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The Three Phases of Successful Marketing

By Hector Cisneros
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I am often asked, how can you guarantee marketing success, when few, if anyone else in your business can’t or won’t? I answer with a resounding three! We understand that marketing success is built in three phases. Creating and planning the message, testing the message and optimizing for profits. Most novice marketers will only implement one or two of the phases, which is why most fail or only have partial success. If a company wants the maximum return on their marketing dollars, they need to implement all three phases to achieve success. The only other way to obtain success is by luck or the grace of God. So if you want to learn how to maximize your return from your marketing, read the rest of this week’s article from Working the Web to Win and learn how to maximize your return on investment and achieve Guaranteed Marketing Success.
Large companies that hire big advertising agencies, or have an in-house advertising department, always go through three phases to achieve success.  They have found that trying to take a shortcut can cost them big. Many advertising department heads have rolled when mistakes happened! Our company was founded on the idea of providing what our competition does not!  Guarantees are a cornerstone of what we provide. To do this, we start by researching the client's current marketing position. We look at what they are doing right, what their challenges are, what their competitive advantages are and what their competitors are doing. This research includes looking at all marketing venues, both conventional (TV, Radio, and Print, etc.) and online marketing (PPC, Social Media, PR, Email, Blogging, Video, etc.). Once we have a good handle on what’s going on, we begin our planning phase.

Phase One - Creating the Message and Plan

  1. Deciding the Objective - The very first thing needed to achieve success is a clear objective or goal. More importantly, it must be a smart goal. Smart stands for; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. If a goal is wishy-washy, nebulous, unrealistic, not measurable or will take too long, it’s not a goal that will lead to success. You must have a specific date when the goal is to be reached. You must be able measured a specific event or action, like a click, interaction or purchase.  Your goal must be attainable and realistic. If your goal is to increase your sales by tenfold, that is probably not realistic. And the time frame should not be longer than a year. Quarterly measurements work well.  Only S.MA.R.T. goals will lead to marketing success. Anything else is just spinning your wheels.
  2. Creating Your Message - Your message is closely tied to your goal. It is the operational part
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    of your goal. If your goal is to obtain 100 new customers in 90 days, then your message has to compel new prospects to sign up for an appointment or to come into your store. Your message has to draw them to you. Saying how great you are or how long you’ve been in business isn’t going to cut it. You have to give prospects a compelling reason to take action. So how do you do that? You give them an offer they can’t refuse, otherwise known as a Compelling Offer!
  3. Your Compelling Offer - A compelling offer is a special offer that is a no brainer for the prospect. A compelling offer is immediately recognized as a great deal! It doesn’t have to be explained. It takes the risk out of the transaction. It says to the prospect, “I better take advantage of this offer now!” Giving someone 10% off their first purchase is not a compelling offer. It may be a good savings, but it is not usually compelling enough to make a person get in their car and drive across town to take advantage of it. A compelling offer may be a special that’s a loss leader, a BOGO, 30-day money back guarantee or 30% off the competitive going rate. Compelling offers work best with products that create recurring revenue. This boils down to products or services that require the customer to come back and get more of what they purchased on sale. It also helps if you have some sort of exclusivity as well. Providing value-add doesn’t hurt either. Make it easy for the customer to decide. Then, keep them happy and make profits from them for the life cycle of that new customer. If you’re just looking to add new customers, you can buy them. If you keep them, they become recurring profit streams. Never underestimate the value of a new customer’s life cycle. If that life cycle is at least a year for the usage of your product or service, it’s perfect. If they have to be repurchase your product or service 4 to 12 times during a year, it becomes easy to create a compelling offer that produces long term profits.
  4. Honing your Message to be Compelling - To hone your message, you need to do some objective testing. A simple and quick way to do this is to ask a dozen of your best customers to accept your offer, or give you feedback on this new special. You can also do some mini pay per click test in Google AdWords or Facebook by spending only $100 or so. You can also run a Craigslist ad to see if you get any bites from your offer. Don’t forget to ask your best employees, managers and even your vendors what they think. Getting this initial feedback often proves very valuable. You will later design several ads to display your message.
  5. Budget Decisions - The budgetary process is extremely important. Your budget will often
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    determine where you will run your advertising. If you only have a small budget, it will affect the length of the campaign as well. Never plan on revenue from sales from your advertising program to supplement the amount you spend or the length of time you plan to run the campaign. Only use money you have to spend or are willing to borrow and pay back, even if your marketing fails. After your initial round of market testing proves it will work, then it’s possible to project revenue to use for marketing purchases.
  6. Planning your Schedule - Once you have your message and budget, you need to decide on how long your campaign will run. Your campaign schedule is closely tied to your budget. Because of this, it requires you to verify marketing cost in whichever venue/s you choose to participate.  For example, if you are running an ad in the paper, how big an ad will it be, where will it be placed, and how long will it run. By the same token, if you’re running an ad on Facebook or AdWords, how much will you daily spend run and how long will the ad run last.  

Phase Two - Testing Your Message

  1. Quick test - Earlier I mentioned that you can run some quick mini tests in Google AdWords and Facebook. These types of mini tests can be very valuable. They can also be run in most advertising venues. Most small businesses don’t run these because they are afraid of wasting any part of their budget on a mere test. The fact is testing always saves money in the long haul and in many cases in the short haul as well.  It is possible to get some FREE money for these mini-tests. Ask Google or your agency for intro dollars for pay per click tests. You may be surprised to see what you will be offered.
  2. Ongoing A/B Testing - A/B testing is a must if you’re looking to maximize your return on your
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    marketing investment. Assuming that the first ad and landing page you create is your best effort, is not realistic. On top of that, most online marketing venues make it easy to create multiple ads and test them simultaneously. For example, you can create two landing pages and four Pay Per Click ads and run them simultaneously to see which ad works best and which landing page converts the most.
  3. Multi-venue Testing - Testing your message in only one venue is also not wise. How do you know if AdWords is better that Facebook or any other venue? You need to test them against each other. If it works well in one arena, it may work better in another. Testing various marketing venues is the only way to discover where your best bang for the buck is, assuming costs are similar. If the cost varies greatly between venues, that may be the determining factor for choosing that venue, assuming that venue is still producing results. However, if the test venue is cheaper, but not working, stop that test and find another test venue to operate in.  
  4. Reassessing the Budget -  At the end of the testing phase, reassess the budget to make sure the cost matches the plan’s timeframe and schedule. Make sure your S.M.A.R.T. goals are still congruent. This reassessment allows you to move forward with confidence and to make sure you will be profitable in the long run.

Phase three - Optimization of your Message for Profits

  1. Running your Campaign - If you plan on running a campaign, you must commit to its success. This means meeting and discussing its progress with all involved. If you get to meet weekly the all the players involved in your marketing program, you increase the chances of success. More importantly, you will discover new opportunities that will increase your success as well.
  2. Monitoring the Campaign - While running your campaign, you must pay close attention to
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    whichever SMART goals you have set up.  If you’re running a digital marketing campaign, you will be able to look at your numbers daily, if not, at least weekly. Monitor your measurables closely. Things change in the heat of battle.
  3. Be Ready to Make Changes - Every campaign is fluid. Things can change quickly, and you have to be willing to make adjustments on the fly if you discover a flaw in your plan, offer or venue.  Pay close attention to conversion rates. Sometimes the competition reacts to your campaign and counterattacks with their own compelling offer. This will affect your conversion rate and could affect your cost (especially if you’re running a pay per click campaign).  If you’re not meeting your conversion goals, you may have to improve your compelling offer, change your offer and your ad. If your cost begins to change the dynamics of your return on investment, it may mean you have to reassess the entire program.
  4. Do it Again Until it Doesn’t Work - In most cases, your planning and testing will pay strong dividends for your marketing efforts. Once you see that the campaign is working, it’s time to create a similar campaign for other products or services you have to offer. You should continue to run your campaign until it stops working. If you're measuring your ROI and conversions, you will know what that point is. It is not uncommon for advertising to run its course. All campaigns run out of steam eventually. Be ready for your next one.

We have written about the fundamentals and techniques needed for successful marketing many times in the past. The following list of articles will provide the reader with a broad array of information to help them succeed in the marketing efforts. Read them, pass them on to your friends and tell us what you think.
List of Must read article for Marketing Success

In this article, I have provided the three necessary phases needed to produce a successful marketing campaign. I provide clear, easy to understand steps for every phase. It is the method we use to produce our guaranteed marketing programs. This article also provides more than a dozen links to other articles that will help any marketer succeed and improve their efforts.
That’s my opinion, I look forward to reading yours.
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If you’d like to read more articles like this, check out: any of the articles listed above.  You can also type “Marketing” or “Advertising” in the search box at the top of this blog to find even more.
If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091 and we will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, coworkers and associates.  If you have something to add related to this article or have a different opinion, place them in the Comments section below.  
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Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business.  Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer on EZine Online and is an active blogger (including ghostwriting).  He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above.  He’s also the co-author of the book, “Working the Web to Win,” which is now available on

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