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Usually when you look in your tool box for something you know exactly what you need it for. It may be a hammer to drive a nail into a piece of wood, or a screw driver to tighten a loose screw. Likewise, establishing the purpose of your design project and identifying the right tool to use in order to accomplish your goal ensures a higher return on your investment.

1. Define the purpose of your project:

Before you decide what promotional tool is right for you, you should clearly know what you intend to achieve with it. Ask yourself if you want to:

  –   Inform: Raise awareness of a new product or feature, for example
  –   Instruct: Tell audience how to (reply, purchase, use, etc.)
  –   Interpret: Help audience develop own perception of value or use
  –   Persuade: Prompt desired action, lead prospects to take a step

2. Select the most appropriate promotional tool:

You will need to carefully select which tool to use, especially if you are a small business on a limited budget. Consider how you are more likely to reach your audience more effectively:

  –   Who is your target audience?
  –   What do they like?
  –   What do they aspire to achieve?
  –   Do they watch TV, listen to the radio, read print or surf the Internet?
  –   How do they behave?

Study how your most successful competitor is handling their communications and analyze reports for your industry. Knowing what works (and what doesn’t) can help you ensure a higher return on investment.

3. Work with a professional designer:

A lot of smaller organizations believe they save money by using a creative friend or employee to develop the company’s communications. However professional designers can create more effective communications, more economically. While your non-professional help may be very inexpensive or even free, only professional designers have the technical and creative skills, plus the experience to develop cost-effective tools based on sound problem-solving strategy. Investing in professional designers ensures the highest quality and the highest possible return on your investment, because they help you:

  –   Gain competitive edge, enhance your professional image and develop your brand
  –   Create effective communications that produce results
  –   Save your time and money with cost-effective solutions and professional project management
  –   Avoid costly mistakes during all phases of each project

4. Build a strategic communications plan: You can communicate more effectively if you plan your communications strategy in advance. Based on the previous year’s expenses, you can set up a feasible budget. You can find out how many brochures were used and which promotional efforts worked (and which didn’t). When you work with a full-service creative firm, you can save time and money if you plan ahead, by negotiating volume and frequency discounts.

January 2004. © Mediamix Design & Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

This Marketing article was written by Deia Farrell on 2/11/2005

Deia Farrell, a Principal and Marketing Consultant with Mediamix Design & Publishing Inc., a full-service creative and marketing company in Florida.