A strong and compelling message that communicates real value, delivered to the right audience at the right time and in the right medium, will resonate with enough people to produce measurable results.
An effective marketing plan relies on just three key elements. It requires a clear and concise marketing message, which must, in turn, be delivered to the right consumer at just the right time. A confused or weak message simply won’t resonate with anyone, while even the best ad creative in the world won’t work if the right people don’t see it when they need it. The purpose of a marketing plan. therefore, is to ensure that the right message gets to the right people at the right time.
Effective marketing plans are not difficult to create, providing you adhere to a few basic rules. You can avoid many pitfalls by thinking back to high school English class and remembering our old friend – the Five W’s.
Seems simple enough, but who is reached by the message of your marketing plan? Are you reaching out to young families? Established RVers? Renters? Visitors to your show booth? Who exactly are you trying to reach with your advertising message?
The question of who is critical, because your message needs to strongly resonate with the target audience. If you target different types of buyers, then you will need different types of ads, which will then likely appear in different types of media. It seems perfectly obvious, but many marketers get so caught up in the details that they forget to think about who it is they’re trying to reach.
So what exactly are you selling? Ad space is a pricey commodity, so don’t beat around the bush – you need to communicate exactly what it is you offer, and as clearly and concisely as possible. Besides the obvious “we sell RVs,” you need to establish your company’s unique value proposition. That is, what do you offer that your competitor doesn’t? Your competitor also sells RVs, so you need to give the consumer a reason to buy from you and not from that other guy across the street.
Every successful business has its own unique competitive advantage. So what’s yours? It’s not enough to just say you sell ABC travel trailers. Remind your prospective customer that you’re the biggest ABC travel trailer dealer in the province … that you have the largest inventory in the area … or that you have factory-trained technicians and four service bays to look after their long-term needs. Let customers know what sets you apart.
Where you place your ad is as important as what the ad actually says. So having considered who your audience is, how exactly do you best reach them? Do they read magazines? Community newspapers? Do they surf the Internet, listen to radio or watch local TV? The answers to these questions can suggest where your message is most likely to be heard and accepted. Each type of media has its own unique advantages. Consider what you are trying to achieve and who you are trying to reach. Then select the combination of media that is most appropriate.
The Flying Lure is the best-selling fishing lure of all time, and made inventor Alex Langer a multi-millionaire – all thanks to his incredible grasp of timing. Back in the 1980s, Langer spent a lot of money to produce a glitzy 30-minute infomercial promoting his new fishing bait, with dozens of testimonials and repeated calls to action, imploring viewers to call the number on the screen right now! He then bought the cheapest airtime available on every national TV network, airing his infomercial in a continuous loop between 4:00 am and 6:00 am every Saturday morning.
Talk about perfect timing. Each and every Saturday morning, tens of thousands of fishermen would wake up early, pile their gear by the door then click on the TV while waiting for their buddy to come pick them up. Although the total TV audience in those early morning hours was comparatively low, a huge proportion of the viewers were the exact target market for Langer’s product. Sales soon topped 20 million units, then 50 million. Today, the Flying Lure is sold in 70 countries, and remains the best-selling fishing bait ever – all the result of delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time.
There’s an old expression in marketing that says nobody needs a drill, but many people need a quarter-inch hole. The drill is simply a means to an end. People buy the drill so they can make that quarter-inch hole, not because they’re enamored with the drill itself. Few people truly need a motorhome either, but almost everyone would like to have fun with their family and friends. So forget selling them an RV. Instead, sell them what the RV makes possible.
Marketing analyst Roy H. Williams notes that one of the biggest mistakes rookie marketers make is informing without persuading. Informers get caught up on technical specifications and fine details, without really conveying what the product will do for the buyer. In our industrry, we’re selling the experience that the products enable. Your marketing messages need to focus on the care-free, fun times your product or service can facilitate, rather than a bunch of techno-babble that no one really cares about. Sell the dream, because that’s what resonates with the buyer. Automotive manufacturers have known this for years – to the point some car ads don’t even show the product.
Marketing messages that speak to the Five W’s can’t help but achieve success. A strong and compelling message that communicates real value, delivered to the right audience at the right time and in the right medium, will resonate with enough people to produce measurable results.