11.12. Planning The Campaign
Whether this stage comes before or after the budget-setting will depend on whether the marketer is adopting an objective-and-task policy or not. In most cases, though, planning the campaign in detail will come after the budget is known and agreed upon; few companies give the marketing department a blank cheque for promotional spending. Campaigns can be carried out to achieve many objectives; a new product launch was used in the example given earlier, but in most cases the products will be in the maturity phase of the product life cycle.
- Image-building campaigns are designed to convey a particular status for the product, and to emphasise ways in which it will complement the user’s lifestyle. For example, Volvo promotes the reliability and engineering of the car rather than its appearance, thus appealing to motorists who prefer a solid, reliable vehicle. Marlboro cigarettes promote a masculine, outdoors image.
- Product differentiation campaigns aim to show how the product is better than the competitors’ products by emphasising its differences. In most cases this will take the form of the unique selling proposition or USP for short. The USP is the one feature of the product that most stands out as different from the competition, and is usually a feature that conveys unique benefits to the consumer. Mature products often differ only very slightly from each other in terms of performance, so a USP can sometimes be identified in terms of the packaging or distribution. Of course, the USP will only be effective if it means something to the consumer – otherwise it will not affect the buying decision.
- Positioning strategies are concerned with the way consumers perceive the product compared with their perceptions of the competition. For example, a retailer may claim ‘lower prices than other shops’ or a restaurant may want to appear more up-market than its rivals.
- Direct response campaigns seek an immediate response from the consumer in terms of purchase, or request for a brochure, or a visit to the shop. For example, a retailer might run a newspaper campaign that includes a money-off coupon. The aim of the campaign is to encourage consumers to visit the shop to redeem the coupon, and the retailer can easily judge the effectiveness of the campaign by the number of coupons redeemed.
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