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Collegiate ECHO Marketing Strategy
- The marketing strategy must demonstrate an understanding of the client situation and the case challenge.
- Research drives strategy. Justification of all strategies recommended should flow from detailed market research findings. Strategic recommendations without solid research to support are not sound.
- The campaign must logically flow from the research that supports its hypotheses, strategies, media choices, offers, response rates and creative samples.
- The overall campaign development and the projected results must be realistic.
- Many students want to rush to the creative development portion of the campaign, but quickly realize that they don’t have the knowledge needed to craft enticing offers and really alluring creative materials without having deep knowledge about their target market.
- Student teams must collect both secondary and primary research information. The more data they can obtain…the better informed they will be to determine their campaign strategies.
Activities & Elements to Include
- While students today may have a tendency to “Google” every word to obtain secondary research, they should be encouraged to use other, less obvious sources such as industry-specific journals and publications or corporate materials.
- Each client challenge requires different market research methodology. Student teams should be encouraged to utilize a variety of primary data collection methods, including surveys, focus group discussions, depth interviews, observation methods, and experiments.
- Networking is an effective method to securing market research assistance. Faculty advisors should help connect student teams with appropriate business professionals, alumni, community leaders, etc. who are willing to serve as key informants for the research phase of the Collegiate ECHO Challenge.
- Using Simmons and MRI data, even if dated, about psychographics and media preferences is important.
- Periodical literature research of the business press will define what others have said about the project situation review and will provide additional insights to the students about other campaigns that might have an impact on what they are trying to accomplish.
- Review of 10Ks and other financial data will give insight into the profit structure of the competitors and establish ROI threshold objectives for the project.
- Regardless of the research methods employed, student teams must learn as much as possible about the company, industry, competitors, consumers, and really put their arms around the project.
- Empowered with all of this data, student teams are now in a position to analyze and synthesize the data. This involves answering the following questions: How do we present all this research concisely so that the reader will be engaged and so that our strategies will be understood? How do we use the research to logically build our strategies?
- Students should be encouraged to play with the data and ask probing questions: What can be gleaned from all of this information? What trends are indicated? What have competitors or similar marketing companies in other industries done that could indicate a successful marketing strategy with this challenge? What segmentation strategies should be applied? What offers are most desirable to the target audience? What media preferences do they have? How can we develop a meaningful strategy to spend the budget that has been allocated to us?
- A primary data collection methodology section explaining how the data was collected should precede the discussion of primary research findings.
- Student teams must differentiate from their research findings the most important elements to be included in the campaign proposal and PowerPoint slideshow and the support data to be included in the Appendix.
- Clear and concise, yet revealing bullet points may be used to communicate much of the content in this section.
- Research findings should be presented in a “data-strategy” table. This table itemizes each key research finding and its corresponding strategic action. (See Exhibit A).
- Based on the information presented in the data-strategy table, students should develop a conceptual model or flow chart for their strategic campaign. Visually linking the various strategies gleaned from their research findings is an effective method to strategically develop their campaign. (See Exhibit B).
- Market segments of targeted customers must be presented. Brief profiles (including pertinent geographic, demographic, social, psychological and behavior data) of each segment should be created along with key benefits for each respective market segment. (See Exhibit C).
- This section should close with a logical transition to the next section: Creative Strategy.
Exhibit A: Data-Strategy Table
Exhibit B: Conceptual Model
Exhibit C: Market Segmentation Profiles
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