A Guide to CUr Treasure Posted on October 24, 2014 By Nathan Binder Ahoy, mateys! When traversing the tumultuous tides of marketing, it’s important to have a map to avoid getting lost at sea. As captains of marketing have stated in the past “random acts of marketing will offer unpredictable results.” You might find you’ve steered into a reef or a dead end. Instead of a hit-or-miss process, a marketing plan can lead you directly to the treasure. So before you hoist the sails and set your course, check out this guide that will lead directly to the “$” that marks the spot. Marketing Goal PortYou won’t get anywhere without an idea of where you’re headed. Extend your spyglass as far as you can, and set your compass towards a clear and distinct objective. This will allow your ship to steer consistently in one direction, like in 2004 when Dove Soap set a goal to advertise their product in a way that would raise, not lower self-esteem. The result was the highly successful Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. The Seas of Situational AnalysisMany a shipwreck have been caused by overlooking faults in the vessel or the crew. Outline all the internal and external factors that might get in your way on your journey and you won’t crash like JCPenney did 3 years ago, when they unsuccessfully attempted to rebrand from a department store with sales and coupons to a clothing boutique with “everyday low prices,” completely misreading their long term customers. Competition CoveTreasure and profit sparkle in the eyes of every credit union. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Their ship might have more cannons, but yours might be faster and more efficient. Wendy’s and Burger King consistently beat out McDonald’s in taste tests, but we all know who the #1 fast food brand is- that’s the power of smart marketing. Budgeting BayMarketing journeys can be long, arduous, and expensive. Carefully consider the costs of paying the crew, as well as the material costs to keep the ship armed and afloat. Spending smart is better than spending more- in the recent Florida gubernatorial race, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott spent $100 million and ended up in a dead heat, with Scott winning by a mere 1%. Perhaps if they had spent more time dealing with issues rather than spending money to bash each other, the margin would be wider. Marketing Mix MaelstromDivide this whirlpool of information into 4 clear sections, like the 4 quadrants of a map: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. It’s important to have the right product, at the appropriate price and location, with a fitting promotion. Companies like Ford and Coca-Cola utilize the 4 P’s to exploit every aspect of their product line and brand strategy. Strategy Sea MonsterIt’s important to have a clear strategy to carry out goals and overcome obstacles. A bad strategist fights his problems head on and gets swallowed. A good strategist makes his obstacles work for him, like tying a rope around the monster to lead the ship swiftly to safety. In 2011, Taco Bell combated a lawsuit against their beef with the highly successful "Thank You for Suing Us" campaign, spinning a potential problem to their advantage. Reef of Investment ReturnYou’ve reached the Reef of Investment Return! By following a clear map, you’ve minimized risk and casualties, and can now dive down and reap the benefits. The more succinct the plan, the higher the return. Here’s how you can calculate or forecast ROMI, or your Return on Marketing Investment. Evaluation AleYou and your crew have returned to port, and are ready to relax and enjoy your reward. But while you’re sipping ale and singing sailor songs, remember to reflect on anything that could be done better the next time around. Maybe instead of using an in-house crew, you could hire the experienced, professional, and innovative crew of The Pod Advertising to lead you back to treasure! That’s all mateys! Avast your wandering and meandering, and rely on a map to guide ye in your quest. Until next time, we’re shoving off!