Building Better Budgets
If election season has taught us one thing, it's that designing a political campaign budget is easy. All you need to do, it seems, is allocate a few hundred million dollars for ads alleging that "Candidate A once punched a kitten, right in its adorable little face," or "So-and-so hates freedom so much, he voted 'YES' to tear down the Statue of Liberty," and the rest will take care of itself.
But designing a targeted marketing campaign budget? That's a bit more complicated. The multichannel nature of cross-media marketing, combined with the nebulous statistics on the effectiveness of any particular channel, can make it difficult for marketers to know where to spend. Add to that advances in digital marketing mediums and recent developments in data collection and analytics, and it gets even trickier. In order to understand where to spend, marketers must first know why they're spending.
According to Chad Giddings, executive vice president of marketing and planning for Kansas City, Missouri-based J. Schmid & Associates, that means focusing less on method, and more on audience and message. "Targeted methods such as self-mailers may be effective [on their own], but they may prove even more effective with the addition of e-mail or pay-per-click advertising," he said. "It all depends on the audience and what you are trying to sell, plus your ability to communicate a relevant message and offer."
Even if you've identified your audience and your marketing goals, it's not quite as simple as dumping the entire budget into, say, personalized letters aimed at your target demographic. Cross-media marketing relies on a multichannel approach, and choosing the right channels can be a daunting task given the overwhelming number of options—especially on a limited budget.
So why not just cherry-pick the channels that are most effective? For starters, effectiveness can be hard to quantify. "It is very difficult to state that one method is more effective than another," Giddings commented. "If it were that simple, marketers would choose that method and ignore the others. It depends on what you are selling, whom you are selling to and the resources you have to impact them through any combination of targeted marketing communications."