The last thing you need is an ad
Sep 10 2015

My first meeting with a CEO about marketing usually goes something like this:

Me: So tell me what you’ve been doing with your marketing and advertising.

CEO: We’ve been running some ads and attending a few trade shows. I know my website needs to be updated. I feel like we could be doing better with our marketing dollars.

Me: Is there a marketing strategy?

CEO: What?

While marketing is not 100% science, it’s about 50% science, 25% rationale decision-making and 25% trial and error. The science part starts with the development of a marketing plan that includes a solid marketing strategy. Tactics are the final deliverables in a marketing plan. So when a CEO says, “I need a new trade show booth” or “I need a new ad,” he may be right or he may not, depending upon what he’s trying to achieve.

To see what I mean, let’s look at how two different, but very simple scenarios, though both aiming for the same result, will require two very different tactical plans:

First of all, always start with the result you want.

Q: What are you trying to achieve? What are your sales goals?
A: To increase sales by 8% or $250,000.

Next, figure out how you can achieve those sales, depending on your specific scenario:

Q: How will these sales be generated? This will be your marketing objective.
A: Scenario 1:
75% of these sales will be generated through new business acquisition and 25% through increased sales from current customers.
A: Scenario 2:
75% of these sales will be generated through increased sales from current customers and 25% through new business.

As you can see, these two scenarios have different marketing objectives and targets that require very different marketing strategies. You need to develop different communication objectives and marketing strategies to fit each audience.

Scenario 1:

If your primary target is new customers, one of your communication objectives might be to increase awareness of your product or service among this audience. Some tactics to increase awareness could be:
– Advertising
– Public relations
– Trade shows
– Direct mail or email blasts

A second communication objective could be to increase the number of referrals of new customers. A marketing strategy for this objective could be to develop a referral program among current customers.

Scenario 2:

With this scenario, your primary audience is current customers. I bet you could already see that this group requires very different communication objectives and marketing strategies than new customers.

One communications objective could be to educate customers about additional and new products, services and upgrades. How could you execute this?
– enewsletters
– direct mail
– communication on your customer portal
– frequency discounts

In scenario 2, the last thing you need is an ad. When it comes to spending your marketing budget efficiently, the first thing you need is a strategy.