The Only Marketing Checklist You’ll Ever Need

The Only Marketing Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success.
— Atul Gawande

What makes the ultimate marketing campaign?

It’s an important question because all companies need promotion to ensure long-term survival. 

So, is there a winning formula you can apply that’s guaranteed to win every time? 

Not quite, but you can get close to one. 

The list below features in the excellent and amusing How Brands Blow by Dr Ryan Wallman and Giles Edwards (a follow-up to the equally brilliant Delusions of Brandeur)

Despite the book's satirical nature, you should take this list very seriously if marketing success is your ultimate goal. 

It’s written by the marketing expert Mark Ritson, who runs Marketing Week’s mini MBA programme, which we highly recommend (as a compliment to our courses 😉)

Let’s look at an explanation of each:

1. Diagnosis (Qualitative and Quantitative)

Before you can put a strategy in place, you need to do your research. What marketing challenges do you hope to overcome with your campaign? Ensure you use qualitative (stuff you can’t count) and quantitive (stuff you can) methods. 

2. Clear strategic objectives 

You can set clear strategic objectives once you’ve correctly diagnosed the issue. These goals must be realistic and measurable. 

3. Long, mass-marketing branding 

Professor Byron Sharp explains in How Brands Grow that building a brand requires time and targeting a broad pool of potential buyers. All brands start small, but growing market share is the only way to improve your brand’s odds of survival over the long term.

4. Shorter, targeted performance 

Your messaging can become more targeted and rational as a prospective customer gets closer to purchase. This is where digital channels become your friend, allowing you to segment audiences efficiently. According to Les Binet and Peter Field, you should spend 60% of your budget on emotive, mass brand-building marketing and 40% on short-term, rational messaging.

5. Tight, differentiated positioning

Brand positioning is all about where your brand sits in the minds of your customers compared to your competitors. You need yours to be clear, concise and differentiated. For example, the German carmaker BMW defines itself as the brand for ‘driving enthusiasts’ within the luxury segment.  

6. Heavy, consistent codification (I.e. use of distinctive brand assets)

A distinctive brand asset is something unique and ownable by a brand. It forms part of the brand’s overall ‘identity’ and can be a colour, logo, icon, character, pattern, tone of voice or even an audio device. McDonald’s ‘Golden Arches’, Nike’s ‘Swoosh’ and Disney’s ‘Mikey Mouse’ are good examples of these unique brand identifiers. 

7. Greater investment than competitors 

Why does Coca-Cola spend the most on marketing despite being the category leader? The answer is to maintain its number one position. You can’t expect to be successful in the long term with a low-cost ‘viral’ campaign. You need to cough up the cash. 

8. Astonishing creativity 

The IPA's research shows that 43% of emotionally driven ad campaigns had a significant positive impact on sales and customer loyalty after three years or more. In contrast, rational campaigns saw that level of success 23% of the time. Over the long haul, creatively-led campaigns make the best return on investment. 

9. Multiple integrated channels 

Your target audience isn't just hanging out in one place. Multiple channels increase your chances of getting noticed. Also, being on multiple channels allows you to maintain a consistent brand message; the more someone sees your message, the more likely they will remember it.

You probably think the above list doesn’t seem too difficult to follow, and you’d be right.

The problem is it’s human nature to overcomplicate things. Following simple steps seems, well, too simple.

To get ahead, all you need to do is use the above as a checklist and follow each step to the best of your ability with the resources you have. 

That’s it.

To ensure all your marketing campaigns are a roaring success, try our popular Marketing Strategy course made in collaboration with some of the world’s most creative minds and certified by Cannes Lions.

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