What Is Incremental Marketing?

Incremental marketing is the gradual increase in advertising expenditures and product exposure over a period of time, based on benchmarks. Incremental marketing requires a company to break up a long-term marketing plan into smaller components and assign milestones to each component that have to be met before further marketing funds are committed. The success of each of the components determines if the marketing campaign continues or is halted.

Key Takeaways

  • Incremental marketing is a gradual, achievement-based approach to marketing in which ad costs and product exposure increase as certain important milestones are reached.
  • A company taking this approach to marketing will break down goals by time period or by exposure level and will determine if goals have been reached before subsequent steps are taken.
  • Incremental marketing can be particularly effective when used by companies that have smaller marketing budgets, or that are not able to┬áinvest substantial resources all at once.
  • Incremental marketing is also used by larger companies that have the funds for a blow-out campaign but would rather test the waters first with a product that is new to consumers, or potentially risky in a particular business environment.

Understanding Incremental Marketing

Incremental marketing as an overall strategy is helpful for companies that are not ready to jump into a large scale marketing campaign or do not have the resources to do so. It allows smaller companies to deploy funds as they become available and only if the company sees results from each step. It also is a useful strategy when promoting a product or service that is unfamiliar to the consumer because of the greater risk of consumers rejecting the goods or services.

Incremental marketing may also be used by more established companies that do not want to place a big bet on marketing a product or service that may not be readily received by consumers or may not be well-suited to prevailing market conditions.

How Incremental Marketing Works

An incremental marketing strategy may be especially useful when employed in the launch of new products, and especially when used by smaller companies. The initial and long-term success of a product or company may depend on the execution of a well-planned and executed marketing strategy, and by extension the size of a marketing budget.

But given that marketing budgets are finite, new products are not guaranteed to be successful, and smaller companies may not have the resources to commit to a massive (and therefore risky) marketing campaign all at once, an incremental marketing strategy may be employed.

In such a case, money for marketing may be allocated when it is available and when it makes sense based on the successful completion of previous marketing tasks, when certain benchmarks or milestones are met, and when predetermined sales objectives are achieved.

Each new marketing campaign activity only begins when a previous objective has been met. At each stage, the company may evaluate whether a marketing campaign is worth continuing and whether it should be suspended, altered, scaled back, or ramped up. An incremental marketing strategy gives advertisers the opportunity to determine whether customers are receptive to and will remain receptive to their product or service.