Planning for Effective Marketing
By Rama Beerfas
July 1, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)—It takes many different components coming together to make a marketing campaign successful: a defined target market, an understanding of that target market, a “SMART” goal, a cohesive campaign, and, most importantly, planning. One of the biggest mistakes I see when my clients come to me for assistance in executing a marketing campaign or to purchase a promotional product for an event is the lack of planning involved. Without a cohesive plan, which includes a timeline for critical action points, only luck will save the marketing effort from becoming a failure, or worse, a black eye on the face of the company.
You should, of course, have an overall strategic marketing plan for at least a year out which defines and details your marketing efforts in overview (a goal, a deadline, and specific action(s) to take to achieve the goal). That, however, is only the beginning of the plan. Each one of the individual efforts outlined in the marketing plan should have its own detailed plan for the who, what, where, when, why and how of the plan’s execution for maximum return on investment and objectives.
Although most of these six components (who, what, where…) are inextricably inter-related and a change in one of them can cause a ripple effect amongst the other five, the one most important criteria is the “why” – or the objective for a particular marketing endeavor. Once we determine the desired outcome, the other five components can be better defined and targeted to meet that outcome.
To define the “why” we need to look at setting a SMART goal:
Specific: define what you want to accomplish in detailed terms. For example, setting a goal of increasing gross sales by 20% from the previous year, rather than just saying you want higher gross sales from the year before. Would you be satisfied if you only sold $1.00 more than the previous year? Probably not, but technically, you would have met your goal.
Measurable: Have a metric in place to be able to measure the success of the goal. If you can answer “How much…?” or “How many…?”, you have a measurable goal.
Attainable: Make sure that you have the resources available at your disposal to make the goal a reality.
Realistic: Keeping your resources, the overall outlook for your product and services in relation to what is happening in the world economically and socially, and what you are willing to do in mind, do you believe that this goal can be reached? A bit of a stretch is an acceptable challenge; shooting for the moon is not.
Timely: Set a definite deadline by which the goal should be reached. You can also set milestones along the way for when metrics of your progress should be examined.
Once you have the “why” of the program, it’s time to move on to some of the other questions. We’ll explore those over the coming months.
Rama Beerfas is the Chief Solutions Specialist of San Diego-based Lev Promotions, offering marketing consulting and promotional product programs. Rama also offers seminars and training in topics related to marketing and customer service. She can be reached at (619) 697-2045 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit requests for column topics to the above e-mail address.