Wading through the numerous marketing channels available today to reach your target customer can feel overwhelming. From traditional channels like print advertising, billboards, and direct mail to social media, email, and paid search marketing (and this is a mere mention of the countless tactics to consider), selecting the right mix can be a complex decision. And there is certainly no one-size-fits-all answer.
The combination of channels you select will be influenced by a number of factors, but here are three that should be at the top of your list:
#1: Where Your Customers Spend Their Time
A successful marketing plan requires that you understand your customer: who they are, what they like, and what motivates them to make a buying decision. You also must identify where they spend their time or receive their information.
Developing personas is a proven way to nail down all of the particulars about your ideal customer. Ask yourself questions like:
- How old are they?
- Do they like to spend time outdoors or are they more of a stay-at-home bunch?
- Are they tech-savvy or do they prefer holding a newspaper?
Understanding this behavior will help you make better decisions about where you can reach this person. It may be through Facebook or SnapChat, or you may find that a direct mail piece is a better option. Ultimately, you are trying to identify where you will most effectively reach your ideal customer.
#2: The Marketing Channels Your Competitors Are Using
Understanding what your competitors are up to is smart for a variety of reasons (Think: staying ahead of the industry, gaining a competitive edge, identifying emerging threats). And identifying the marketing channels they use can help you narrow down which ones you may want to consider.
After all, if your competitors are spending marketing dollars on Facebook or through print ads in Architectural Digest, chances are they have identified these as effective ways to reach the right customer—and it’s likely they’ve been successful.
Having insights as to what your competitors are doing doesn’t make your decision for you, but it can give you inspiration and focus to help you make your marketing channel selections.
Bonus Points: By leveraging the same channels as your competitors, you may have the opportunity to showcase your better/stronger/faster product or service right alongside your competition.
#3: Your Ability to Measure Marketing Channel Success
Let’s face it: As marketers, we are always watching, evaluating, optimizing our efforts. To continually improve, it is vital that we know what channels work and which ones may not be performing.
Establishing goals—and understanding how you will measure those goals—must happen before launching any marketing campaign. Digital channels are certainly easier to measure than most traditional methods; however, if a channel is worth investing in, then it is worth defining specific, actionable goals for that channel.
Marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it investment, so make sure you have some way to measure the effectiveness of each channel to ensure your investments are providing the optimal level of return for your business.
Bottom Line: These are simply a few thought-starters to help in your channel selections. Keep in mind that markets change regularly, so measure against your goals and be prepared to shift and test new channels when needed. Get creative and find the places and spaces that work best to reach your customers and drive them to action.