Demystifying Marketing 101.6
Here we are – the last of the Marketing basics – the last of the Ps of marketing! Last time we addressed PROMOTION – the free side of promotion. So let’s talk about Paid Promotion here.
For a marketer – promotion is the realm of delectable possibilities! Visions of clever print ads in glossy magazines, waves of targeted traffic to your website driven by pay-per-click, cool contests in social media to gain followers, hip networking groups to be a part of, wedding fairs to participate in, pie-in-my-eyes kind of options!
But remember all that groundwork we laid? The defining of target markets, pricing considerations and research, placement, product attributes – NOW, they really come into play. Before going out and spending a couple K on a beautiful advertisement in a heavy hitter magazine, consider the information you have at hand. You’d be surprised how many people I know that have done this with sky-high goals, to be proud of their glossy ad but little return for the investment. And I’m not going to knock print ads in beautiful magazines, they have their place (even in the world of digital everything), but that’s not where you’ll reap immediate impact. You may know that one of my clients in recent years was an up and coming local wedding venue. At my recommendation, we did spring for a big beautiful add in a well-known glossy magazine. I knew from the get-go we would not directly sell the venue to potential brides by doing it. We did it because part of our target market was high-end planners and designers in the state of California, who advise their clients looking to have a destination wedding weekend. How did I know that? I had data, from the magazine, that showed their analytics. Side note: any print or digital channel worth investing in, should be able to provide this information to you. We did it for exposure, knowing that when said magazine comes out, planners and designers flip through the pages and ponder them. Coupled with some additional targeted tools to reinforce the consistent messaging, it worked. We gained brand awareness, we made appointments with planners and their clients, we booked weddings. Did any bride call or email to view the property saying that she saw our big beautiful ad? One or two, but there were no waves of brides coming our way specifically because of the ad. It might be a good place for me to remind you that marketing research and science shows that your name brand needs to be presented to a potential buyer 7-8 times before they take ANY action. Before they go to your website before they pick up the phone or write an email. This begs the question – HOW are your potential buyers hearing about you, WHERE are they seeing you and learning about you? Successful marketing is a perfect storm, multi-layered efforts, not only one or two gusts of wind.
OK, so on that premise, I’m going to tell you that information is your best friend. For most of us, our website is our brick and mortar interface with customers. Your website is also a wealth of critical information that can be used to make important marketing decisions. How often do you read your analytics? Do you know how many site visits you have each month? Do you know how visitors got to your site? Do you know what words they searched for in Google to find you? When you gain a new client do you ask them how they found you and keep track of the data provided? I will wholeheartedly tell you that if you don’t have this information, you’re spinning. Spinning means you’re putting in the effort and most likely not getting results. Sure, you’re busy working hard. I would challenge you to work smarter, not harder. Put the information to work for you. Maximize your efforts without working harder. How does that translate?
First, be honest with yourself. Sure, you’re a part of a fun networking group that you lay out funds for every year, but how is that actually contributing to your bottom line? Don’t get me wrong, networking, having fun and making friends in the industry is actually invaluable, but if that’s your marketing plan, you’re going to be disappointed in the results. So be honest. Is that website you’re paying to be listed on bringing you qualified inquiries that you can convert into sales? Could those funds be funnelled more effectively to a pay-per-click campaign engaging keywords that people already are using to find your website? Hey, I’m just asking the question – it’s your money.
Second, before spending hard-earned dollars, answer these questions: 1) What is my desired outcome from this expenditure (purpose), 2) What effort am I willing to make to maximize the impact, 3) Does this expense get me closer to my desired overall goal or am I experiencing a case of FOMO and 4) Does this channel align with my market.
Here’s a biggie for me. If I know that my target market is 70-80% out of town brides, why would I spend money advertising and marketing locally? How do I know this information? I (YOU) keep track of my existing customers, I know where they’re from, their attributes. I invest my resources in taking advantage of the channels where they are engaged and looking for me. I only encourage you to learn what factually works for you by getting acquainted with the information readily available to you. When I was first out of college, I worked for a community revitalization non-profit as the Marketing Director. Our overall goal was to get people to come to our historic Downtown to shop, eat, do business and see first-hand the revitalization projects underway. I was the board of directors liaison to several committees and we would often use the phrase “shoot while the geese are flying” as we planned out our promotional calendar. Meaning, you don’t go goose hunting WHEN there are no geese, or WHERE there are no geese. It is much easier to take advantage of situations, or markets, where there is already availability – it takes less effort and considerably fewer resources. For our particular efforts, there was a definite lag in shoppers coming Downtown in February and March, but we already had great inherent traction during the summer months and holiday months. You know – the first quarter blues. Rather than planning promotions and activities in all the months of the year, we concentrated our resources to focus on summer months and holidays when we knew we had an audience, with the goal to grow our organic audience during those times. In all honesty, there was spill over – getting people to enjoy their downtown exposed them to how fun it was to be downtown in general and they wanted to be there more – including in the “off” months.
The wedding industry is not a great mystery. There is a season of planning, there is a season of research and kicking tires, there is a season of producing. There is also information available to you that can be coordinated to maximize your efforts on the limited resources that you have. So, if you came here looking for a clear road map of where you should be paying to promote your business – I can’t give that to you, and I apologize for your disappointment. But what I can do, is challenge you to ask yourself the questions that will create the road map for yourself. I can lead you in the direction of the questions you should be asking yourself. Take the time to go through your unique information, be honest and make a small plan. A marketing plan that gets the seeds germinating for bigger things. Seeing your brand gain traction and your sales increase by a growing margin is exhilarating! It’s a process – and I’ll speak more to the process next month. Once you see small results from your efforts, you’ll become motivated to dive further in, get more technical and hone your efforts. Your business and bottom line WILL grow.
On a personal note, I just want to say thanks for reading Corinne’s corner. Those of you that reach out and tell me that you read these words encourage and inspire me – I’m appreciative. You may know I’m a bit of a geek about things I’m passionate about – Marketing is something I’m passionate about. If you have questions or have feedback, I’d be honored to hear from you! Please email me – I’d love to share a Q & A in one of these posts sometime.
Be well, be inspired and be prosperous!