Best Marketing Strategies

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The best marketing strategies are those which are the cost effective and cost efficient at achieving the objectives they are designed to do. For this reason, the best marketing strategies are difficult to define in specific terms. For example, if your goal is to increase awareness of a new product, various promotions, advertisements, demonstrations, and a variety of other tactics might be appropriate. If your goal is to increase sales, purchasing incentives, product association and product generalization techniques, as well as product differentiation tactics may be effective. If the objective of the marketing campaign is to increase awareness or sales across the brand, or develop a brand image, product differentiation, emphasis on core competencies, low cost leadership, product development, and all other strategies that contribute to the uniqueness of a brand may be used as the base of a campaign.

The above strategies, especially regarding brand development can clearly not all be incorporated in the campaign for the obvious reason that certain messages contradict each other. This is especially true when targeting a specific demographic or market. Taking the various objectives of marketing campaigns into consideration, in order to determine what the best marketing strategy is, it must first be determined what the strategy is designed to do. In other words, as discussed in detail in the book "What Sticks", the marketing team must agree on their definition of success. That being said, although some campaigns are targeted for broader markets then others, specific strategies towards specific target markets may be the most effective for a variety of reasons. This is not to say that the target market can not be big or even vague in terms of demographics. This simply means that marketing strategies should have specific purposes rather then be random and often costly tactics to gain exposure with and leave the company hoping for results.

These strategies have certain qualities. For one, they should be measurable. This is to establish criteria of tactics that work and tactics that fail with regards to a given goal. This will allow future campaigns to work with greater insight when working on future campaigns with regards to effective techniques. This will inevitably save the company money on research, trials, and failed campaigns as well as time, man power in some cases, and will minimize risk. Again, as noted in the book "What Sticks", in order for a strategy to be truly measurable, the definition of success must be defined. Increased sales can be measured, but the measurements of effectiveness will be inaccurate if the objective is an improved brand image.

A second attribute that should be factored into effective marketing strategies is the impact it has on consumer perception. This where the importance of branding comes in, regardless of which brand is involved or how it is used. A marketing strategy optimally will not just obtain a temporary goal, but will in fact establish and contribute to a loyal consumer base. This ideally can be obtained through establishing a brand image that resonates with its target market, delivering messages that relate to, and motivate, the target market, and through creating a need from the perspective of the consumers that is actually satisfied by the product or the service. This means that the target market believes that the product or service being marketed is something that they actually need, and once the obtain, it, they feel satisfied. This encourages trust in the brand; there was a need, they offered a solution, the solution work, therefore, the brand is reliable. Furthermore, this should be encouraged in further marketing campaigns, which will be increasingly more and more cost efficient and result in continued and optimally growing consumer loyalty because the campaigns will be based on the accurate measurement of the previous strategies.

This leads to the third characteristic of effective marketing. It should consistently reinforce and embed the desired message into the lives of the target audience. Additionally, each successive campaign should work towards the agreed upon goal. Every campaign may have individual objectives, but there should be an overall concept of what the marketing is working towards. Think of this long term goal as the vision statement of the marketing team. Likewise, the messages delivered, and the strategies used are comparable to mission statements, and the short term objectives are similar to day to day tasks or even monthly or quarterly quotas. The idea is to follow a flexible long term outline that can adjust to consumer needs (the purpose of the short term goals, measurements, and strategies), while also heading towards establishing a desired image that reflects the values that appeal to the target market. It is essential that marketing strategies be part of a continuous process that does not just reinforce messages, but also, builds upon the previous messages and results. As long as there are competitive markets, there must be marketing. P&G still has marketing, Coca Cola still promotes, Nike still advertises. This is because no matter how dominant a company is in their industry, and regardless of their market share, corporations must ensure that their message and credibility is on the minds of consumers. These consumers, who may be loyal to a specific brand, are subjected to enormous quantity of media exposure that delivers a variety of messages. Furthermore, methods of communication and media channels are changing and are playing an increasingly intricate role in the marketing process. As consumer adjust to changing media platforms (i.e. TIVO, Video on Demand, Internet, ect), they are becoming less and less influenced by traditional advertising. Television ads can not produce the same results as they used to if audiences are fast forwarding through them. Once again, to keep pace with this, research and measurement are essential. So, relating back to the importance of building upon previous messages, once a brand has established a loyal consumer base, aside from the obvious desire for expansion, that loyal market base is being saturated with an abundance of messages and information, which they now have the power to filter out. If a given company does not use its research and measurement properly, its marketing efforts will go to waist and its messages will be filtered out and replaced by more astute brands. Moreover, saturation of information through mediums such as the Internet is actually creates such habituation that audiences are capable of scanning through marketing messages and advertising significantly faster then ever before. For this reason, it is essential that brands stay on top of the interests and appeals of their target market. For some this means encouraging higher levels of consumer involvement. This way, rather then audiences filtering out the messages delivered by a particular company, they will instead, in fact, seek information regarding your industry. This is especially advantageous if the brand is well established or has a reputation for high quality and credibility.

To summarize:
1. The best marketing strategies vary depending on the designated objectives
2. The techniques used should be measurable and used to facilitate more effective and efficient marketing in the future
3. Marketing messages should be relevant to their target market and build upon one another as well as reinforce one another to establish a long term, deeply embedded perception of the specific company
4. Short term goals based on research and measurement should be built in to marketing plans to allow flexibility and adjustments in reaching the long term "vision"
5. Use measurements and research to adjust, stay in touch with the target market, continue following up, measuring, and adjusting
6. Use new media channels to your advantage
7. If the company represents quality and is credible or well established, or even has something unique to offer, encourage consumer involvement; if you can't get to them, let them get to you
8. Highlight your unique qualities, competitive advantages, and as always differentiate your product, brand, or service

More about this author: Kevin Pack

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