Reverse-Engineering Your Marketing Plan

By Zink, Dennis | Sarasota Herald Tribune, December 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Reverse-Engineering Your Marketing Plan


Zink, Dennis, Sarasota Herald Tribune


WHEN MOST PEOPLE think of reverse engineering, they probably have thoughts of disassembling some high-tech component or software code and learning what makes it tick, and then creating knock-offs for an unfair competitive advantage.

Reverse engineering is defined by Wikipedia as "the process of extracting knowledge or design information from anything man-made. The process often involves disassembling something (a mechanical device, electronic component, computer program, or biological, chemical, or organic matter) and analyzing its components and workings in detail."

I am a fan and practitioner of a different type of reverse engineering: let's call it 'marketing reverse engineering.'

Example 1: Our SCORE podcast series, "Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink," is available by free subscription on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and at score.org. Our goal is to increase our listenership and sign up free subscriptions.

We are reverse-engineering the marketing process with our podcast series as follows: 54 menu items are on the score.org national website. These represent the topics most commonly requested by visitors.

Doesn't it make sense to create and deliver podcast interviews on these topics that are already in high demand? This should substantially increase downloads and subscriptions.

Example 2: A financial institution wanted to target high-net- worth individuals who recently moved to the area. A list of new homeowners purchasing property over a threshold dollar amount was developed. These recent home buyers were given a free gift subscription to a local business magazine with a letter from the publisher. The letter both welcomed them to the area and as a new subscriber to the publication. An introduction was provided to the recipient about the financial institution that had arranged the gift subscription.

What did this accomplish and how did the financial institution, the publisher and the new homeowners gain?

The financial institution reached its desired target in a creative way with a monthly, subliminal reminder. Every month, the recipients were reminded that this subscription was a gift from the institution. Many of these new homeowners proceeded to do business with the financial institution.

The publisher benefited by adding new subscriptions from a desirable demographic. The financial institution contracted to advertise in the publication in a prominent way on a monthly basis, providing additional advertising exposure and revenue to the publisher. …

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