HomeBlog Campaign Planning: Balancing Long-Term Vision and Short-Term Goals

Campaign Planning: Balancing Long-Term Vision and Short-Term Goals

December 04, 2012 | By Craig Moore

Marketers who are setting out on a path to develop integrated campaigns are challenged to balance the desire to address customer needs against the pragmatic realities of ensuring they’re promoting the offerings that can be sold and delivered in the near term. It’s a tough balance because we want our marketers to move beyond seeing the world from the view of the current portfolio of offerings and focus on meeting customer needs.

Marketers who are setting out on a path to develop integrated campaigns are challenged to balance the desire to address customer needs against the pragmatic realities of ensuring they’re promoting the offerings that can be sold and delivered in the near term. It’s a tough balance because we want our marketers to move beyond seeing the world from the view of the current portfolio of offerings and focus on meeting customer needs. However, sales organizations want marketing to also drive interest around offerings they can forecast and sell.

“Marketing Myopia” is a classic article written by Theodore Levitt in 1960 that describes how companies do better in the long run if they focus on customer needs rather than selling products. This thinking has inspired marketers to broaden their perspective in many ways and has led companies to expand their business vision as well. Today’s b-to-b marketers are taught to align efforts to the identification and satisfaction of customer needs; marketers know that when they’re successful at this, they create value for their company.

The SiriusDecisions integrated campaign framework is rooted in the understanding that campaigns must be focused on customer needs. Campaign themes are based on a customer’s need “for something” or a need “to do something.” With these needs and an understanding of the fundamental business drivers of cost and revenue, campaign themes are developed. Building these campaign themes with a healthy dose of vision enables prospective customers to imagine how their future needs will be addressed.

However, the enthusiasm that can be created by too much vision and not enough product can delay sales and slow revenue. Sales executives understand that “you gotta sell what’s on the truck!” In order to generate revenue and keep the business going so there is a tomorrow, selling efforts need to focus on today’s products. As a result, there’s pressure on marketing to focus marketing activities on promoting products that can be sold and shipped today.

The challenge a campaign leader faces is finding the right balance between a customer’s aspirational needs and the ability to address customer needs with available offerings. This can be done by assessing the product portfolio for common customer needs met by these offerings and then forming campaigns around them. If the campaign remains focused on customer needs and doesn’t stray too far into product features and functions, it can maintain the necessary balance. One concept to keep in mind: A focus on features and functions is really a focus on the needs of the seller and not on the buyer. Remember, successful campaigns focus on the needs of buyers.

 

Craig Moore

Craig Moore is Service Director, Marketing Operations Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. His three decades of experience span such areas as marketing operations, partner marketing, strategic alliances, product marketing and management, software development and entrepreneurship. Follow Craig on Twitter @cramoore.

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