The marketing brief

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You do not need to be a marketing expert to contribute to the marketing discussion. Often, marketing is not about knowing all the answers, but about asking smart questions. The best questions are the simplest ones, which cut to the heart of the business. And the best way of getting to the heart of the business is to focus on the marketing strategy.

At the heart of a marketing strategy is the advertising strategy, as covered above:

  • Target audience
  • Product benefit
  • Reason why
  • Brand character

Clearly, there is more to marketing than advertising. So the full marketing strategy needs a few more elements. Here they are:

  • Media strategy: how are we going to communicate with our target audience? How often will we communicate with them and through what media?
  • Pricing strategy: how will we price our product? You have several choices:
    • Cost plus: add a fixed margin to our costs. But this takes no account of what customers want to pay and how much competitors charge
    • Price to value: work out the value that the customer gets, and price to that.
    • Price relative to competition: “we will charge a 10% premium/discount versus our main competitor.
  • Channel strategy: how will we sell to our target audience? What channels will we use?
  • Product strategy: how will we develop our product so that it stays relevant to customers and competitive in the market place? How will we present and package our product in line with the advertising brief?

Finally, the best marketing strategies have a clear strategy for test markets and market research. Creating a marketing strategy is a process of asking very simple questions, above, which are very hard to answer with any confidence. Test marketing and market research is the best way to find out many of the answers, and to ensure that you keep your offering relevant and competitive in the market place.

If you want a productive discussion with your marketing colleagues, do not focus on whether you or your parrot likes the packaging, advertising or product smell. It is a subjective discussion which leads nowhere. Focus instead the marketing strategy and goals: if the strategy is clearly being followed, then do not waste time arguing over the detail: trust the professionals to execute properly.

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