By Gathan Borden
“Print is dead.”
“We need to go 100% digital.”
“Social media is a waste of time.”
How many of you have been on the receiving end of those conversations? The fact of the matter is, all forms of marketing work, but because the marketing landscape is saturated, you’ve been told that only certain forms of marketing work. The real truth is, it still takes the right mix of media to reach the right consumer.
Often, you hear marketing experts speak in generalities and tell you where you need to spend your money and which media platforms deserve your attention. This often leads to spending a disproportionate amount of marketing dollars with one form of media as opposed to staying balanced across multiple forms of media.
It’s the exact same science behind our bodies and diets. There is no one diet that fits all. Most nutritionists will tell you that most diets are not sustainable for long-term health, as too much of any one thing is bad. And just like with our daily food habits, spending too much of your marketing dollars with one form of media is a bad thing – you need balance.
Let’s take a step back
Before you can determine what your marketing diet is, you really need to take a step back to analyze your consumer’s path to purchase. As with most products today, the path to purchase is no longer linear. The series of channels a consumer is exposed to before they purchase a product includes everything from emails, apps, search engines, general and specialty news sources, brand websites and loyalty programs to online review channels and social networks. In understanding your consumer’s path to purchase, you need to identify what influences their shopping behavior, because if you don’t figure that out then you end up with the “pray and spray” approach, where your marketing dollars are scattered out across any and every possible outlet, and you’re left praying that it works.
Figure out what works
Once you have an understanding of your consumer’s path to purchase, you can begin to evaluate what forms of media will lead to conversions. Print, radio, TV, digital, social and direct mail are just some of the ideas you should be exploring. Each of these forms of media play a significant role in your consumer’s path to purchase, some more than others – but they ALL play a role.
Word-of-mouth marketing has long been a trusted source for consumers, and with the rise of social media and online review sites, word-of-mouth marketing is easier to amplify. However, recent research shows us that consumers still trust more traditional forms of marketing like print ads, TV ads and billboards. According to a study by MarketingSherpa, when asked which advertising channels they trust most when making a purchasing decision, 82% of respondents said they trust print ads in newspapers and magazines.
You need to decide what forms of media will work best for you, and then allocate your budget accordingly. Start with an equal distribution of media dollars across each of the platforms you are choosing and then adjust your spending levels based on your strategy.
Learn the science
If you’ve gotten to the point where you understand the consumer’s path to purchase and to which forms of media you will allocate your marketing dollars, then your next step is to become a marketing scientist. I once heard someone say that marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed. Understanding the data and painting a clear picture of your marketing efforts is what separates the good marketers from the great marketers.
Investing in marketing attribution software can help you figure out how well your media dollars are performing; however, if you don’t have the budget to invest in software, you still need to spend time analyzing your media performance across multiple platforms, so that you allow the data to make your marketing decisions more transparent. When measuring your traditional ads like print, TV and radio, be sure to utilize vanity URLs, coupon codes, promo numbers or even bridge it with your social media efforts and incorporate hashtags. Bringing together your offline and online marketing efforts to maximize your budgets is crucial to any type of marketing success.
Marketing is not a one-time fix but an ongoing strategy to help your business grow. No product alone can sell itself. By investing in the right marketing channels, your business cannot only generate leads and conversions, you can also build your reputation with your consumers and within your respective industries. It takes consistent marketing efforts across a balanced media mix to reach the right people, at the right time, in the right place.
Sources: “Print ads in newspapers and magazines are the most trusted advertising channel when consumers are making a purchase decision”; https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/print-ads-in-newspapers-and-magazines-are-the-most-trusted-advertising-channel-when-consumers-are-making-a-purchase-decision-300424912.html