A 5 step process allows for creative flexibility while ensuring a solid Return on Investment (ROI). Clients love this.
Someone asked me to explain “The Process” and I have to admit, it is unlike me to grant a simple request, so here it goes.
The first step is Research. We always do a few days of research (depending on the size of the client) so we have learned something that we don’t already know. It is baffling to us how many people we meet think they know everything already based on assumptions and guesswork. Then, they want to launch into a campaign or feel they are ready to open a business. Research teaches us things we don’t know that we should know. It also tells us things we don’t know that we don’t know. Research gives us a clear we picture so we are NOT making IGNORANT assumptions or guesswork. Research gives us an outline and path to survival and greatly increases the likelihood of running a successful campaign, small or large. Businesses that Do NOT apply research to make good decisions has less likelihood of handling competition or surviving over the long term. Research is both factual and actual. It is not always perfect but it takes assumptions and guesswork out of the equation.
Planning is the second step. You can plan once you have done some research. You need to know who your competition is and who(m) your target segment market is, where they are spending their hard earned money, what they like and what they love. What is your business is offering in terms of value and the overall ecology where your business can insert yourself for grabbing a market share. Demographics work well for delis, grocery stores, laundromats, and big box stores but for smaller businesses you want to segment market. Pay close attention to your audience’s psychographics and lifestyle. These last two modalities can really breach into the mindset of audiences. The sweet spot is in addressing their deeper fears and wider desires. Planning this in advance along with research almost always does the trick. You get a small fan base based on values, attitude and a particular lifestyle. Then you grow it. This almost always assures success as the lowest common denominator. That base sets up the tonality for a Word-Of-Mouth campaign which is considered the Creme de la Creme of all advertising.
Planning is NOT about trying to rush everything along and to foster organic growth. “Patience shows the hand of the Master” is an ancient Chinese proverb. It means to cultivate a culture of people rather than galvanizing audiences with trends which are often short-lived and fleeting. “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast” — Peter Drucker. Take time to dig your foundation in the ground and the house you build upon it will survive the storms. Planning is knowing that when you plant a seed in the ground that we must wait until the roots take hold before it can hold up a stem or trunk. Eventually and organically the business will grow. In an extreme example: “An overnight sensation often takes 10 years of work and Planning.”
Creation is the tough part. It is also the most fun. We do 200-300 headlines before we settle on 2-3. We also re-examine our Research and Planning. Then we look at 100s of images to convey the deeper feeling of the Brand before making any hasty decisions.
It is not creative unless your creative campaign is going to bring REAL MONEY to the bank. The Creative execution should be putting food on the table so we all can eat. Creating an audience, heads, and cash in the business otherwise, it’s playing, joking and NOT impressive to my team and me.
This is always the scariest part of any campaign. If we fail, we have to go back to Planning and start again.
First, we test the campaign on strangers, NOT family or friends—they don’t know, they are marketers. The way to test is to get potential customers off the street. Even if friends and family were the potential markets, they are attached to an outcome and this colors their opinion a different shade than reality.
After testing, we begin production, web development or launching a social media campaign. The feedback is gradual at first then picks up steam. Sometimes the results of a really good campaign are more immediate than others. In a month or so we’ll know, more or less, the results of the effort.
We have a formula to Measure results. It is basic business accounting. We compare profit and loss of previous months and equate a percentage of growth or shrinkage. With the actual numbers of the business before us, we can tell whether the campaign is working or not. It’s that simple.
With 25 years experience under our belts, we can usually tell what a marketing effort with doing. If the business owner gets in the way of the campaign, which they sometimes do, we will warn them in advance before we add their suggestion.
This happens more often than you might think it would. People aren’t logical and conscious 90-95% of the time. They are emotional and subconscious. Knowing this and using this in marketing a product or service is what gives us an edge over competing marketers, branders and advertisers. These folks are often stuck in the methods used in the 1940s-1990s. This is good for our clients. Sometimes it is the edge we need.