Constructing the optimal mix is part art and part science. The art lies in understanding the nuances between the different marketing vehicles, how to craft copy tailored to the marketing vehicle, and how to combine copy with creative for the optimal impact. The science lies in the measurement and tracking of the effectiveness of various vehicles at delivering your message to the target audience in the context of the stated communications objectives.
There are two pieces of information that directly inform how we create the marketing mix.
- How does our target customer gather information? : Who do they go to for recommendations? Do they search online or do they ask for suggestions from colleagues, friends or family? Who influences the purchasing process? Answers to these questions help us to target the influencers as well as the target customers.
- How does our target customer want to receive information? : Do they want a lot of detail but not very often? Do they prefer to get more frequent information with less detail? Do they like phone, email or old-fashioned paper and envelopes? Again, this information will directly impact the types of marketing vehicles we invest in.
Marketing vehicles have a defined purpose and should be used according to the stated communication objectives. The following is a summary of the primary marketing vehicles, definitions, purpose described in terms of awareness, demand generation or lead conversion, and examples of each. This is not an exhaustive list, but is a great start.
Awareness: Ensure that customers know you exist – eyes and ears
Demand Generation: Attracting customers to your products/services – call, click or visit
Lead Conversion: Converting prospects to revenue – customers
|Advertising||Mass communications that broaden perceptions.||Awareness
|Broadcast (TV, radio), Print (newspaper, magazine), Online (banner ads, site ads)|
|Collateral & Sales Tools||Material describing a product, service, or solution used to support sales and marketing efforts.||Demand Generation||Brochure, card/flyer, catalog, cover letter, envelope, datasheet, folder, binder, video, presentation, promotional item, poster, banner, magazine, newsletter, competitive brief, instant reference guide, order and configuration guide.|
|Customer Testimonials||Customer endorsements illustrating the impact of the company product, service or solution.||Demand Generation
|Quotes, case studies, success stories, references, speaking engagements.|
|Direct Marketing||A method of contacting individual customers directly and obtaining their responses.||Lead Conversion||Direct mail, telemarketing, addressable media.|
|Event||An in-person or online occurrence designed to increase awareness, accelerate sales, and build relationships.||Awareness||Tradeshow, road show, seminar, conference, hospitality, executive briefing, webinar, online seminar.|
|Incentives||Providing equipment, discount or rebates to entice customers to try and/or purchase products, services or solutions.||Lead Conversion||Demo equipment, evaluation and trade-in, free sample or trial, mail-in or instant rebate or gift with purchase.|
|Internal Communications||Use of any marketing vehicle to keep employees informed.||Awareness||Broadcast/webcast, leadership meetings, internal websites, newsletters, webinars, etc.|
|Internet Marketing||The use of the internet to promote, advertise and sell goods and services.||Awareness
|Websites, pay-per-click advertising, banners, e-mail marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, blogs, webcasts, podcasts.|
|Co-Marketing||Funds and tools provided to partners to enable them to execute specific marketing strategies and tactics on behalf of the company.||Awareness
|Affinity marketing, affiliate marketing, lead generation, co-op marketing, channel incentives, partner compensation (SPIF)|
|Market Research||Research undertaken with the purpose on increasing understanding of markets, customers, competition, design and positioning of products, services, or solutions.||Demand Generation||Primary, secondary, syndicated, campaign testing, ad testing, competitive benchmarking.|
|Merchandising||Materials created and displayed in retail locations for the purpose of affecting product selection and purchase.||Lead Conversion||Brochure, demo, samples, lugon, highlighter, posters, banners, rebate, selection guides, tear pads.|
|Packaging||The physical material used to contain product including materials on-box or in-box designed to improve the customer experience.||Lead Conversion||Physical packages, inserts, literature, software, stickers, illustrations, installation guides, user manuals.|
|Public Relations||Activities that focus on industry influencers to establish the public image of the company and its products, services or solutions.||Awareness
|Press releases, endorsements, article placement, interviews, news conference, press tour, press kits, media briefings, product reviews, 3rd party releases, speaker’s bureau, white paper placement.|
|Viral Marketing||Activities that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses.||Awareness
|Word-of-mouth with online enhancements, blogs, audio and/or video clips, flash, games, advergames, etc.|
—This article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.