Are You Using The Right Marketing Channels?

Marketing has more in common with crafting a poem than building a rocket ship. There’s no set formula, no one-size-fits-all strategy that works for everyone. The key is choosing the right marketing channels to reach your target audience, and then using those channels to begin building the relationships that are the real foundation of any sale. But how do you know which marketing channels are the right ones for your organization?

• Know your audience
If your clients and prospects are in their 60s, Snapchat probably isn’t going to reach them. On the flip side, if your product or service is for teens, LinkedIn isn’t going to get the job done. The first and probably most important step in choosing which marketing channels to use is to understand where and how your target audience gets their information. Surveys, feedback forms, email, and point-of-sale questions are all low-cost ways to gather this information. Focus groups and stakeholder interviews are other tools to consider.

• Be strategic
Don’t jump into all your chosen marketing channels at once. Start by producing content for one or two channels; for example, an email campaign and a direct mail piece. Gather the response data and see how each channel performs. Once the first two channels are running smoothly (or after deciding that one or both of them wasn’t the right fit after all), add a third channel. And remember, you don’t need to use all available marketing channels. Think strategically and hone your plan.

• It doesn’t all have to be digital
While it’s likely digital marketing will be an important part of your marketing channel mix (even your grandparents are on Facebook, right?), your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be only digital. Depending on your audience, consider print, radio, and tv ads; catalogs; guest author articles in local or trade publications; PR; event sponsorships; speaking engagements; and conferences, trade shows, workshops, and seminars.

• Check out your competition
Research where and how your top 3-4 successful competitors are delivering their marketing message. What they’re doing well can help you craft your marketing approach, and what they’re doing poorly can save you from repeating the same mistakes. It can also open an opportunity for you to come in and connect with their clients and prospects by doing something better.

• Reevaluate your choices from time to time
As your organization grows and evolves, the marketing channels that worked great when you were just starting may become less effective. Needs change, both for you and your audience. And the effectiveness of marketing channels can also shift, especially in the digital world. While Facebook used to be the biggest player in social media, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have successfully cut into this user base. To keep your mix effective, it’s important to evaluate how well your marketing channels are performing and stay up-to-date on new channels as they develop.