Upon recently advising my older brother on marketing strategy, I realised the obvious parallels with military planning - in terms of how you set objectives, gather intelligence, select targets and deploy assets with laser-guided precision. I advocate the scientific approach to marketing which simply means following up measurable objectives with progress reports and final analysis.
Here follows the analogy:
The starting point is of course setting the goals and defining the aims of the campaign - what are you trying to achieve and how do you know when you have reached those objectives.
This is what you are intending to aim your cross-hairs at, or specifically the ’target audience’ in marketing terms. For the mission to be succesfull you need to know exactly whom you are targeting, their motivations, movements, and key modes of behaviour.
You need to know your targets really well to have a good chance of success. Some further field work or research may be necessary to supply the full operations intelligence you need in order to precisely calibrate your plan of attack.
Where will you most reliably encounter your targets and where can you strike with the most impact. In marketing we need to know where our targets gather in significant numbers - whether this is on certain websites, membership associations, publications or communities, TV spots or even passing by placements of certain billboard ads.
To strike with full force and achieve maximum penetration as it were, you probably need a multi-level approach. In military operations you may combine air, sea and land forces to hit the target with the best chance of success. For marketing you need to use typically more than one channel too - be it direct mail / email, banner advertising, editorial, sponsorship, call-backs and otherwise. You need to maximise your likely contact points and multiply the ’opportunities to view’ - for in order to achieve any degree of lasting effect requires multiple impacts.
Your weapons of mass distraction are your marketing materials - ad copy, literature and other forms of promotion. Each asset has a different purpose and is suited to a particular task and medium. You should be able to layer them up in different combinations for a more effective strike rate. You are looking to cover all the different angles here with complementary ordnance which smartly combines to powerful effect.
How you get your assets and ordnance to the target sites. In marketing terms this includes a combination of finances / budgets, production and distribution channels.
These are your final analysis metrics or conversion rates in other words - what is your ratio of input to output - in terms of resources and expenditure utilised versus what proportion of your targets you have managed to impact.