The Simple Objective of a Marketing Campaign


Article by: Jeffrey Dobkin

The function of marketing is to present goods and services to people who need or want them, and entice them to buy. This includes alerting people that your product is available, showing prospects its features and benefits, and making them an offer they won't want to refuse.

In a broad sense, marketing is one of the three phases of any business, the other two being operations and finance. Sales is a part of the marketing arm, as is advertising. Advertising is knowing what to say, marketing is knowing where to say it. Sales in not marketing. The sales manager does not become the vice-president of marketing, he becomes the vice-president of sales.

A part of marketing is determining the industry entrance barriers, investigating the industry pricing strategies and setting prices. It's also examining the media and its costs and relative effectiveness. Marketing is also finding and analyzing the competition, discovering the scope and depth of the number of people who wish to buy your goods, the saturation level of people who already own it, and the maturity of how long your product has been around. Marketing includes the function of the selection of additional products to sell, along with the selection of distribution channels in which to sell them. All the while the marketing department is keeping an eye on making a profit.

Most importantly it's the marketer's job to satisfy customers enough for them to purchase, then to come back and purchase again; and finally to earn the privilege and the trust of having customers refer other customers and their friends. If your customers don't come back, or you don't get good referrals, your product - or your marketing - stinks. This one fact separates the good marketeers from the great marketeers. Getting repeat business and getting referrals are two of the lowest cost, most effective ways to market both goods and services.

The objective of a marketing campaign is to correctly identify the individuals or groups of people who are the most likely to purchase your goods or services - so you can promote your brands to them. The better you define your best potential customers, and separate them from everyone else, the more effective your marketing campaign can be.

Let me put it this way: the better you are at defining your target group, the more effective you will be at reaching them. Consequently, you'll waste less money on the expense of advertising - and trying to sell to people who aren't interested in purchasing your goods and services. Thus, the better your marketing, the lower your marketing costs.

This "market research" phase of investigative marketing is where we separate the "not interested" and the "can't afford it" along with the "not quite ready" and the "unsure" and cast them into one group called "expense". Then we take the "we'd like to purchase" group and put them in a holding pattern, dousing them with constant reminders of our brand, our offer and good will and keep them close at hand, while we actively turn our immediate attention to the "We're ready to buy, here's our money!" group. Then we sell the last group something, as our first priority. Cash flow is the first name of any good marketing campaign.

But the party's not over, yet. If the campaign is a good one, the marketing plan should focus on the best places to find more - clones - of these "most likely to purchase," folks and the "We're ready to buy, here's our money!" groups and assess how they can be reached most effectively (i.e.: at the least cost.)

For example, if I was introducing a new product and found that the local sheet metal workers here in Philadelphia were purchasing it in good quantity, the first place I'd look for more of the same would be in the magazines that serve the sheet metal industry. "Sheet Metal Working Today," and "Modern Sheet Metal Times" magazines would make my job a lot easier, faster and cheaper.

If the market is fragmented, individual buyers may be scattered across the country, or across many industries, without a way to reach them as a group through a selected set of magazines, trade shows or other mass-media avenues. In this case, perhaps they can be defined by a SIC code, or targeted and reached through a direct mail list. Thus they can be reached individually at their doorstep through a mailing. Now we look for the most focused and targeted mailing lists, custom designed and further enhanced to the specific defined criteria of our target group.

It is through the medium of direct mail that we can really tighten the selection criteria parameters that defines our best and most focused target niche from the entire marketing universe. So if we were looking for people with diabetes we might be able to reach them through "Diabetes Today" magazine. But if we were looking for people with Type II Diabetes in their early stages, we might be able to find a mailing list of people with Diabetes with an overlay for "Type II" and an additional selection overlay of "early stage." Depending on our product usage parameters we may wish to select even more overlays such as gender, or if our products were expensive, income.

Direct mail, when executed correctly, can be used with the precision of a surgeons knife to extract perfect prospect models from the masses, who often range from the pick of the litter to the vague and disinterested. Direct mail is an example of one of the hundreds of ways to get the message out to viable prospects-and if selected carelessly, others.

It's the marketing department of a company that selects the medium in which to contact and acquire customers. Common ways of mass media advertising include TV, radio and newspapers - which are used mainly for consumer offers because of their broad reach across many industries, age groups, income levels and types of positions. A great advantage of newspapers is their high density geographic base of coverage.

Magazines - one of my favorite ways to dredge for marketing data as well as to place advertising - may be used for both trade and consumer products. Industrial magazines, and specialty consumer magazines have a unique ability to penetrate a specific industry or market niche with broad reach, albeit little depth. For example, there are about 50 publications that go the motorcycle industry, about half are trade magazines going to dealers, accessory shops, manufacturers and so forth.

Computer geeks, who often don't get enough satisfaction from just owning a computer, generally love to get whipped into a purchasing frenzy to buy yet the next and latest model by the computer trade magazines. I say that because there are over 450 different magazines that are sent - each and every month - to the range of computer industry personnel. Too bad about their new machine: as it touched their desk for the very first time it was already obsolete.
Trade shows are usually industry specific, and tend to be industrial in nature, although a few big shows span several industries. That not-with-standing, consumer marketing through shows is prevalent in a core of industries. Who hasn't heard of the Auto Show, the Boat Show or the Home Show. There are over 10,000 trade shows staged around the U.S. each year. These are great for face to face information gathering, selling and lead generation. I've never been to a trade show I didn't like, or didn't learn something from.

Let's not forget, ugh, telemarketing; while I don't like getting unsolicited calls - there are types of campaigns for which telemarketing is very effective. The telephone is an effective instrument and sales tool - generally much better than a sheet of paper sent in an envelope. But, telephone calls are more labor intensive - er, expensive, too. While I can mail 5,000 pieces of mail in a few days right from my office, I'd be hard pressed to have more than 20 to 30 calls an hour from each staff member. One commonality amongst our staff: we all hate the phone. Some people are good at it, though.

And of course there's nothing like a personal sales call from your staff, or rep firms that are common to most industries. As if the previous wasn't enough, now we have to suffer through fields of e-mail, affiliate marketing and storms of continually popping-up banner ads on the Internet. By the way, if you're e-mailing me, I assure you I didn't opt-in for ANY e-mail program, no matter what anyone told you. While there's a good bit of shake out, the Internet really has changed the face of marketing.

It is the people in the marketing department who decide which features and benefits turn-on the people in each distinct market niche. Their interpretation of data from research, their experience, or sometimes plain old seat-of-the-pants judgment leads the department heads to judge how best to approach each group of prospects to make them respond. The marketing department also selects what the offer is, what size ad should be placed and most importantly... what to have for lunch. Just kidding. I meant, most importantly in which magazines to place ads. They also select which mailing lists to rent, the criteria to judge and rate each list, and how many different lists to test.

In most firms the marketing department directs the PR department, determines which magazines and newspapers we should send press releases for publication; and in fact, the structure, nature, scope and depth of the press releases campaign.

The company marketing gurus decide how to construct the press release campaign to get the most response, and whether to cast a tight net to get more qualified prospects, or a loose net to get more less-qualified suspects. Then the department devises the offer and what the respondent gets - whether it's a free sample, call for information, write for information, bingo card response (ugh), stop in store, buy one get one free or any of a myriad of ways to make the potential customer speak out in some way to let us know he may be interested in our products or services. The customer speaks by alerting us of his interest so that we may give him further and more detailed information in an effort to induce him to buy. Or the customer can actually cast his or her vote on our marketing correctness by purchasing the product.

The marketing function also includes setting price through the use of various pricing considerations. There are hundreds of ways to set prices, and thousands of formulae - of which only a short handful are correct. I personally feel the price should be high enough to generate a profit, add some cushioning for growth, and still allow the sale of your products in a competitive marketplace. In direct marketing it is the market that sets the correct price - and testing will reveal the best sales level at the most profit.

Price consideration is determined by 1. if the market is price sensitive or need driven 2. how long the order processing cycle is 3. how long till we can deliver 4. the repeat buying cycle 5. how often the customer will purchase 6. what it costs to reach each customer(CPM) 7. the customer acquisition cost 7. the cost of each inquiry(CPI) 9. the cost of each sale(CPO) and finally, 10. the lifetime value of a customer. I like to to find out if customers can get comparable products anywhere else, what is our perceived image of quality, who is the a price leader and are they vulnerable to a price attack, and if we can we leverage our market position to a price advantage.

Keep in mind that the cost of marketing additional products goes down considerably from the costs associated with your original sale. In fact, if you market other products, your marketing costs may at times be close to zero. Most often, your very best prospect for buying additional products is someone who has just purchased from you, especially if they are happy with your original products and services. They are my most favorite marketing target group as they are usually the most likely to immediately purchase again from us.

So marketing, then, is a system to deliver your message to the maximum number of interested people, to produce the maximum number of sales at the lowest possible cost and at the highest amount of fair profit. Then, the function of marketing is to sell the purchaser something else or establish him as a repeat buyer by making sure he is a satisfied customer. Hummm, perhaps all the rest is BS?

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Jeffrey Dobkin, author of How To Market A Product For Under $500!, Uncommon Marketing Techniques, and Inside Secrets of Direct Marketing, is a specialist in direct response copywriting. He writes powerful, response-driven sales letters, TV commercials and scripts; persuasive catalog copy; and exceptionally hard-hitting direct mail packages that increase sales. He also analyzes direct marketing packages, ads, catalogs, and campaigns. Mr. Dobkin is an acclaimed speaker and a direct marketing consultant. Call him directly at 610-642-1000 for free samples of his work. You can visit his web site at:

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