A couple of months ago I met with a CEO of a graphics-print shop that asked for some strategic marketing advice. While the conversation centered much on the difficulties in the marketplace, one thing became crystal clear. The business was being marketed with traditional print marketing communications as it had been for the past 10 years.

I explained that the number of times I had seen this strategy work were few and far between. During our conversation I recommended a shift in his perspective in four concrete ways:

  1. Realize you’re at war, not a party.
  2. Understand who is eating your lunch and do something about it.
  3. Be willing to change how you market your business.
  4. And most importantly, draw out a battle plan that can be put into action immediately and changed on a dime.

The chart above illustrates the primary steps to launching a successful brand campaign using both print and interactive communications. First, plan your campaign with your target market’s needs in mind. Second, develop three pilot mini-campaigns and test to determine which one works the best. And third, once you see which pilot pulled the most response ramp-up your pilot to a major campaign level.

These steps will ensure that you choose the most effective marketing approach and allow you to control your marketing ROI throughout the planning to campaigning process.