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November 11, 2013
How to Choose Between Marketing Tactics
My lengthy marketing firm experience coupled with my recent move to the corporate side tells me that many CMOs and Directors of Marketing find it difficult to decide which tactics are best suited for their brands. With all of the various channels and available media categories, it’s often difficult to choose without worrying about missed opportunities.
To help alleviate some of this angst, I developed a list of criteria to serve as a checklist for making decisions between marketing tactics. (By marketing tactics, I mean those found within the “Promotion” P of the Four Ps including: advertising, PR, social/mobile, direct marketing, owned channels, sponsorships, offers/promotions, etc.) From there, I organized this checklist into three prioritized categories: Strategy, Resources, and External Factors.
As I develop annual marketing plans and evaluate ad hoc opportunities, I use these criteria to help make sound choices and reduce some of the unease. However, it’s important to point out that this straightforward, logical thinking can (and occasionally should) be overridden by emotional decisions based on gut instinct. 
Below is my judging criteria, which is in order of importance. In other words, the media outlet you choose must pass section A first, then B, and then C. If you answer, “Yes,” to 11 or more of these questions, then it’s probably worth adding the tactic/channel/outlet to your integrated marketing plan.
A. Is The Media Outlet On Strategy?
1. Will this tactic help us reach our overall business objective?
2. Does our target engage regularly with this outlet?
3. Does this channel allow us to adequately portray our brand identity?
4. Will it allow us to reach our objective within our specified time frame?
5. If we’ve employed this tactic before, did it meet or beat its goals?
6. Will it complement our other tactics and help drive people through the customer lifecycle?
B. Do We Have The Resources?
7.  Do we have the right internal skill set and/or external vendors to make this tactic happen?
8. Does it fit within our overall marketing budget?
9. Do we have enough time to prepare and deliver messaging?
10. Can we properly measure the results of this channel?
11. Will we see results quickly enough?
12. Is there a clear path from this tactic to a transaction?
C. What External Factors Should I Worry About?
13. Are our competitors light (or non-existent) in this space?
14. Can we outspend/outsmart our competitors within this channel?
15. Does this tactic supplement what our partners or customers (think wholesale) are doing?
Go ahead, give this method and try! Use it with some of those current media placements that you’re not quite sure about. After you’ve tried it, I’d love to know what you think and how you might improve the process.

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Emily K. Howarda marketing strategist since 1997, developed her skills at some of the country’s top marketing firms including DDB Worldwide, while working on brands like American Airlines, Pepsi, Bloomberg and Merck. Now as Vice President of Esparza, Emily’s integrated communications approach helps clients find order in marketing chaos. She’d love to hear from you and can be found on LinkedIn or @ekhoward on Twitter.
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