Part One – The Guide to Profitable Marine Marketing: The 4 Know’s of Integrated Marketing Communications

marketing plan4 knows of marketingBegin every marine marketing effort analyzing the 4 Know’s as an integral part of your marketing checklist

(Article 1 in 4 part series)

In this new 4 part series “The Guide to Profitable Marine Marketing” I plan to share some of my expertise in integrated marketing and hope to guide you through the process of developing a more profitable marketing plan.

In the first article of this 4 part series we’ll discuss how the “4 know’s” of integrated marketing communications can be a valuable tool in your marketing checklist.

Media Trends

According to a 2013 Info Trends report, there are 24 key media that are used worldwide to support the needs of the marketer, including marine markets. Interestingly, of these 24 media, 12 are what are now called legacy (traditional) media, and 12 are called digital or emerging media. Integrated Marketing Communications includes the balanced and targeted use of applicable customer-centric (designed to focus ONLY on the customer), purpose-driven media—both legacy and emerging media.

media convergenceThe Changeling – Media

If you understand the potential, acceptance, and value of these 24 key media and embrace the ever-changing media landscape, you and your marketing effort will greatly benefit. Yes, the media landscape is and has changed. Media today (viewed as a singular body) consists of not only social media and social networks.

Media is a changeling, a chameleon that shift shapes with the targeted demographic, the deployment, the purpose of your marketing program, and, to a degree, even your company. Media can be the benchmark or cornerstone of your marketing program, but today media needs to be viewed as an integrated, interactive component with a greater view of the end result of the media selected and the tools that are needed to move the targeted audience from a passive viewing to an action-based response.

In his book What Does Media Mean to You, Harvey R. Levenson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Director of the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly, Cal Poly State University, states:

“The market has, for the most part, gravitated to the least expensive delivery methods such as the Internet and WWW. While the reach may be the greatest using these media, the response rate may not be.”

Reach, as you will see, is only part of the formula; reach is what media can bring, oftentimes inexpensively, and hit your target market directly on the head. But your use of media will also hit others on the head, others that have no value to you or your firm and its products or services, all included in the cost-per-thousand (CPM) fees provided by the source of the media.

So, where does this all get you? How will reading this series of articles increase your marketing quotient, expand your marine-based business and add to your (positive) bottom line?


A simple beginning!

Simply by beginning each and every boating or marine marketing effort you undertake or even think about undertaking by correctly, accurately analyzing the following “4 Know’s,” which should be an integral part of your marketing checklist:

Know your Market

Know your Customers

Know your Media

Know Your Numbers

Each of these points on the marine marketing checklist looks to a holistic view, an integrated marketing formula based on more than reach and CPM. It is based on establishing dialogue, extending engagement, and focusing your end game on positive return on investment (ROI) to your efforts, or, as some in the industry now contend, on marketing return of investment (MROI), or on return on your objectives (ROO), a term that I personally disagree with and feel does not seem to make much sense.

When speaking as a certified marketing consultant for the U.S. Department of Commerce, I often begin the discussion by asking the audience, “What are the key questions you ask when developing an integrated marketing communications program?”

Some of the responses include: Assign a budget, call my media rep, email, survey customers, post a discussion, activate social media, find out what my boss wants, get expert external advice, or simply activate or re-activate an off-the-shelf program, perhaps even previously deployed.

Most of the answers offered are incorrect.

The Correct Answers

It has been my experience over a long and very successful marketing career that the correct questions need to be simple, defined, and actionable. The correct questions need to start the process and force you to ask other relevant and related questions that will allow you to hone, fine tune, link, integrate, and measure your marketing efforts—allowing each effort to be examined actively and forensically against a rubric that is specific to your vertical or target audience and the goals and objectives you have defined.

Over this series of articles, I will present a simple, basic version of the marine marketing checklist, not because the reader will not understand the complexities or the need, but to go back to the basics upon which ALL complex media, marketing, and communications decisions are based. You need a path, a trail, a course to follow. I am offering that trail; how you use it may either get you lost in the deep woods of marketing or increase your sales and profits!

Part Two of the Marine Marketing Checklist

I do not recall where and when I first heard of the marine marketing checklist, but it has become an important tool for me. Once you are ready to focus on each of the “4 know’s,” you should also incorporate the second part of the process (which I call the “4 what’s”) to correctly deploy your plan and to add accuracy and depth to your decision path or logic trail. I use part two as supportive questions that keep me focused, keep me on the mark, and allow me to stay in the driving lane to profit that is the base route to reach my goals and objectives.

The “4 what’s”:

What do you know?

What do you need to know?

What don’t you know?

What don’t you need to know?

In the next installment, we will start to examine the “4 know’s” and the “4 what’s” and analyze how you can use this information to gain knowledge, expand your wisdom, and gain profits!

Strategically, and we are talking strategically, you have to understand the “big picture.” Once you understand the view from above, the operational and tactical paths to follow start to develop, appear, and formulate themselves.

In the meantime, feel free to reach out and talk to me about this series: Guide to Profitable Marine Marketing.

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Thaddeus Kubis

Founder and Chief Integrattion Officer at The Institute For Media Convergence
Offering integrated marketing/media communication consultant based services; my broad skill set is founded on profit advocacy and ROI – Where marketing becomes dialogue and engagement! Integrated Marketing • Media Convergence • Profit Advocacy • Multi-Media Management • Forensic Marketing Analysis 917.597.1891


  1. It’s great to see a solid directed approach to marketing. Google seems to finally be targeting advertising to Individuals based on their browsing. The next step is to get manufacturers to modify their offerings to suit their customer wants and needs. Getting the required feedback to stimulate these changes would be a real step forward for social media marketing.

  2. Will, Your comments are very supportive of my “solid directed approach to marketing”. Having worked in other mature industries the product selection is often the last item changed and in most instances it should have been and needs to be the first component changed. Keep on reading, the next three installments will only prove both of us correct.

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