Marketing From Both Sides Of The Ball

In the world of business, marketing is often conveyed as a game. It is not uncommon to hear or read of a company “playing the marketing game” or “establishing a marketing game plan”. In many ways, referring to marketing as a game is an accurate way to explain it. In fact, it could serve as a highly effective way to convey the importance of it in any business model.

First and foremost, success in marketing endeavors requires strategic planning. Like a football team preparing for Sunday’s game by watching tapes and running drills, marketing professionals need to research current trends, audiences, public perception, and a variety of other factors to determine the best course of action for success. Strategy is the primary component of the marketing plan because it tells you what your goals are, how you will reach them and how you will know when you have. Without strategy, marketing activities will fall short of their own potential. It is important to establish an objective for each of your tasks, and to ensure that they work to serve each other and the overall goal.

Once the marketing strategy has been determined, it is time to hit the field and begin the game. The marketing game, like most games, involves an offensive side and a defensive side. Clear identification of these two sides and the desired results of each is essential to a cohesive operation of the two together.

The Offensive Side of Marketing

Offensive marketing covers all of the proactive aspects of promotion. These are the operations intended to introduce your company to the target audience. They are the initial steps that you take to plant your image in the minds of the consumer. Offensive marketing is all about branding your company in a unique and memorable way in order to establish yourself for further marketing efforts. The tactics of offensive marketing include:

Press Releases – Well written, properly distributed press releases can serve as the lifeblood of your offensive marketing strategies. The most effective press releases are written in a news format, and pitched to publications that are appropriate to the topic itself, and to your target audience. One press release can do more than a thousand expensive ads in the early phases of your marketing plan if it is done right. Press Releases are important because they establish early credibility for your company or product and pave the way for other messages from you down the road.

Informative Articles – Like a press release, an article has the ability to establish you as a leader in your field and build standing for your company. Articles are different than press releases in a couple of key ways. A press release centers on a newsworthy event. But an article is a written as an informative piece on a topic that is of importance to your company and your customers. Because press releases focus largely on news, they are typically placed in daily or weekly, news-oriented publications. Articles are tailored more toward trade-specific publications or special sections in newspapers.

Special Events – Nothing gets people talking about you and your business early like a special event. Types of special events include charity fundraisers, product rollouts, grand openings, informative presentations and company anniversaries. There are literally hundreds of different types of special events that you could host. The important thing is choosing an event that will appeal to the audience that you need to reach and draw the attention of the media.

Direct Mail – Direct mail campaigns are a unique offensive strategy because they allow you to control your audience, your message and the timing of your delivery. While direct mail alone typically doesn’t yield incredible sales, it is a great way to establish your unique brand by putting your materials directly in the hands of those you are hoping to reach. At the very least, it fosters an early identification with you and your product.

The Defensive Side of Marketing

Defensive marketing covers the reactive strategies of your plan. It is your company’s method of reacting to the effects of the offensive strategies that you implemented earlier. The success of your defensive marketing will be directly related to the quality of your offensive marketing program. Here are some examples of defensive marketing tactics:

Advertising Campaigns – One of the strongest misconceptions in the world of business is that advertising is the most effective (or only) way to draw attention to your product or company. Advertising works best as defensive strategy, building on the effect of your offensive marketing. It should maintain the credible image that you have already established through PR. Advertisements are self-serving, paid endorsements for your company, and your audience approaches every single ad armed with that information. But they are much more likely to believe what you are saying through advertising if they have already been exposed to the message from a secondary source like the media, or have experienced it themselves.

Telemarketing – Telemarketing is an extremely effective way to follow up on a direct mail campaign. It reinforces the preliminary image that you established with your mail piece, and also offers further insight, as well as the opportunity for a sales pitch. An often overlooked function of telemarketing is the phone survey. Telesurveys are very useful for gauging the effectiveness of your overall marketing campaign. They help you to determine audience familiarity and perception of your company.

Websites – A website is a priceless resource, able to inform your customers of all that you have to offer at their own convenience. As a defensive marketing strategy, a website is an excellent tool for creating that second or third contact with your audience by offering them a place to go to learn more. You can monitor traffic on your site to determine what aspects of your business are drawing the most interest. Tracking can also help you optimize your site according to the ways that potential customers are searching for you and your products. Websites today essentially serve as branch locations, with enormous potential for the growth of your company.

Achieving Success in the ‘Marketing Game’

The most successful marketing plans are able to integrate offensive and defensive strategies together on an on-going basis. In these plans, there is seamless interaction between the two sides as they constantly feed and receive from the other. From the outside, the sides blend with cohesion making it very difficult to even identify them as two separate functions. But, from the inside they are clearly identifiable and serve as the basis for success of any marketing program.