When I worked with clients in the past on direct mail campaigns, the key to success was multiple relevant messages presented multiple times. I'd warn advertisers about sending out a one-time mailer and expecting great results. Over and over we provided our clients with proof that frequency and relevance were keys to success.
Regardless of how well you qualify your audience, the truth is that a single message is sort of like putting a message in a bottle and waiting for a response. That's not to say that these campaigns don't have impact nor a return on investment… they often do. [Beautiful photograph found on Serpent Blog]
A long-term strategic marketing campaign works a lot like compounding interest, though. In repeating the message, you're not stuttering… you're providing more opportunities for the message to take hold. Perhaps the first time, the visitor didn't have time to investigate further… or perhaps the reader didn't have an opportunity to purchase or engage at that time.
Strategic marketing and brand marketing professionals love long-term marketing campaigns because it allows them more time to drip or trickle additional tidbits of information throughout the campaign. Rather than pushing hard for a short-term, high-pressure attack, the strategic marketer waits for the customer to come to them. The customer wants to come to them after being educated, building a relationship, and fully recognizing the opportunity.
Today, I had the pleasure of speaking to Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Marketing VP of Webtrends and we discussed how fun these long-term strategies are. Excuse yet another fishing analogy, but I would liken it to throwing a line in the water or chumming the water and trolling. You may catch a fish each time you throw in the line, but you'll lead a lot more fish… and bigger fish… when you chum and troll the waters.
Webtrends is working on a very unique marketing strategy right now… and it's making the news. I'm looking forward to watching the strategy play out over time and to see the industry's reaction. The fact that it's already getting publicity (even some negative) is intriguing.
Short-term strategies typically have less risk but yield quicker and smaller results. Long-term strategies sometimes have great risk but the yield is typically enormous when it works. Marketing courage is rewarded, though. I respect companies with a long-term strategy much more. It's why I work primarily in the organic search and social media industries… I believe they're the epitome of the long-term strategy. Long-term strategies set great expectations and; as a result, happier customers.