Marketing Road Trip

Category: Marketing Topics published on: 5/9/2016  by Brad Cowart

One way to picture marketing success is to imagine you are on a road trip. You would never just get in the car and go nor should you with marketing. Excitement, desire to start immediately, and the pressure to produce profits short-circuit our brains, and while the campaign can be off the ground quickly, it can also fail quickly. When you take the time to implement the following three steps, your marketing will produce long-term results.

Step 1: Consider the Destination

When going on vacation it would be foolish to pile into the car with no aforethought and speed away. Without direction you’ll just be driving aimlessly. Yet this happens with marketing all the time. With vague objectives like “let’s get more sales” or “let’s rank #1,” it’s like taking off southward and hoping you’ll end up in Miami.

With a road trip you consider what you and your family want to do, how long your vacation will last, what you should bring along and, most importantly, where you want to vacation. With marketing you need to determine your target audience and learn their buying patterns and motivations. Then you can carefully craft a campaign that will appeal to them and set metrics for measuring.

With a plan, your campaign will have a solid foundation from which to grow; it will perform better than an ad hoc effort. More importantly, a plan gives you something to measure against so you can make adjustments as necessary.

Step 2: Implement the Plan

It would be useless to plan the perfect vacation, get everyone in the car and then remain parked in a garage. However, the equivalent can happen with marketing. Perhaps you’re looking for the perfect plan and that stalls implementation. Maybe the plan is in place, but you need approval that never comes. There’s a point at which you just need to launch. Marketing success is achieved over time with monitoring and tweaking, so get a plan and act on it.

Another problem is lack of focus. For a family on a beach vacation this could mean being sidetracked by the world’s largest ball of twine or stopping to view every historic marker along the way. In marketing, the daily pressure of other projects as well as poor time management can get you off track. Don’t let them. Implementation means following your plan assiduously. How can you know what areas to improve if you aren’t monitoring?

Step 3: Evaluate

On a road trip you may know where you’re going, and you may be making good time, but if you run out of gas or the car breaks down due to lack of maintenance, you’re stranded. Sure, you can address these issues after the fact, but monitoring along the way could have prevented you’re being sidelined.

Too often marketing campaigns are left to run themselves. This isn’t good. I’ve seen many instances where a quick fix from our team has saved a client hundreds of dollars in ad fees or increased their rankings several spots. A favorite saying of mine is “Marketing without measurement is gambling.” Don’t trust to luck or hope you get it right the first time. Monitor your metrics, at least monthly.

And make sure you understand what the key metrics are telling you. Is a bounce rate of 15% good or bad? What do time on-site and pages viewed tell you? Is your campaign barely paying for itself, generating a profit or losing money? Defining your metrics in the planning step will help you evaluate what to do in the future.

Step 4: Repeat the Process

We have come full circle with a solid plan. Your marketing team is committed to implementing this plan—they work enthusiastically setting up and maintaining your campaigns. Sales are starting to increase, and there’s a new energy felt in the office. Don’t get complacent.

To keep your momentum going you need to continually Think, Implement and Evaluate, both during the initial campaign and in all future marketing. Take what you’ve learned and build upon it. Marketing dollars are for research as much as they are for generating sales. Over time you’ll learn what works, and then your marketing efforts will really take off.

Back to our illustration. As this family later evaluates their trip, they’ll remember the great fun they had as well as any snafus encountered along the way. If they’re smart, they’ll learn from this experience so future vacations will be even better!


Think about what you want to accomplish and how

Implement that plan like a bulldog; take ownership

Evaluate your progress and make improvements

Repeat this process so your marketing soars