Is it possible to derive the perfect marketing plan in a tweet?
I think Professor Byron Sharp came as close as you could get in this Tweet from a few years back:
For anyone familiar with the evidence-based, mental availability model you’ll understand that this covers off the key elements we should be focussing on.
It’s also applicable to a very high proportion of businesses and categories.
Let’s break it down though, in a little more detail.
We need great creative because we’re in the memory-business. However, creating advertising that improves the memorability of a brand is not a simple step-by-step process. Yes, you need to consistently use the brand’s distinctive assets, but you also need to ensure that they firstly get noticed and secondly are unique enough for the brand to be able to own. More often than not this requires great creative.
With this in mind the worst thing any brand could do is to try and fit in with all of the other ads out there. Unfortunately many brands play the middle of the road, safe route. The one saving grace in this type of landscape is that it gives brands that choose to do otherwise, an unfair advantage.
Hit essential memory structures.
Sharp explains that memory structures are, “the memory links that, if they aren’t in people’s heads, you have [a] tiny chance of being mentally available at times when people might buy.”
This requires that we link the brand to relevant category entry points using the distinctive brand assets. Your category entry points are the most common things that your potential customers will be thinking about prior to making a purchase decision.
You can also potentially look for CEPs that might be easier for your brand to own over competitors. But as the brand grows you’ll eventually need to try and own some of the bigger ones to increase your share of the market.
Spread out for max reach.
As you may have read in last month’s feature article, targeting for most categories usually covers a diverse range of people. Even if it’s a product for only men or women.
Because brand growth comes largely from targeting light buyers, you need to try and reach as many people as possible. It’s possible to do this in both digital and traditional media channels.
Many marketers make the mistake of using narrow targeting by looking for channels where relevant buyers may appear to huddle. For the most part though these are usually heavy buyers who were already going to make a purchase, regardless of the exposure they receive.
However, if you’re a new brand it makes complete sense to target heavy buyers at first. Just keep in mind that at some point, if you want to continue growing, you’ll need to branch out to reach light buyers.
Avoid temptation to burst.
The big media buy always looks good on paper. You’re reaching a tonne of potential customers and you’re in their face repeatedly thanks to a high frequency. The truth is that, “bursts waste money”.
When the same people get exposed to your advertising repeatedly it essentially creates a lot of wastage. After even a single exposure the effectiveness starts to decrease.
For some brands, it’s possible that there will be some key periods where a larger spend is required. For the most part however, you’re best to spread your media buy evenly across 12 months to ensure you’re consistently reaching all potential buyers.
Each quarter spend more.
As the brand grows, continue to reinvest part of this back into your marketing activity.
Why? Well, historically share of voice has driven share of market. The bigger brands invest more into marketing. We’re in the memory business and these memories don’t last forever.
Great creative is great because it creates memories for your brand that last a little longer. But otherwise, it’s very rare for a brand that spends less to create any major changes in their share of the market.