better choice for advertisers who know location plays a big part in why a customer would choose them over a competitor (competitive benefit).
When you’re planning your next marketing campaign, choose your advertising medium AFTER working through your strategy first.
Here are just some of the questions I ask my clients before recommending the best marketing mix:
- What are your overall marketing objectives and desired outcomes?
- Who is (clearly define) your target audience?
- What are the “benefits sought” by your target audience?
- What will “success” look like at the end of your campaign?
- How will you measure results and judge success?
- Are your expectations reasonable?
- How much do you have budgeted to accomplish your objectives?
- Is it a hard number or is there a range providing some flexibility?
- What is your timetable?
- Who is your competition? (in general, and for this particular objective?)
- How are you positioning the competitive benefits of your company? And is this consistent with the positioning defined for this campaign?
- What is your call Call-to-Action? How do you want people to respond after being exposed to the message?
As I have outlined, all good plans should begin with the end in mind…including a good marketing strategy. All good marketing strategies take into account certain important elements.
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