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The Tactics Trap

imageI’ve done it…. I think all of us have done it at one time or another. That’s right. We’ve all fallen into the tactics trap. What is the tactics trap? It’s executing marketing in isolation from your business objectives. Simply executing marketing activities for the sake of doing something (anything!) to generate leads. This is like shooting arrows in the dark. Sure you might hit something every once in a while. And it might even be a good lead. But more often than not, you’re not hitting the mark at all. You’re not even coming close.Effective marketing ties directly to business objectives. Some companies want to grow revenue; some want to reposition themselves; others want to move into new markets or solidify their position in their current target markets. Where does your company want to go?Once you know this, you can determine what marketing can do to help your company get there (aka develop marketing objectives). Then, and only then, does it becomes about how marketing can achieve it’s defined objectives. This is the point where you determine specific marketing goals, which types (disciplines) of marketing i.e. direct marketing, public relations, advertising, sales and sales promotion etc., make the most sense and which tactics within those disciplines will be the most effective.
Here’s an example:Business Objective: • Maintain current level of profitability while growing within existing markets and beginning to break into additional markets.Marketing Objectives:• Increase penetration within existing markets by 5%• Introduce the company’s products/services to at least one new market with the new market accounting for 10% of sales for the year.Marketing Goals:• Product Sales -- The marketing objectives noted above are to increase penetration in existing markets and open a new market. Product sales are therefore a marketing goal.• Awareness and Branding -- To introduce products/services into new markets, it is important to establish awareness and build a brand image amongst the new target audience.
Here is where this process begins to get more tactical. Marketing Disciplines:Once you have specific marketing goals defined, now it’s time to determine which strategic marketing disciplines -- advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion etc. -- can be used to support the goals. • With product sales as a marketing goal, both direct marketing and sales strategies would come into play here. A direct marketing campaign will be needed in both the existing and new markets targeted. Sales teams will obviously be a large contributor to the success of the product sales objective. Marketing Methodologies:To increase product sales, a marketer might want to use the following approaches:• Reasearch to determine if there is any need to change the product mix or marketing messages and to determine the number of potential prospects in the marketplace• Segmentation and target marketing to determine which segments of the markets have a higher propensity to respond and/or purchase• Relationship building to help make existing customers more likely to purchase additional products/services.• Lead generation to create leads for the sales force.Media Choices:Think of media as the communications mechansims used to execute the methodologies and approaches determined to be best to meet the marketing objectives. • Research could be executed using direct mail, telemarketing, web-based and social media tools. • Relationship and loyalty building could be achieved using direct mail, advertising in trade magazines or radio, email marketing, web-sites, discount offers etc.• Segmentation, target marketing and lead generation can be executed using direct mail, vertical/trade magazine advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, telemarketing etc.
So, resist the urge to jump directly to tactics. Don’t market in isolation. Take the time to understand your company’s business objectives and align your marketing to this in a prescriptive way through the development of true marketing objectives and goals. Your marketing arrows will fly true and straight; hitting the mark more often than not.

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