How to Do Your Marketing Campaigns

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Scenario: "Dude, let's put out a big frickin' $2 million dollar marketing initiative for our widgets. Then we'll sell millions. We'll be millionaires. Yay!" Uh-oh.

Why Most Marketing "Experts" Suck

It's a crime most entrepreneurs make: the dreaded "Let's-put-all-our-eggs-on-the-table, and-we'll-hit-the-jackpot" mindset. And who can blame them: Marketing "experts" put out books like it ain't no thang but a chicken wing on a string -- promising their readers if they follow their steps, they'll be successful. It's as if those self-described "experts" and authors really believe there's a one-size-fits-all marketing approach. It's lame, it's dangerous, and we're calling them out. (Folks, trust us: We've received tons of hater-ation from the business "expert" community. We don't care. We're willing to stick our necks out, burn bridges, and do whatever it takes -- so you won't see your business fail.) Too bad those authors forget disclaimers:
  • "My writing is based on theory."
  • "It's based on what sounds good."
  • "It's based on my common sense."
  • "Seriously though, I just want to make a quick buck."

The Mistakes People Make on Bad Advice

So, well-intentioned folks -- trying to increase sales -- follow their advice, putting their entire budgets into one marketing campaign. It's as if they're gambling everything at roulette tables in Vegas. That's how most entrepreneurs fail: They eventually run out of money by putting everything on the table.

How to Really Kick-Ass at Marketing

So how do you really produce winning, innovative marketing initiatives?
  1. Experiment freely by embracing failure.

    As the rule of thumb at Trizzy goes: If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough. Better, yet: The more failures you have, the more successes you'll find. You have a wide array of marketing tools at your disposal: AdWords, direct mail, ecommerce, networking, cold calling, MySpace, classifieds, newspapers, et. al. Since your badass embraces failure, you'll experiment with as many tools as possible. Then with the "survival-of-the-fittest" mindset, you'll seek and keep the ones that rock (i.e. the most positive ROIs) -- and drop the ones that don't. And folks, getting those real-world results is the only way to determine if something kicks-ass. Theory, "experts", books, etc, won't do that for you. But what's a smart experiment?
  2. Start really small.

    Use this rule: "If this desired marketing initiative fails, that will cause only a slight dent on my business." Of course, you can't send out two direct mails, and say the campaign's a failure if they don't respond. You'll need a good sample size to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.

    "But, how in the name of Jermain Jackson do I determine the sample size?"

    Use this seriously kick-ass free tool by Creative Research Systems to determine your marketing campaign's ideal sample size. (Tip: Leave the "Population" field blank.) We'll go all scientific on your butt: The sample size should act as a microcosm of your desired target market (or as close to it, anyway). For instance, if your sample size contains only coffee shop owners in Dallas, don't think coffee shop owners in New York will react the same way to your marketing campaign.
  3. If a campaign's showing potential, invest more in the sucker.

    And if it's not, dump it. Take a look at this arbitrary ROI table for your fake Company XYZ business:

    ROI Table

    1. Mercury News Classifieds: +35
    2. AdWords: +10
    3. Networking Events: +5
    4. Direct mail: -2
    5. Newspapers: -40

    Looking at the table, you'd want to dump "newspapers" and "direct mail" immediately since you're losing money on every investment dollar. Then comes the badass part: From the ones that do get you a positive return:

    What do you keep?

    At the very tiny Trizzy (so customize to your business size), we keep the top 3, but of course: with one caveat -- we pump more Benjamin$ into those higher on the ROI list. Why? It'll get us more bang for our buck For instance:
    • "Networking Events": $1 return $5
    • "Mercury News Classifieds": $1 returns $35

    The key: The more the positive ROI, the more money the campaign needs.

    "But dude, just pour everything into Mercury News Classifieds and you'll make more money. Yay!"

    Remember the rule: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. If something happens to the classified ads (e.g. suspensions, Mercury News goes belly-up, closures, slow months, etc.), we won't get screwed. We have other sources that will keep customers calling.
The template:

"I use the real world as my testing ground to learn what marketing campaigns kick ass for my business."

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Posted on October 10

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