By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
How to Win Your Major Marketing Campaign
In major marketing campaigns – in business or politics – there’s nothing more frustrating than losing. But a lack of funds or a small war chest is not the salient reason for defeat. It isn’t necessarily how much you spend.
There are many reasons for marketing failure of a campaign.
Here are 14 of the more important reasons:
- Inadequate analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- Drawing incorrect conclusions from the analysis (leading to ineffective overall strategic planning)
- Unrealistic budgeting
- Ineffective testing of ideas and messaging
- Arrogance – over confidence
- Poor coordination with centers of influence
- Not developing effective teamwork and communication among stakeholders
- Targeting the wrong market
- Lack of job descriptions – who will do what and when?
- Wrong people in many key positions
- Poor positioning in attributes and benefit statements
- Ineffective allocation of promotional funds – wrong mediums preventing top-of-mind awareness in customers, or voters
- Unproductive evaluation of the campaign and return on investment
- Unsuccessful responses to negative surprises and failure to capitalize on opportunities
Two basic rules include: “Know thyself” and “Know thy audience.”
Not to over-simplify, in essence, the key is to properly plan but only after you perform a strategic analysis.
Identify your centers of influence and strategic partners, quantify your goals, make a budget, identify your target audience, test your messaging, implement your plan, create a positive image, create a call for action, continually evaluate your progress, and respond to challenges and create opportunities.
No detail is too small: In collateral, from colors to font choices, or in developing centers of influence for the multiplier effect. But don’t get paralysis from analysis.
Plan your campaign to reach each person in your target audience with a positive message for a minimum of five times. That’s the magic number for optimal results. And be consistent to develop trust.
Remember the difference between marketing and advertising, and developing the right message. Broadcast advertising is all about frequency, reach and cost per thousand. Internet advertising is concerned about cpm, pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, and cost-per-action. Yes, despite what you’ve heard about social media, TV, especially, TV news remains the most powerful of mediums. Radio is still strong. But marketing is not simply creating a radio, TV or Internet advertisement or harnessing social networking tools. Advertising is merely one component of marketing.
Marketing pertains to the big picture. Marketing is the understanding of your target audience for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price. It’s a systematic development, coordination and implementation of a myriad of initiatives – proactive events to establish a dialogue – not just a bunch of advertisements.
Make certain to orchestrate and synergize your advertising with public relations, videos, word-of-mouth and social media. Thanks to the new Digital Age, consumers are in charge. Set up a dialogue, not a monologue.
For example, if you’re targeting young adults or teenagers, it’s sad to say, but they are getting their “news” from their social media.
Your communication plan should contain timelines. Press kits are helpful, but in this green age, they are not necessary. Regarding relationships with journalists, here’s a hint: Reporters like to deal with experts. So portray yourself as one.
Choose wisely. Insert and distribute effective videos and provide the right motives for people to share. The right content has to be presented in right place.
Follow the trends to see how to get the most attention. For example, Digg.com can be helpful but remember it’s mostly a young audience – big on tech and off-the-wall stories.
Just like reporters, every generation likes experts and stories. Storytelling holds great power for you. So tell a good story, write a good headline, deliver on your promises, and cite outside participants for proof in your claims.
In marketing, people base their buying-decisions on emotion. Following are strategies with business in-mind, but are applicable to politics.
Some 18 percent of people, whether blue-collar or white-collar in B2C or B2B situations, buy products and services solely at the cheapest cost they can find (according to my consulting firm’s research since 1992).
Avoid these people. They complain the most and they’re not loyal – they return only for cheap deals. Further, an HR concern: Many companies, such as restaurants, find it more difficult to retain their most-talented workers in such an environment. They tire from such customers. Plus, their tips from such customers are much less.
Companies that focus on selling at the lowest price either struggle unnecessarily or worse – they fade away. Companies are advised to target the other 82 percent.
The 82 percent is comprised of the most highly prized prospects – customers who are value conscious – value vis-à-vis cheap. Such customers have “five value-motivating perceptions” – emotionally, how they feel and what they think – that motivate them to buy.
The five value-motivating perceptions:
Employees, Spokespersons (52 percent) – What customers think about a company’s spokesperson and company employees. Key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. But listening skills and empathy are of paramount importance to customers. About 70 percent of customers will buy elsewhere if they feel they’re being taken for granted – it only takes from one to five bad experiences before customers are gone forever. And customers normally will not volunteer why they switch to a competitor.
Image of the organization (15 percent) – Prospective customers prefer to do business with companies that have a good image. Cleanliness and signs of good organization are important to them. In addition, cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image.
Quality of Product or Service Utility (13 percent) – The customer is subconsciously and often verbally asking a question similar to this: “What will this do for me?”
Convenience (12 percent) – Customers like convenience and accessibility. That includes all experiences such as their ease in navigating the company’s Web site and making a shopping-cart purchase, a happy buying environment at a store, making a telephone inquiry, and convenient bricks-and-mortar locations, and the level of service after they buy.
Price (8 percent) – To value-minded customers, price is important, but note it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.
Seven marketing elements
Once you understand what motivates the customer to buy, there are seven steps you must take for creating a happy buying environment. Fear is a great motivator. But Americans are tired of negativity. Yes, the marketing process goes a lot easier if you can make buying fun.
For marketing in a downturn or not, every PR or advertising message should – as much as possible –contain these seven elements:
- FEE. This is an acronym for establishing a common ground for a foundation using the principles of event and empathy. Every purchase is an event in the life of a customer – no matter how big or small. It also helps to show concern about the welfare of the customer.
- Research/focus groups on attitudes. Use tools to get the prospect to open up.
- Agreement on Need. Get the prospects to agree on their need to buy a product or service.
- Generic Value Proposition or Benefit Statement. Here’s where you explain your value proposition. Remember the difference between features vs. benefits to answer the basic marketing questions, such as the acronym, WIIFM , “What’s in it for me?” or “So What?”)
- Fill Prospect’s Need. Depending on your audience, use more specific benefit statements.
- Commitment – Ask for the order using a non-threatening, closed-ended question.
- Seal the Deal. This final step has three components –
- Use the magic words: “Thank you.”
- Prevent buyer’s remorse – remind the customer of benefits they’re receiving
- Look for an opportunity to provide the person with unexpected, perceived added value without hurting your bottom line.
How to overcome objections: If you’re at a meeting and encounter an objection, be careful with your response. Always empathize. Your first statement should be a note of empathy even if you disagree.
If you don’t know how to answer the person, explain you need more information and will get back to them later ASAP: “How about if I call you at 4?”
If you do know how to respond and in order to overcome an objection, it’s still important to use empathy.
Here are the three steps to overcoming objections:
- Get the prospect to restate his/her concern. Then repeat the person’s words: “If I understand you correctly, you feel…?”
- Empathize: “I can see how you feel that way”…or “You know, someone said the same thing last week.”
- Overcome the objection with facts. (Then recap the seven steps.)
After you’ve won, best-practices also call for follow-up and laying a foundation for an infrastructure that promotes long-term success.
“The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.”
-Adlai E. Stevenson
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.