Marketing on a Whim?

Jeanne Frazer, President, vitalink

Do you make major marketing decisions based on research? If not, you can end up headed in the wrong direction or spending more than you should. We recently did some research for a client that was considering a name change (an expensive proposition, if you’ve ever done it!). They felt the current business name didn’t represent who they are and were leaning toward changing the name. The client asked vitalink to do find out what the market perception of the business was and recommend next steps. After completing our research, the research came back in favor of keeping the current name and simply tweaking the brand and messaging.

Here are some things to consider before you make major marketing expenditures:

  • What are your goals – both from a high level for the organization and your immediate goals for a specific marketing effort? You want to be sure each marketing campaign or outreach effort supports the ultimate goals of the organization. It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of the end goal, so using a checklist each time you plan a campaign is a good strategy.
  • Have you defined your target audience? Marketing is part art and part science. It’s important to understand who your target audience is, where they spend their time (how to reach them), and what message is most likely to resonate.
  • How will you measure the results of your marketing efforts? If your goal is brand awareness, it’s harder to measure than a specific promotional effort (i.e., a 20% off coupon code).
  • Are there outside influences that might impact your marketing? You may positively impact your efforts by tying in with a relevant event (i.e., promoting your new local cheese products before and after National Grilled Cheese Day!). Conversely, outside events may negatively impact your efforts; for example, a natural disaster in your target area might mean you want to put efforts on pause or shift your focus to your support of disaster victims.

In short, research is an important part of marketing. While we don’t recommend worrying overly much about doing research on a $100 local team sponsorship, you do want to make sure everything you do is in line with your goals. Your research efforts should also be commensurate with the dollars you will spend. Questions? Just ask us!