Laura Petrolino

How to Choose the Right Marketing Tactics

By: Laura Petrolino | May 2, 2016 | 

How to Choose the Right Marketing Tactics By Laura Petrolino

Throughout college and in my early twenties I taught a lot of step aerobics.

In fact, I was head of the aerobics department in college (yeah…I’m kind of a big deal) and then, during summer breaks, I taught five to 10 classes a week at various gyms where my parents lived.

Step aerobics was cool then!

Cooler than Zumba ever dreamed of being and I took my dance and cheerleading background and brought it into my classes, which made them very interesting (and rather challenging).

Making up an aerobics routine is sort of like choosing marketing tactics. You have to find the right mix that works best for your audience. You don’t want them to get bored, but you also don’t want them to be so overwhelmed they leave or collapse of exhaustion (literally in aerobics, figuratively in marketing….or at least we’d hope).

Marketing Tactics Aren’t About What YOU Can Do

Instead they are about what your target consumer needs.

Soon after I was promoted to head of the aerobics department, I felt I really needed to define myself as a rockstar instructor. My classes were always full to the brim and I wanted to make sure participants left exhausted and wow-ed by my amazing choreography.

Each week I put together increasingly technically difficult and challenging routines.

I was so proud of myself for my ability to push the boundaries of step aerobic norms with these creative feats of aerobic magnificence, I paid no attention to how my classes responded to said feats of magnificence.

Had I somehow found away to look beyond the glow of my own fabulousity (totally making fabulousity a word) to observe them, I would have realized they were confused, frustrated, and pushed well beyond their limits.

As a result my class numbers diminished.

I unintentionally narrowed my market to a very select niche—those who were also former or current dancers (and saw it as a dance class) or those who were in the athletic elite.

Sometimes forming an exclusive niche market like this is the goal.

It wasn’t in my circumstance.

The tactics I used didn’t align with my goal, and so that goal wasn’t reach (at least until I changed up my tactics, which I did).

Too often we see the same scenario play out with communications pros.

Marketing Is Your Craft, Not Your Product

This problem often develops when we stop seeing marketing as the craft, and view it as the product or goal.

Let’s define the difference:

  • If you are in a reality TV show focused solely on who could come up with the most unique and creative marketing tactics, then marketing is the product.
  • If you are using marketing to help a client or  your own organization reach their business goals (revenue, customers, mindset change, mission), then marketing is the craft.

This is a VERY important distinction.

It’s very easy for us (understandably) to get so caught up in the joy of the craft, we forget it isn’t the actual goal.

This is often what happens when you see elaborate, ridiculously creative, and awe-inspiring campaigns that accomplish absolutely nothing in terms of actual business goals.

As genius as your latest transmedia, augmented reality, Snapchat filtered, <insert bright, shiny new marketing tactic here> campaign is, if it doesn’t align with the needs of your audience you are missing the point.

Check Yo’self Before You Wreck Yo’self

……Because Ice Cube always has sage advice for all of life’s difficult situations (maybe he will come add some insight in the comments section as he sometimes does).

The first place to start is with a solid communications plan. Then consistently self-check with these questions when you evaluate marketing tactics to fill out that plan:

  • How digitally advanced is my market?
  • How do they prefer to consumer information?
  • What influencers do they resonate with best? And what tactics do those influencers employ?
  • Are we making this more difficult then it needs to be?
  • Have we covered all the low-hanging fruit opportunities?
  • What is the goal of each tactic we are employing?
  • What do the analytics and pr metrics say? Are you measuring the right ones?
  • What feedback have we received from our market?
  • How does each tactic support the whole?
  • Do our tactics work together or in opposition?
  • Is this campaign based on ego or goals?

You won’t outstep the competition if you outstep your target market with misaligned marketing tactics (hehehe….outSTEP, get it?)

photo credit: Pixabay

About Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.