Think you can't afford a powerful marketing agenda for this year?
Don't be fooled into believing that only marketers with deep pockets reap substantial rewards.
No matter your marketing strategy, there's a group of tactics priced to fit.
To show you how to choose the right tactics for your marketing mix, here's a look at a single marketing challenge tackled with high-level, mid-level and low-level budgets.
Imagine your growing business has created a learning toy for a toddler that helps improve motor skills and teach vocabulary, and is priced at $49.99.
The broad strategy is to target new parents; ideally those who are most likely to be looking for this type of product and can afford it. And let's assume your product isn't in stores and you don't have the name recognition of major competitors, like Fisher-Price.
With a high-end budget, you can choose:
- Sixty-second, direct-response TV spots on targeted cable programming: long format spots allow you to demonstrate product benefits and keep your toll-free number and URL on the screen longer for maximum response.
- Full-page ads in magazines that target parents, with emphasis on those that reach more affluent readers: large-space ads stand out in a sea of clutter.
- Direct mail to parents nationwide: carefully chosen lists should target parents who most closely match your selection criteria.
With a mid-level budget, try:
- Small-space print ads in the shopper sections of national magazines that target parents. The key to success is finding exactly the right publications, then running your ads consistently.
- Experimental marketing venues, such as craft fairs, in key markets. This gives parents and kids firsthand experience with your product and builds sales and word-of-mouth.
- Exhibiting a major trade shows to obtain retail placements. Once your product is in stores, you can add retail-oriented marketing tactics including radio spots and newspaper ads.
- A PR radio tour. Position yourself as an expert in early childhood development by hiring a PR firm to book interviews for you on select talk-radio programs.
- Setting up a dealer or sales network in multiple cities and offering co-op advertising dollars. Your ad budget would directly support the sales effort in each market.
Even with a tight budget, you can:
- Create a terrific web site. Since most people on the Internet use it to research products before buying, you can woo traffic to your site with pay-per-click ads on search engines.
- Launch an online marketing program. This can include placing ads on sites frequented by your target audience and in the opt-in e-newsletters published by those sites, writing articles for placement on key websites, and sending ongoing e-mail solicitations and e-newsletters to customers who have registered on your own site to receive more information.
- Give workshops and seminars. Link with leading associations or groups, and offer to speak; or host your own events.
- Build buzz. Create contests on your Web site, and put your product in the hands of influencers, like celebrity parents or kindergarten teachers, in select cities to spread the word.
- Use traditional PR. To get press coverage, assemble a press list, send an initial release and follow up by phone; then send those who are interested a press kit with product photos, information and your company background.
- Use creative ideas for your Business Cards
Get the idea? Depending on your marketing budget, you can select activities from high-ticket tactics to others that are virtually free to create an affordable mix. Multiple exposures to your message in different media will actually help your prospects remember it, so you'll get superior results no matter your budget.
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Effective Marketing: Monitoring Your Marketing Materials to Avoid Fraud
Do you promote client testimonials on your Web site, overnight delivery in banner ads, or other companies' trademarks in newsletters? These techniques aren't illegal, but the way they're used could get you into legal trouble. Thus, you must take a closer look at your marketing materials, or you may get burned.
Today's hot buttons in Internet marketing law include copyright usage, privacy rights, trademark usage and order fulfillment. According to marketing legalese expert Douglas Wood, the rise in Internet fraud and unethical marketing strategies is creating more aggressive legal action to protect consumers. Companies are also more vigorously protecting their brands online. More than ever, responsible Internet marketers need to make sure they're following the law.
Here are some Internet marketing guidelines Wood recommends to keep your marketing tactics away from getting in conflict with the law.
Online information isn't free to use. And crediting the original source doesn't necessarily prevent a charge of copyright infringement. While short quotes are permitted, it's best to ask for approval and any data-use requirements. Fortunately, many organizations are thrilled to be referenced and will gladly give permission.
Client testimonials and photos aren't fair game, either. People have a right to privacy, and their names and images cannot be used for advertising purposes without their written consent. For instance, an event planner cannot use a photo taken at a certain event that shows the client or those who attended the said event. Get written approval before you do so.
If you're a company's authorized reseller or affiliate, you will likely use their trademarks in your marketing campaigns and advertising materials. However, you should avoid using trademarks in a way that may dilute the integrity of the symbol or mark. For example, Kleenex is a brand of tissue, not a synonym for tissue.
Competitors who use a trademark owner's marks and confuse consumers are at risk of trademark infringement and possibly a lawsuit. If you clearly compare your product to a competitor's, that's legal provided the comparison is with basis and truthful. However, redirecting your competitor's consumers to your site without clarifying that you're not the trademark owner is a big mistake.
Re-evaluate these techniques, if you're using any of them. Also, consider reviewing the marketing tactics of your partners and competitors to ensure your company is protected from their possibly fraudulent efforts, as well.
Competition is okay, but it should not be done at the expense of your own reputation. While fraudulent strategies might not be unmasked immediately and may never be unmasked at all, depending on people's awareness of the law, it is your duty as a responsible entrepreneur and marketer to keep your business on the right side of the fence.
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