“Hey, know why I ride my bike?” A boy of about five yelled this to me last night as I was on my walk with my iPod listening to Kenny Chesney. His bushy brown hair stuck out from beneath his helmet, which made his face look round and his cheeks pink. I smiled and yelled over the sound of the music in my ears, “Nope.” “Because I can get where I am going really fast! See, I’m already at my friends house.”
I had to chuckle to myself. You see, I had passed this boy playing on his driveway during my initial lap through the neighborhood. Upon seeing me walk by again and realizing I hadn’t made it home, I’m sure he asked himself, “Why is she still walking?” and wanted to introduce me to a “better “ way of achieving my objective. The only problem was, he didn’t realize that my objective was different than his. It wasn’t about speed in reaching a destination. It was about physical exercise.
I couldn’t help but think about how many times this happens in marketing. There is no cookie cutter approach to marketing. The medium or approach that works for one company doesn’t necessarily result in success for the next company – because the bottom line expectations and objectives are different. Each form of communication, from electronic to print advertising, to direct mail and public relations has its place in a successful marketing mix. Knowing when to use which medium and how to successfully build the message is the key.
A lot of factors play into that success but there are a few key questions to ask to ensure desired results are achieved:
- What action do I want my target to take?
Is your objective simply for the target to read and understand? To visit your website? To submit personal information to you for tracking and future marketing? To call a dealer?
- How critical is time in delivering the message?
Is this an urgent message that requires immediate and controlled delivery? Or is there a span of a few months in which this message is still very relevant and influential?
- What are the inherent traits of my target market that could affect the success of the message delivery?
Is this a busy time for my market during which long hours are spent working and few messages break the barrier? Is my audience tech savvy? Are they stationed in an office in front of a computer and with consistent mail delivery?
- What am I trying to achieve with the message?
Is my goal to build and reinforce branding? Is it to educate the market on a technical aspect or application regarding the product? Is it to incentivize sales?
- What will I consider successful? And how will I measure the results?
Is crafting a good message success? Or do I need to do research to understand how the audience perceived the message? Am I looking for immediate impact on sales? And if so, what parameters will I build to track how the success or failure of those sales goals was a result of the campaign?
Taking the time to ask these five basic questions will help ensure you don’t ride the bike when you should be walking.