Mike Feeley, a 30-year sales and marketing executive in both established and start-up companies, says that the marketing is really just “creating or improving the opportunity to sell a product or service.” As a marketer, says Feeley, “your goal is to put the product -- and brand -- in front of many potential clients so they can make an informed decision to buy. The ultimate goal, then, is to have those potential clients execute that purchasing process.” Sound simple? Perhaps. Except that marketing has to take both short- and long-term approaches to the company’s sales objectives.
To meet the company’s short-term goals, says Feeley, marketing “must think tactically and create a plan that addresses the aspects of a sale.” Feeley identifies these sales aspects as product features and benefits, pricing, distribution, service, advertising and market approach. Your long-term objectives are more strategic, using market research and segmentation, ethics, branding, product placement, loyalty marketing, publicity, sales approaches and promotions.
Example of Objectives with New Product in Competitive Field
You have developed a product that is much-improved over its competitors, but you are new to the market and your competitors have had a head start. They have sales and they have reputation. Your marketing team has therefore decided that a long-term sales objective is to garner a 20 percent market share. Your research into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses -- as well as your own -- has determined that a viable short-term objective is market penetration; you are not concerned about profitability right now because you need to get your product “out there.” Your short-term objective, then, is to get as much of the product sold as possible, even if the price is low. As awareness and reputation grow, the price can be increased.
Example of Objectives with High Development Costs
Your expenses for infrastructure, development and product launch will be extensive. Your investors require a certain percentage of return on these costs, say, 20 percent over a three-year period, for example. So your long-term sales objective has to reflect that requirement. According to Feeley, “This is not just about reaching profitability or realizing a certain margin from sales. It considers the money spent to make the product successful.” Your marketing short-term objectives are to gain market share, foster a good reputation and have a recognizable brand. The long-term objective must be to slowly raise prices to levels of profitability that sustain and grow the company, eventually paying back the capital investment and showing a return of 20 percent over three years.
Use marketing measurement methods to gauge whether you have met your objectives. Each measurement works with various long- and short-term objective pairings: Attracting customers is a measurement of profitability and price objectives; increased market share measures your market share and awareness; repeat customers are an indication of your likelihood of survival as well as your reputation; and, an increase in sales distribution is a measurement of your growth and sales channels. Other measurements include more locations (if you are a stand-alone business, for example); this is a measurement of your promotion and merchandising objectives; name recognition would indicate that your branding and marketing communications objectives were successful, as well.