Great article, I would like hear more. Often, even as a designer I sometimes forget or overlook the very things you talked about here. It is articles like this that keep my mind and work on track. It's always good to be reminded of it even when you already have it in somewhere in your brain. Great read, let me know when you have some more great thoughts.
Some basic principles to help you evaluate which marketing venue is right for your individual business.
Never before in the history of humanity has there been more ways to communicate with your marketplace. While that sounds like a great thing (and it can be) it also means there have never been more opportunities to do it wrong and waste tremendous amounts of time and money. Here are four basic principles that should help you select venues, media and opportunities that might help your business grow.
Principle Zero—not all marketing “opportunities” work for every business.
Media account executives all have sales pitches. It’s the tool of their trade and many can be harmful or fatal if swallowed. NEVER jump into an expensive contract or agreement with a marketing venue. Before you place that big order with the phone book, newspaper, magazine or mailing house, check out who is advertising with them now. Are any of your competitors there? (That by itself is not a reason to advertise, but should be taken into account). Call their advertisers up and ask them if they are developing any new business from the venue. Ask yourself if those advertisers also intend to reach YOUR target market.
Principle One—Test, test, test.
Avoid “all eggs, one basket” syndrome. This is especially true of startups or rebranding situations where much of the messaging is new and untried. Only go really big in graduated steps, and only upgrade when you can really prove that this particular marketing venue is REALLY working for you and you can easily afford the cost. Take a small ad for a limited time and measure the results. If nothing, drop it. If some results, tweak it. If good results, strengthen it. Bite-size your marketing output so that you can afford to continue marketing in other venues if this one fails. Part of this is the self-discipline required to SOURCE EVERY NEW LEAD. Tabulate your lead sources at least once a quarter, once a month is better. Only then can you truly measure how effective your marketing is. That said, don’t make a strategy decision based on a “one-shot deal”. One ad, one mailing, isn't enough to adequately indicate what is working for you. It takes repetition. It actually takes three impressions in the average demographic for a marketing communications piece to drive its message home (in some demographics that can go as high as seven to ten impressions.)
As a corollary to this, employ an intelligent Marketing Mix. Never advertise ONLY in one medium, or on one channel or venue. There are several reasons for this: the most important is a principle called Associative Memory Resonance. People remember their experiences by recalling mental image pictures. These pictures are of course filed away in their memory banks and are used by the person to compare to situations in the person’s immediate environment and thus resolve problems.
Associative memories are the strongest mental phenomena there are and contain not only your message but the context of it: eg if they saw your poster in a public library, they remember not only your poster, but the CONTEXT in which they saw it—the library wall. This memory may be easily forgotten because it contains nothing with which they can associate another memory. When they see your message again in different media, eg, your television ad, it enlarges the context in which they’ve seen your message and the two contexts will resonate and link the times together, often subconsciously. Your image and the identification of your logo, your name/identity and message linked together between the two contexts makes your message the dominant factor in the recall association and makes you appear to be everywhere at once. This is why repetition is so necessary to market penetration and why a Marketing Mix (spreading your marketing efforts between media, rather than just one) is far more effective way to help your message penetrate.
Principle Two—What worked before will most likely work again.
If you get good results from something, KEEP DOING IT and STRENGTHEN IT. You wouldn’t think you’d have to explain that to people but every once in a while I get some new client that sings the blues about how their marketing isn’t producing results. I usually find out that six months ago they were getting lots of new leads; they were advertising on the outfield fences at the baseball stadium. Then baseball season ended, no one realized how successful that campaign had been, so of course, no one contacted the football stadium or the ice hockey arena, broadening their target from “baseball fans” specifically to “sports fans” in general. As a result, their income took a nosedive because A) they were largely in the dark about where their leads were coming from and as a result, B) no one took the initiative to keep the successful marketing campaign going.
Principle Three—Can you explain yourself?
No matter the media, marketing communication is all about message. If you don’t have the key words and button phrases that address the principle pain points set into the messaging (whether that message is presented in writing, verbally or visually) you are not communicating at your best. If a medium won't allow that information to be gotten across smoothly and with impact, in the worst case scenario, you are wasting your opportunity; but even in the best case you are probably leaving money on the table. Voice your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) - a clear statement of WHY people should buy from you instead of the other guy or gal. You really must evaluate whether your marketing opportunity lends itself well to allowing your UVP to truly come across - some media are better than others at doing this with certain TYPES of messaging. I’m running out of Biznik real estate here and have to end this article but I can assure you that applying just these four principles can give you a clue about which opportunities might work best for your individual business.
Learn more about the author, John Robertson.
Comment on this article
Posted by Hideki Aono, Rego Park, New York |
Mar 05, 2009
Posted by Kirk Davis, Bellevue, Washington |
Mar 06, 2009
You've given me a lot to think about. This is very good advice. It seems like we are all on a search for which marketing media works better and how to create a better marketing message. You taught me something the other day when we met about sourcing every lead. Find out how people found you. Then you will know what is working and what to strengthen. The other big idea from your article is that if you are going to advertise you have to be prepared to run it for several months so people get enough exposure to the ad to make certain it works.
My advice is to talk to John when you get your next potentially harmful or fatal sales pitch from a media sales person and let him help you turn it into a home run instead of a no-hitter.
- marketing communications
- key words
- button phrases
- pain points
- marketing mix
- associative memory resonance