The Four “Crosses” of Effective Marketing
The modern marketer has a glut of possible communication mediums through which he can promote a brand. In additional to traditional advertising like print, radio and television, he also has social media outlets, Internet advertising, and mobile platforms. And that doesn’t even count word of mouth and other customer-driven avenues like blogs and user reviews. With all these options out there, how can a marketer determine which is the most effective?
The solution is not to rely on a single one. Instead, leverage multiple mediums at once. It expands your coverage and increases the effectiveness of your message by an order of magnitude. But even this strategy is not as simple as it sounds.
Targeted media. Each message has to be tailored for the medium being used, even if—no, especially if they are running the same promotion. Customers don’t respond well to generic messages. They fall flat, and the campaign falls apart because all the channels are saying the same things in the same way.
You can still write messages appropriate to the medium and still tie them in together with the other elements of the campaign. Every media outlet has its own personality; find out what the norms are for communicating in each medium and tweak the message to fit.
Coordination. Okay, so you’ve targeted your message for each medium. But are you dribbling them out one at a time, or releasing them all at once in a scattergun approach? Are the messages self-contained and independent, or are you using one medium to promote another?
Coordinating your promotional messages can greatly increase their reach and effectiveness. For example, you can use Twitter to promote your Facebook promotion at the same time your TV spot sports a link to your Facebook page. Your TV spot in turn would be displayed on your Youtube page, which is then posted on Facebook and Twitter in turn. It may seem circular, but it works wonders for your visibility.
Marketers need to have an array of different skills if they are to survive and thrive in this competitive industry. While you don’t have to have an educational background or working skills in the areas listed below, it’s a good idea to have at least some knowledge about it.
Graphic design. They say that “common sense isn’t common”, and sadly neither is design sense. Graphic design is a science as much as an art. Familiarity with design conventions and the graphic design process will help you communicate your ideas more effectively, and result in better-looking material.
Creative writing. It’s good to keep in mind that skill in one type of writing doesn’t directly translate into skill at another. A journalist-by-training good at press releases is not the same as an advertising copywriter with an ear for punchy taglines. That said, a marketer who can write is an incredible asset to his organization, as he can communicate effectively in both internal and external communications, as well as properly assess the work of others.
Sales. Marketers are in the business of selling. Granted, it’s a more roundabout and indirect method, but the end result is the same: buy our product. Good sales training can give great perspective into your customers. If possible, train with the sales team within your company. They know what the hot buttons that your marketing messages should be pressing.
One could argue that you could hire employees or contractors to compensate for your shortcomings—and you can. But how will you be able to properly manage their performance if you don’t have at least a basic understanding of what the role requires?
The marketing team should never work inside a vacuum. Not only is it bad for morale, but such isolationism can lead to dangerous results during a marketing campaign. Working with tech support, sales, and engineering can be the difference between a scandal and a success.
Technical Accuracy. Promotions extol the benefits of products to customers, who look at the features and say “I want my product to do that.” But what happens if marketing exaggerates and makes false claims? The customer just bought a product that doesn’t do what the ad said it would! This leads to returns, a bad reputation, and maybe even a lawsuit.
Campaign feedback. When marketing pushes a promotion out into the public, the sales people are usually the first to know whether or not it works. They are on the sharp end, talking to the same customers you’re targeting with your ads. A good relationship with the marketing department can clue you in on what customers think of the marketing campaign, or if they’ve even heard about it in the first place.
If another company’s business is related to your own, you opt to join forces and market both brands together. Not only are you pooling resources, you’re also pooling audiences: exposing your product to another company’s customers and vice versa.
Event sponsorships. Organizations sponsor events all the time. It’s a great way to gain exposure for your product while showing your support for causes, sports, or milestones that your customers (and people you would like to become customers) value.
Product packages. Sometimes products just go hand in hand: hotdogs and buns. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Computers and software. Savvy marketers can work with complementary brands and promote two products at the same time in order to maximize exposure. You can do it on a one-off basis, as in a sale, or on a regular basis as part of a bundled product package.
Product placement. Though it has been done in the past, there is a growing trend of consumer brands using product placement in entertainment franchises such as movies or videogames. It’s a good way of putting your product in front of the customer, provided it is not done too obviously and doesn’t detract from the audience’s enjoyment of the movie or game.
Do you use the four “Crosses” in your marketing? What benefits have you gained from it, and how do you plan on implementing it in the future?