Before proceeding with this article let’s make a few assumptions:
1. You understand your market and know who your target buyer is.
2. You have a definitive corporate id.
3. You clearly articulate what sets your business apart from competition.
4. You have resources to generate online content, program SEO, and engage in social media.
5. You have a mobile responsive website.
6. You have an easy mechanism for people to buy or get more information from your company.
If you have these things you are ready to start developing your marketing plan and build some great brand recognition. If not, your marketing dollars will not be nearly as effective. And good luck being found online and competing with those who have mastered the items above.
The next question is where are you going to put your marketing dollars?
You have more choices and delivery mechanisms than ever before. The hardest thing for you will not to get tangled up in all the hype surrounding digital marketing these days.
No matter what you are doing in marketing it always boils down to four things: Focus, Reach, Cost, and Conversion. It has always been that simple and will remain so, even if we get to the point where advertisers are planting microchips in our brains. Putting the “how” before the “why” seems to be a prevalent practice in advertising these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love all things about social media. It is cheap, instantaneous, and more engaging than traditional media. Targeting and focusing on the right customer has become more rapid and easier to measure than ever before. This holds true for any type of advertising effort connected to a digital component.
Living in the virtual cloud and conversing with thousands of people via my smartphone is something I never would have imagined as a kid. But the message is the still message whether you write it on a napkin or blast it as a promoted social media post to thousands of people. Ten+ years now living with social media, we can all agree YouTube has changed the way we learn about companies and that LinkedIn has altered the way we connect professionally. It would be foolish for anyone to ignore these great tools. How many of your family members spend hours of their day hanging out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? So blog, share, and follow on; used in good measure these are important components of your media mix.
But keep in mind they are but slices of the big promotion apple. Social media has the Focus, Reach and Cost parts down without a doubt. But Conversion comes from trust, and trust comes from believing in or feeling comfortable with a brand or product. So traditional advertising still has a place in this world. When we see or hear things from traditional media outlets we assume they are coming from companies large enough to advertise. We place a higher weight on companies who can afford to attend trade shows, purchase TV/radio space or put up a billboard.
I am going to cap things off here by touching a bit on public relations and sponsorships. I wrote about the importance of the message itself and blasting it out to a large amount of people. Public relations and social media are starting to blend these days but the core premise remains the same: getting your news picked up to another audience group based on its news-worthiness. Doing this right will expand your Reach and lower your Cost. Because public relations is a best effort practice that does not require a financial investment it should be a major component of your promotion plan. Sponsorships are great way for multiple advertisers to access events or other venues where consumers have common buying interests. More times than not, you can offset the expense of advertising by obtaining multiple sponsors for your event. The key take away from this article is that Conversion is achieved by advertising on multiple fronts. The farther the Reach and the more touch points you create the more successful you will be.
If you have your own thoughts on today’s best advertising practices I would like to hear from you.