Marketing Leverage is Found in Consumer Insight

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Brian Bennett

STIR | President
May 8

The key to success in a competitive marketing category is maximizing your marketing leverage. The definition of leverage is the addition of strength, weight, clout or pull. This is absolutely critical in marketing to gain the upper hand against competitors who often have more resources to burn.

Leverage isn’t created by accident. It takes shrewd planning.In our business, this is accomplished in a variety of ways, but it always comes back to developing a heightened understanding of a brand’s customers and their needs. With that information, we apply creativity, generate leverage and create value for our clients. It takes a view of the big picture and a mastery of multiple marketing disciplines.

Let’s take a look at some of those marketing disciplines and how to leverage them:

Strategy and insight

Segment your audience and get to know the mindset of your key consumers. You can do this by building personas that describe the aggregate audience in detail.

By understanding their emotional drivers—what they want out of life and what makes them feel good about themselves—you can craft a highly refined marketing strategy that reaches them at the right time, in the right place and with the right message.

Primary and syndicated research is only one method for gaining this understanding. Even better is observant immersion into the lifestyle/industry through interaction with people in the context of their activity and interest. Gather insights and record them.

We developed several personas for our client NL Suits with each one detailing exactly who the customer is and what he is looking for in a custom-made suit—down to the cuff-link stitching and personalization on the inside breast pocket. This knowledge was leveraged and came to life through a photo shoot. The stunning imagery can then be leveraged through marketing, such as NL Suits’ website, social media channels and in-store promotions, just to name a few.


Start with the creative product. Strong, disruptive creative.

It attracts more attention, generates more interaction and is more memorable. This makes media dollars work exponentially harder—up to five times harder, according to Comscore.

Creative appeal is a personal thing. The key is to speak to the heart of the consumer, so it takes exceptional execution and the right core messaging strategy. Invest in proprietary imagery and develop an extendable idea. Consistency over time in style, voice and strategy will pay off.


View media as a resource. Yes, you can drive the cost down through a variety of planning techniques, but the trick is to maximize the value and leverage that they have in the market, which often crosses over into promotional and editorial considerations. Media is seeking deeper relationships and can do many favors.

Look at how we can help the media’s business to drive value. How can we supply content for them? They’re often much more willing to give up more of their precious inventory if it can be justified editorially.

Approach the media buy with pre-determined public relations, product placement and promotional ideas that add significant brand value and help both parties. Turn media vendors into enthusiastic promotional partners. Leverage all the contacts that they have in the market. Leverage the goodwill they generate with their loyal followers. Develop programs that fit strategically with your strategy and creative direction and therefore build your brand.

Public relations

PR is about leveraging relationships and telling stories. Editors need more and more content as staff reductions continue. They’re in the business of telling stories, and by providing fresh content in the right format, we can get them to tell our story.

To do this, we need to invest the time to understand what editors want to write about and then provide them with a customized approach. By staying close to the market, we’re actually in a position to tell editors what their readers are asking for and interested in. We can develop content and package news that fits their editorial needs and format. Be mediagenic. Create interest and news with the unique ways that you execute your message.


Promotion is about giving people a reason to take action. People are busy and only have so much time in the day. So, the action we are requesting of them must be simple and easy, and it must appeal to their needs and interests.

Not all promotions need to offer a price discount. All too often, this cheapens the brand and trains the consumer to shop on price. By understanding consumers and their needs, we can provide them with:

  • An opportunity for an experience
  • Access to information
  • Invitation to a special event
  • Added value gift

Every company has assets that can be leveraged to develop interesting offers, such as:

  • Expertise/advice
  • Access/distribution
  • Partnerships
  • Inventory

We have leveraged media companies and developed co-branded promotions with strategic partners. By leveraging the assets you have at your disposal in a creative way, this work can be done without breaking the bank.

At STIR, we do this every day. By leveraging our product and category knowledge, we generate a higher return on investment for our clientele.

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