Cost Effective Marketing: The first rule of thumb for anyone in the business of selling a product or service is defining the target market. In most instances, the target market is made up of more than one market segment or audience a company is trying to reach.

Whether you are developing a marketing campaign that speaks to one specific market or to a multiple audiences, you must consider the best vehicles or mediums to deliver your message; and how to successfully communicate the benefits your product or service has to offer.

Once you answer these questions, the focus shifts to creating a message that resonates with your audience, designing a package to deliver that message, and producing a cost effective marketing plan.

One of the difficulties in trying to market to multiple market segments is keeping costs contained.

When the banking industry presented our agency with the challenge of creating a marketing piece to attract and retain new clients, we quickly determined that potential banking customers fell into multiple market segments, and each segment had its own set of needs. Given the need to keep the cost of marketing materials down, our objective was to create a tool that spoke to the different audiences they wanted to reach, without breaking the bank — literally.

After a number of brainstorm sessions, we developed a series of marketing tools or collateral pieces called Financial LifeTimes. The concept provides bankers with four to five specifically-designed and targeted promotional pieces that speak to potential customers during specific stages of life. Educational in nature, the marketing booklets provide valuable information on things individuals should know and do as they plan for their financial future. The marketing series takes clients from early adulthood through retirement, giving bankers a tool that targets in multiple market segments.

Because these tools are “ready-made” and allow the flexibility to be branded and customized, organizations can take advantage of economies of scale. This translates into significant savings on development, writing, design and production without reducing the quality.

At a time when companies need to increase sales but find themselves limited in marketing dollars, it is necessary to get creative in more than design and message. The Financial LifeTimes project is just one example. Using this same concept, with direct mail projects, looking at options like co-op advertising where you share costs with a vendor, or seeking opportunities to cross promote with a complimentary service are all examples of how to stretch marketing dollars.

The key is coming up with new ways to minimize costs while maximizing results.

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[stextbox id=”grey”]Sue Thomas, a 20-year veteran of marketing, has been part of the Sherri May & Co. team on the Green Bay Take a Step campaign. Sherri May & Co. is a full-service creative firm and marketing agency, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. and founded in 1997. For more information on the company and its team of creative thinkers, visit[/stextbox]