If You Want Your Marketing to Succeed, You Need to Master the Six M’s

Posted on by in Business, Marketing, Planning, Strategy

The other morning I was talking with a client about an upcoming marketing piece they were putting together when it became clear that they were missing a few pieces of the puzzle. However, I don’t want to be hard on them because their ideas about marketing weren’t that unusual. The reality is that most of the small business leaders I run into have a minimal amount of intellectual property concerning the subject of marketing–even though the success of their business is significantly related to it.

So to help you avoid making some similar mistakes, as well as to help you make wiser choices about your marketing campaigns so that you’re not at the whim of the next sales person who wants to sell you on the "newest, whiz bang marketing solution," here are what I refer to as the six components of a successful marketing campaign. All six are critical and interdependent, meaning that the choice you make in one area, affects all of the others.

For a graphic presentation of the six components so you can hang this on a wall or use it at your next staff meeting, go to


and click on, "Six Components of a Marketing Campaign." That said, here are the six M’s.

First M: Mission

This may sound obvious, but it’s not. What’s the objective of your campaign? Do you want someone to buy something? Attend something? Sign up for something? Become aware of your business? Do you want to create PR? Etc. In other words, if the objective isn’t clear, everything else that follows is moot. Unfortunately, most small business leaders select their media choice (direct mail, radio, coupon pack, newspaper ad, etc.) without ever asking what the objective is. Major mistake!

Second M: Message

What do you want to communicate? What do you want to say? What do you want your potential customers to hear? How will they hear it? And will the message you want to communicate, accomplish your mission above?

Third M: Market

To whom is this message for? Note: Everyone is not an acceptable answer. Whether you’re trying to reach single fathers in their 30’s who make over $75,000/yr. or boomer couples with kids out of college and lots of discretionary income or  18-24 year old women who are attending liberal arts colleges in New England, your market does influence how you’re going to shape your message.

Fourth M: Media

As stated above, most small business leaders start here (even though this is number four in the sequence). In other words, a sales person walks in (or calls) and sells the owner on radio spots or a coupon pack or a yellow pages ad, etc. After purchasing the media, the owner then asks, "Now, what should I say?" which is all backwards. Before purchasing or selecting any media, a wise small business leader will always ask, "What’s the best media for me to use in light of my mission, message and market?"  Frequently, the answer will be different that where they started.

Fifth M: Moment

The fifth M is all about timing. When is the best time (the moment) to communicate this message? Where are you on the calendar? What season? What holidays? What events? What’s the normal buying pattern for your product or service? When are people most receptive to your offer? All of our businesses have certain cycles. Wise people pay attention to them and then capitalize on them. Note: The Moment "M" also includes issues regarding frequency (how often you’ll communicate with your target audience about this message).

Sixth M: Money

Eventually, it always gets down to this. The amount of money you have significantly affects each of the five M’s above, such as your mission ("Can we blanket our community or only a sliver of it?"), your media ("Can we do radio or only flyers?"), your moment ("Can we send this out one time or five times?"), etc. Now, while most businesses tend to use a percentage of revenue (like 5%), a number of businesses use whatever returns a positive ROI (return on investment).

Now, whatever choice you make about each of the six M’s above is completely up to you. But if you want to significantly improve the probability of your marketing campaign succeeding, then you won’t want to leave the six M’s up to chance. Instead, you’ll want to make intentional choices about each one of these components. And the clearer you are about each one, the higher the probability that your campaign will succeed. As the saying goes, "Hope is not a strategy!"


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