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Marketing Message and Objective
Author: Kevin Gold
Published: Friday, April 22, 2005

Get Results - Start with Your Marketing Message and Objective
Recently I was talking with a very bright traditional marketer on the value of integrating internet marketing into an enterprise's marketing mix. Personally, I have witnessed significant and measurable increases in the online results of an enterprise when they include traditional marketing strategies like direct mail, radio, television or publicity with their internet marketing strategies.

Although he did not disagree with the concept, he re-focused the discussion on the importance of an enterprise establishing their marketing message and objective even BEFORE contemplating their traditional or internet marketing strategies. What an excellent point! What about you?
  • Have you created a clear and concise marketing message?

  • Have you defined your customer benefits and integrated them into your message?

  • Have you established a measurable objective to determine your success by?

Your Marketing Objective Defines Your Results
Business owners and marketers have a tendency to think in broad terms about their marketing objective by focusing on ones such as "generating traffic" or "designing a website." Instead, the effectiveness of their internet marketing strategies should be driven by specific marketing objectives established from the end result required of the business to be economically sustainable.

For example, "generating traffic" is not directly tied to a financial objective like "generating a cost per sale of $75." The common mis-perception of "traffic equals sales" has wasted tremendous amounts of business' capital on poor quality website traffic. In addition some businesses have developed negative attitudes towards Internet marketing by falsely associating poor results to it instead of to a lack of an objective.

Recently a new client described his horror story of spending a significant part of his budget on contracting with a paid search service provider. The resulting paid search campaign was a major failure in terms of satisfying the client management's net profit objective. Actually, to be precise, the campaign caused a massive negative net profit.

After asking further questions to understand why the situation occurred, I discovered that the blame could not be attributed to the service provider's failure to perform but instead to the client's failure to define the correct marketing objective.

The client contracted with the service provider under an objective of "generating traffic" versus "generating a positive net profit." The goal of "generating a positive net profit" involves a more strategic performance-centered setup and management of a paid search campaign which this particular service provider was not capable of delivering through their business model.

Unfortunately, directed by the client's defined objective, the service provider delivered massive volumes of paid search "visitor traffic" which failed to satisfy the client's non-communicated but expected increase in positive net profit.

Balance between Determining Success and Failure
By defining a measurable objective, an internet marketing strategy is regulated by the resulting increase or decrease of it. From this perspective, a simple "yes/no" decision is made as to the success of a particular strategy: 'Yes' it achieved the marketing objective and should be maximized; or 'No' it fell short of achieving the marketing objective and should be dropped or the message adjusted and tested again. Without a measurable objective, the success of an internet marketing strategy is determined by subjective means versus real data.

A Clear and Concise Marketing Message Ensures Achievement of Your Objective
The marketing message is essential for generating performance from your Internet marketing strategy. Rather on your website, landing page, or paid search ad, the message attracts visitor attention, qualifies the type of visitor and persuades the visitor to complete your defined marketing objective.

An excellent book written by Doug Hall titled, "Jump Start Your Business Brain' outlines three essential components every effective marketing message should include. They are:
  1. Overt Benefit: answers the customer-centric question of "what's in it for me?"

  2. Reason to Believe: what persuasive credibility shows that you will do as you promise?

  3. Dramatic Difference: what is your uniqueness to the customer?

The rudimentary knowledge gained from these three essentials is that you must focus on your visitor and answer their buying questions. By satisfying your visitor's needs in a manner that persuades them to buy, they will correspondingly satisfy your needs.

Are You Satisfying Your Visitor's Needs?
An easy way to assess whether your marketing message is even capable of satisfying your visitor's needs is to count the number of times your website copy states "you or yours" versus "we and us". Although primitive, this exercise will immediately tune you in to where your marketing message is directed. If you're talking more about "we" then about "you" then you're focusing on the wrong message.

Instead of spending more time on developing a traffic generation strategy, re-focus your time and thinking on developing an effective marketing message with a measurable objective. Ultimately your traffic generation strategy will achieve higher returns and stronger results when you attract the most qualified visitors through an effective marketing message and gain "data-driven" insight from a measurable objective.
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