Poor Ben blew and blew, but couldn’t extinguish the fire on the candle of his 2nd birthday cake. The little guy gave it all he had, but was simply blowing in the wrong direction. He was blowing at the cake, not at the candle. In marketing, we need to constantly be mindful that we are using the most appropriate methods to communicate with our target audiences. Research, strategic planning, and continuous evaluation can ensure that we are not blowing on the cake, but are focusing our efforts in the right directions and are getting the most out of the advertising and marketing dollars we’re investing.
The million-dollar question is “How do you know the most appropriate methods to communicate with your target audiences?” Unfortunately, in most cases, there is no definitive right or wrong answer. Often, there are many different strategic approaches that can prove to be effective. There are two main factors that can help us determine the “most appropriate method.” The first thing to consider is where our desired audience is consuming their media. Naturally, we will want to put our message in those places.
The second thing to consider is our budget. Many times, our budget will dictate where and in what allocations our marketing investments are made. With a limited marketing budget, smaller print ads, online ads, social media and email advertising can be appropriate and effective methods. A larger marketing budget can allow for radio and television ads to be used to reach a broader audience and a wider range of potential customers.
Research shows primetime TV advertisements are one of the most effective and influential forms of media. As a result, primetime TV advertisements can be a significant expense and can eat up a marketing budget in fairly short order. Primetime TV will not fit into every company’s budget. Furthermore, if it does fit, we still may not want to allocate a large percent of the budget to one specific area. But then again, maybe we do. It really depends on what is “most appropriate” for our specific situation. If primetime TV is where the majority of our target audience is consuming their media, and if our budget will allow for the investment, then primetime TV makes a lot of sense.
Another thing to keep in mind when we’re deciding where to focus our marketing efforts is that integration can be a powerful and strategic tool. When we communicate the same message through different avenues, it really reinforces that message to our audience. For example, research has shown that coordinated primetime TV and Facebook advertising can be very effective in reinforcing the messages we want our customers and potential customers to hear again and again.
One last thing to think about is that the best advertising opportunities for your company may be totally different in six months or a year from now. Marketing is constantly changing. The places people go to absorb media is constantly changing. That is why it is good practice to continually test, measure, and refine. To learn more about this process, read Chris Young’s latest blog “Measuring Success (and Failure) Online and Offline” at http://184.108.40.206/measuring-success-failure-online-offline/.