Let’s be honest; you cannot operate a successful business without marketing. For most, marketing is advertising. You spend money on advertising or, you hopefully are skilled enough to find other ways of marketing that are free. Regardless, knowing where to advertise is a function of your marketing. Without this important knowledge, your marketing dollars (advertising) are disappearing down a black hole.
Commonly what I see is a business buys an ad in some media where the business operates. They are impressed by the reach that media has, they believe this will get their message in front of enough people and sales will come from that. It might work for them, most often it will not. It will not for the same reason it might, the media itself. Is it the right media for your business, the right marketing venue if you will. Advertising is expensive; you want to put your dollars where they have the greatest chance for a return.
How Do You Do That?
How do you know where to spend your marketing dollars? Further, how do you know this is the right place or way to spend your marketing dollars? We start with a little research on your business and its customers.
3 Magic Words
WHO – These questions can be answered by first identifying your customers. Whether you are an existing business selling the same product or service, an existing business selling a new product or service, or a new business wanting to sell a product or service the step is the same – identify who your customer is. Maybe your customer, at first, isn’t the end user or buyer of your product or service. Maybe it’s a distributor or even a referral source who provides the contact between you and your product or service.
It is from here that you begin to focus where your Marketing Budget is best used.
WHY – Once you’ve identified who your customers are determine why they buy from you or should buy from you. This reason is what gives you the message you want to communicate that will cause them to buy. It also helps you determine where you should advertise (market) your business.
WHERE – You know who your customers are, or who you want them to be. You know what you are selling. You know why your customers buy or should buy what you are selling. We still haven’t addressed the most important part of the search. No, it isn’t price as many may think, it is where your customers are. Where do your customers “hang out?” Where and how do they shop, look for information they need to buy items for their business or needs, and so forth. This is how you know where to advertise or even how. Before anyone thinks I am against certain types of advertising let me clarify; all advertising is good. However, what is best for one business may not be best for another. That TV ad that puts you all over the morning news may be slick, fun and ego fulfilling. If your customers don’t watch the morning news the placement of the ad is not a good investment of your advertising dollars.
Selecting the where is important. When a media representative tells you “we have 250,000 viewers at 7 am” that’s good for them. The question for you is simple – is it good for you? Does your target market watch, use, rely on, etc. their media? How do they know and make them demonstrate that to you? Further, where are your competitor’s advertising and importantly, is it successful for them? You can ask them, and they may tell you or, you can ask others, and they may tell you. Make inquiries, do your due diligence and find out. This information will ensure that whatever media you choose, you will get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars.
Don’t Be Marketed To
Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to be taken in by the advertising and presentations of the representatives of the marketing media. Their material is designed to get you to buy from them. They will present your information as promised. They will deliver that. If you want to control the conversation and the information you receive from them, ask simply: “How many from my target market are actual users of your media and how well have others improved their business when compared to the money they spend with you?”
Marketing is important. Your marketing budget is not infinite; you only have so much. Making sure that where you spend it gives you the greatest return is important to your business. Following the above steps will help you do that.