I have used the following definition of strategic marketing for years and it has helped clarify what was a mystifying area for many companies.
Communicating what needs to be communicated, to whom it needs to be communicated, in the least cost manner.
Let me simplify this for you.
Communicating what needs to be communicated:
What is the message you are trying to deliver. I always try to distill this down to the simplest form. What is the essence of the message your target market needs to understand about your particular product or service?
To whom it needs to be communicated:
Who are the key centers of influence (KCI) who will influence whether or not a positive decision is made regarding your product? Giving this serious consideration is often very enlightening. Who really can influence that decision? The KCI’s can be anyone from controllers to executives to the front line people who will actually use the product to gate keepers like receptionists, purchasing agents and warehouse managers.
The trick is to determine who really needs to understand the message for a decision to be made in your favor.
In the least cost manner:
Once you know who you are trying to communicate with it is easier to determine how that communication should take place. As an example, the Oprah show is one of the most expensive times to run a television ad. This is because she has one of the largest and most loyal audiences in the world. However this doesn’t have much value if your target audience is male executives over 45. So how could you reach this target in a more effective manner? Perhaps through a direct mail campaign or by hosting an event that would attract these over 45 male executives. I once had this exact demographic as a target for a marketing campaign. We chose to use a very short simple radio ad on the local talk/news station during the morning drive-to-work segment. The campaign had tremendous impact at a very reasonable price.
The trick here is that once your target audience is clearly identified it’s easier to determine how to most effectively deliver your message.
I really hope this helps to de-mystify at least some of the question marks that often surround the subject of marketing. Tomorrow I will address some of marketing’s broader issues.