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How Does Your Marketing Engine Run?

A machine is more than the sum of its parts. An engine is a machine. Your marketing apparatus must also take on the attributes of a machine: a device with many parts, that can perform several functions and can operate independently—and interdependently. Please allow me to illustrate.

A well-oiled marketing machine encompasses the entire process of moving the product or service through the system, from producer to end-user. Along the way, it includes the following sub-processes:

· Market Research- studying your potential customers; who they are, what they buy, how they buy, when and where they buy, where they live and what drives
their purchasing decisions.

· Advertising- the art and science of telling your company and/or product story
to your potential consumers; selecting the most effective and efficient media
and devising and executing the most motivating message.

· Promotion- showcasing special opportunities to trigger a consumer purchase.

· Merchandising- creating the most enticing product displays, offers and packaging.

· Publicity- engaging the media to tell the newsworthy aspects of your story.

· Customer Relationship Management- continuing involvement with the consumer
following the sale, to maintain a level of satisfaction.

Research is your insurance policy against mis-spending your dollars. It comprises the “acid test” that tells you whether your product or service will truly appeal to the customer, whether or not your price points, packaging, promotions and offers really resonate with your target consumer. Our mantra is always “Test, test, test—then test some more.” Marketers should even test their delivery systems. Remember, you are not your consumer. It pays huge dividends to ask them what they like or dislike.

Do not assume that any product, no matter how breakthrough, will sell itself—or that its mere presence on the internet will generate revenue. The United States has become the proving ground. Thousands of companies have tried unsuccessfully to launch “no-name” brands. Consumers will only accept and embrace certain products as commodities—those that are purchased on price considerations alone. People choose to engage with a brand, just as they choose friends, partners and spouses. If your brand has no name recognition, no known value proposition associated with it and no credibility in the marketplace, consumers will not choose it. Advertising accelerates the process of brand recognition and differentiation. Advertising drives sustained traffic and sales—on-line in the internet world, as well as off-line in brick and mortar establishments.

Promotion takes your advertising to a higher level. By creating special events and opportunities, you signal an urgency and a heightened reason to buy. Promotion does not have to mean selling off-price. You can create a special experience for the high-end buyer that gives them a sense of exclusivity if they participate.

Merchandising needs to fit the product or service. Package the product according to the consumers’ expectations. An economy product should have a different look and feel than a luxury product. So should the selling environment for that product. Don’t confuse the consumer. Keep the merchandising consistent with the brand’s position in the marketplace.

Don’t confuse publicity with advertising. Public Relations creates credibility, raises your company’s profile and creates a climate favorable to sales. For the most part, it does not drive traffic and sales. That’s the job of advertising. If you have mounted a successful public relations campaign, your advertising will have greater credibility. However, it has to have a true story element to garner press.

Your marketing serves to gain and maintain customers, foster repeat purchases and encourage referrals. What happens after the first sale can be the key to your ultimate business success. That’s where Customer Relationship Management comes in. If you engage in a successful CRM program, you will not have to market as aggressively to build your sales. To an extent, your growing customer base will remarket your business for you.

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About the Author

Barry Cohen, AdLab Media Communications, LLC
125 Kingsland Ave Ste 204
Clifton, NJ 07014

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