Where to Direct Marketing Efforts

By Jerry Peterson

There is a consistent sequence of steps that I take my clients through when designing a marketing program for them. Hopefully this procedure can be beneficial to others as well.

In order to understand how to properly market a company, the very first thing that needs to be understood is who the target audience is. In large advertising companies they frequently lay out the attributes of the ideal customer, even going so far as to give him or her a name.

Once we know who we are trying to market to, as well as their interests, we must then discover where people meeting those attributes congregate. In other words, we have to know where to put our marketing message so it is seen by our target audience.

A piece of information that I can’t go forward without is: What gain is received by acquiring a new customer? We can call this customer value — how much net revenue is generated (on average) for each new customer that our campaign attracts. As a marketing person, I need to know how many customers and new sales need to be created in order to justify the effort and expense that will be incurred.

Another important item is who are we competing with. If a small company is attempting to compete with national or international brands for customers, different tactics will be required.

One of my mentors boils this down to the following:

  1. Know what you are fighting for (what is the reward for the effort, is there enough traffic or is the audience big enough)
  2. Know who you are fighting against (who are we competing with)
  3. Don’t pick fights you can’t win (don’t engage in campaigns where the likely results do not justify the effort)

As far as marketing a company on the Internet, I follow the following steps:

  1. Google Places (only if the client has a local presence) — this is the equivalent of the Yellow Pages of 20 years ago and is the bare minimum that businesses should be doing to market themselves.
  2. Mobile Marketing — SMS or text message marketing has become one of the most effective means of connecting with and communicating with a customer base. It’s 97 percent open rate dwarfs the results of other “push” marketing strategies.
  3. Social Media — Facebook currently has 750 million users and 93 percent of U.S. Internet users have a Facebook account. Twitter isn’t far behind. These are figures that cannot be ignored. Every business with a marketing budget needs a social media presence. Be warned, this is a specialized skill and should only be engaged in by a team of professionals.
  4. Video Marketing — Almost 2/3 of traffic on the Internet is video consumption. People obviously prefer to consume information in video format. Building a video marketing campaign requires specialized tools and skills as well, although it is not as difficult as some would lead you to believe.
  5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Still the “king” of Internet marketing , this simply refers to the efforts required to get the attention of the search engines and getting them to direct traffic to your site(s).
  6. Pay Per Click (PPC) — PPC can frequently be used to jump start a campaign. PPC has become much more difficult in the last couple of years. It is almost imperative now to work with a team doing this daily, otherwise we risk having our account shut down for no reason.
  7. Follow-Up Systems — This may be the most important item on the list. Getting people to consume our message without having a way to stay in touch with them is just throwing money away. As I’m sure you know, it takes between 5 and 10 contacts before the average person is ready to buy. If we never follow up after the first contact we have severely limited the effectiveness of our campaign.

Jerry Peterson is the president of RightSide Inc., which provides Internet, video and mobile marketing services for small and mid-sized businesses. Contact Peterson at (630) 590-9521 or e- mail him at jlpete72@hotmail.com.
Originally published: Jan 23, 2012

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