As defined by the American Marketing Association, marketing is a set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
The success of marketing is measured by its ability to drive a company’s overall profits. Companies that are more successful than their competitors in their marketing efforts grow their business faster, gain market share, build barriers to entry, and ultimately succeed while competitors fail.
Two key objectives of marketing are:
1) To build a brand
A brand is a history of positive associations tied to a name, design, symbol or other feature that distinguishes a company. These associations represent a value to a customer and can be measured by the premium the company is able to charge over its competitors. A company such as Apple has a brand strongly associated with creativity, quality, and elegance; enabling the company’s products to command price premiums to those of its competitors. Since brands are a history of positive associations, building a brand takes time and a sizable investment to both create and maintain.
2) To generate a response
Response-geared marketing efforts should do exactly what the name says: reach the company’s’ target customer, communicate quickly and effectively the value proposition, have a clear ‘call to action’, and provide a mechanism by which the customer may respond. Of equal importance, response marketing needs to be measurable.
By its nature, response marketing is a more agile form of marketing and is useful in complementing existing brand marketing efforts, effectively reaching customers in fast changing or turbulent markets, and in getting quick and measurable results from a lean marketing budget.
Implementing a response marketing strategy
Having evaluated your marketing options, you elect to pursue response marketing. There are still additional tactics that you need to consider. One avenue is to build a marketing department and hire an advertising agency to help you create a direct marketing campaign. As a small or lean enterprise this comes with sizable risks and for many is not an option. Even large organizations with substantial capital and the financial commitment required to run campaigns through media such as TV, national, regional and local press, radio, directories (i.e. Yellow Pages), outdoor (posters / billboards), online (web advertising, SEO, PPC, email), direct mail and Ambient (innovative advertising in unusual places like the back of receipts or toilet doors!) find this to be a substantial business commitment.
You move forward with your own traditional direct response campaign anyhow. Depending on your choice of media and creative content, you run the risk that it yields minimal responses or generates responses from individuals that you are not able to serve profitably. Unfortunately, in either of these scenarios, you are liable for the sunk cost of the size of your marketing department, the money you paid an agency to design a campaign, the money you spent to produce the campaign, and the money you committed to media to run the campaign.
There is another option…buy leads!