Effective Marketing Strategy

Recent discussions with one of my clients brought to light a common problem with marketing plans made by businesses without the foresight to consult with marketing companies, or companies involved in aspects of marketing. The client in question was looking for ways to promote their product, and thought of several different methods by which they could reach out to their target users. Like many businesses, their marketing budget was limited, and so they were looking for the best way to use their budget effectively.

The suggestion I made came from a piece of advice provided during a course on business planning, and that was to pick 3 marketing methods they wanted to use. One would be their primary method, being allocated 50-80% of their marketing budget. One would be the secondary method, garnering 15-30% of the budget, and the third would be a minor player, getting as little as 5% of the budget.

The result of this breakdown is that each aspect to their marketing plan will be given its best chance to succeed. The method deemed to be likely to see the widest success (in their case, creating channels to promote their product) would be given the highest priority. The method which is likely to do somewhat well gets just enough resources to be useful, but not so much as to detract from the primary marketing effort.

The third marketing channel is what I call the wildcard. There is the off chance that something a bit different will work. It might be a pet theory of the business owner, or something a manager in the company stumbled on and wants to try. Rather than risk the entire venture on this, a small budget (and corresponding time and effort) is given to the plan, just enough that it can succeed, but not so much that it interferes with the other, more central plans.

I found this interesting, because there are many things in business that deal with the number three. Timelines are often short by a factor of three, budgets in the initial years can be off by as much as a factor of 3. Strategies are made in groups of three – this week, this month, this year.

Marketing is just one more aspect of business that should be running off the number 3.