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Learn These Four Classic Approaches to Marketing Campaigns

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A guest blog post by Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich.

A classic marketing strategy mistake is to select tools because they are new or talked about frequently in the media.

Fascinated with the latest tool, marketing rounds (what we like to call your team) forget to select media and methods to achieve an objective.

Measurable objectives, however, often require selecting a primary approach towards the customer, after which tools are selected based on budget, time, and other resources.

There are four common approaches to marketing campaigns today.



Direct Community Interaction With Stakeholders


Whenever possible, marketers and communicators should directly interact with their primary stakeholders. Whether the topic is sales, donations, input on ideas, agreement on civil actions, public resolution of customer issues, customer reviews, or other actions, direct communication is most likely to produce outcomes---and do so quickly.

Top-Down Influence Approaches


The top-down attitude is one in which media—events, PR, some types of advertising campaigns, and well-known influencers—are used to “inform” the marketplace about new products. The message comes to the marketplace from a position of authority, and the source hopes that the positions of media voices, celebrities, and bloggers are enough to persuade customers.

The Groundswell


Not every company has the luxury of an established customer base for its products and services, nor the resources to support advertising and promotional campaigns. The groundswell method of marketing a product or service is fostering word of mouth-marketing to loyal customers by the individual, who shares with dozens, and so forth.

Flanking Techniques


The direct, top-down, and groundswell approaches are common in traditional advertising, social media, public relations, networking, and direct marketing disciplines.

But sometimes, a company has regulations and obstructions, or a lack of a loyal customer base, or no one is talking positively about it, etc. Then that communications effort must employ flanking techniques, such as advertising, content marketing, or search engine optimization (SEO) as primary tools.


All these approaches can be blended; some tools can be used across different approaches. For example, social media can be a lead tool set for groundswell approaches but provide customer support for a direct marketing campaign, or blogger relations for a top-down approach.

Similarly, approaches can support each other in a large multichannel campaign. Top-down approaches can be used to support a direct marketing campaign, much in the way that Apple launches its products with events and publicity---coinciding with strong email marketing campaigns to drive existing customers to buy.

The question becomes how to select the right approach to meet objectives.

Here are four factors your marketing team should use to select the company’s marketing approach.


  1. Key performance indicators. What does strategic success for the company/product line look like?


  2. The corresponding marketing objectives, whether they be lead generation, branding, or both.


  3. Stakeholders and how you can communicate with them. What is your relationship with customers like? Do you have significant customers lists? Do you have a good market reputation? Are barriers in the way? Let your relationships dictate the primary approach.


  4. Capacity to market to them, specifically your budget, time for success and your human resources


These components form a framework to determine the marketing round strategy and dictate your possible approaches and tools. When you list them on paper, the right strategic approach(es) become clearer, and ideas about how to use your particular tools to achieve the right result also begin to evolve. You can begin to visualize the path towards the end result.

We realize a blog post is not enough to delve deeply into the four approaches and how to select them. In fact, we dedicated five chapters of our new book Marketing in the Round to this particular aspect of multichannel marketing strategy development.

We know you want to realize objectives in your campaign. You want people to buy your product or service, and to advocate your brand. That allows a company to win a market and defeat its competitors. Independently or sequenced, the primary approaches form a baseline to approaching marketing strategies. We hope you’ll use these general ideas as starting point to think about how to launch your next successful marketing campaign.

Geoff Livingston is an author and marketing strategist, and serves as vice president of Strategic Partnerships for Razoo. A former journalist, Livingston continues to write. Most recently, he co-authored Marketing in the Round and authored the social media primer Welcome to the Fifth Estate.

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She also is the founder of the professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks, and co-author of Marketing in the Round.

Their new book Marketing in the Round shows you how to get more value from all your marketing and communications channels integrated together!

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Number Four)


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  • by RM Tue May 22, 2012 via blog

    Great points made here. Value-exchange advertising is often a great tool to use to increase engagement and appreciation levels in advertising. RM @CloudNineMedia

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