If I include my college internship, this September {was} my 21st year working in, on and around marketing. I’ve seen some successful campaigns. I’ve seen some pitiful campaigns. Fortunately, I’ve learned something from them all, but the most important thing I’ve learned is how to tell them apart. (Trust me, some can’t…)

So what IS the difference between a successful and a pitiful marketing campaign? STRATEGY.

All Marketing Strategy Is Not The Same

If you walk through any marketing department or advertising agency, without a doubt, you’ll see computers, printers, scanners, cameras and all of the nifty tools that go along with the production of marketing. But without a strategic process, those tools are worthless, as are the people using them.

Some marketing departments and agencies swear by their specific system, their standard to which all campaigns must abide. Others are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of shop that take a “more organic” approach. But all successful marketers and agencies alike understand strategy is imperative to their success. Strategies vary, and one agency doesn’t have the corner on the market (no pun intended), but marketing without a strategy is just plain ignorant.

So for your ease and my pleasure, I’ve put together The 8 D’s Of Successful Marketing:

  1. Dream
    Contrary to some companies, marketing still requires a little creative forethought. At the onset of a campaign you and the client need to dream, and dream big. Set goals for the campaign and create the passion you hope to have the consumer “buy into.”
  2. Demographics
    So many campaigns fail to take full advantage of this step. If you don’t know your target audience, then how do you know where to shoot? Do some research on your product or service to find out how it fits, where it fits and, yes, if it fits within the marketplace.
  3. Develop
    Start bringing those dreams along to a logical and executable campaign that can be performed by the marketing team. Narrowing focus and slicing the fat from the creative until all you have left is a laser-focused campaign targeted to the demographics you found in the previous step.
  4. Design
    This stage encompasses more than the “look” of the campaign. Design the vehicles and all parts that go into it. From the mailing lists to the website to the logo and packaging, design applies the dream to the product or service.
  5. Disseminate
    Get the dream out there. You’ve picked the right idea. You’ve targeted the right audience. Now deliver the dream to them.
  6. Discover
    Measure results and response. If that’s analytics or responses to a direct mail or sales; you need to track and discover the strength and weaknesses of the campaign.
  7. Doctor
    Based on the discovery stage, make the changes that are necessary to focus the campaign even more. A great idea is to split the campaign into A and B versions for further refinement and testing.
  8. Do-it-again
    And again… and again!

Put that in the squishy pink blob between your ears. You’ll thank me later.

Everyone approaches marketing differently. My approach is different than another marketer’s approach. If 20 years has taught me anything its the truth about successful marketing campaigns. Simply put, ALL SUCCESSFUL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS START WITH STRATEGY!

Where does your marketing start? Is my 8 D’s of Successful Marketing similar to your strategy or strategies? What would you change / add / subtract from the eight?

Help me (and others) continue to learn and help create successful marketing.

Keep Cooking! (TRUE strategic marketing decisions)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef


This post was originally published on TheBrandChef.com in June of 2010.