After graduating from Texas Tech University in 1994, I had high hopes of becoming the world’s best public relations guru. While I did get pretty good at my job, I’m not sure I accomplished the title of “World’s Best,” but I could certainly hold my own.
Over the years, my career evolved. I quickly learned that my clients needed more that just PR. I learned that marketing is really a multi-faceted, diverse beast that requires strategy—and experience. It’s certainly NOT a one-size-fits-all platform, for sure.
Today, I’m loving life as the CEO of small, yet bustling, advertising agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have watched the marketing industry change almost as much as my evolving career. In this blog, I hope to give you a little insight into what I’ve learned over the last 25 years. Maybe my experience can assist you in deciphering what you should be doing for your business, from a marketing standpoint.
If your business has a healthy marketing budget, diversity is integral, especially if you are among the B2C community. A perfectly executed mix of television, print, radio and digital typically gets in front of your target audience in one way or another. If you have the dollars, be seen. Be everywhere your audience will be. But keep in mind, you’re going to reach people you don’t need to reach. And, not all advertising mediums are created equal. If you have to lean stronger in one direction or another, go heavier on digital. It IS the 21st century after all.
Gone are the days where you can simply place an ad on TV or in a local newspaper and the calls roll in. Your customers are more perceptive in today’s arena. More complex. They are using DVR’s and skipping through commercials. So, in my opinion, placing ads during news segments, or big events, become critical. And, while I’m still a little old-fashioned and like to read a hardcopy of the newspaper, many are turning to online news. It depends on your audience.
So be savvy when placing on traditional mediums, if that’s your marketing strategy of choice. Do your research. Ask for reach and frequency numbers based on your target audience. Any sales rep should be able to assist you with an effective media planning and placement strategy. You’re searching for a buy that yields the best results possible based on your audience. And, do your research on those “value-added” additions they like to throw in. Typically, they don’t add much value to your plan.
If you are like most of us, you don’t have the marketing dollars to be diverse or to go the traditional route. So you must become strategic, and smart with your money.
Over the last 25 years, I have watched digital marketing take on a life of its own. And honestly, it’s changed my business. When a small business client asks, “Where do I spend my small marketing budget?” my answer 99.9% of the time is, “Go Digital!”
Digital marketing has the ability to put your business in front of more eyes. It has the ability to demonstrate your Return On Investment (ROI) like no other. When digital marketing is in play, my clients don’t ask, “What did I get from my advertising spend?” The numbers are in black-and-white. No denying the bang for their buck.
For large and small companies alike, a perfect mix of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, video, and lead generating digital campaigns pack a punch unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Go big or go home. Go Digital!
While we’re on the digital subject, let’s talk video. I can’t think of better way to capture the attention of your target audience. When used on a digital platform—i.e. your website, social media platforms, eBlasts, eNewsletters, etc—video says it best. A professionally-produced video can give your audience a firsthand peek of your products and/or services. It can also provide a third-party endorsement, byway of testimonials, that you just can’t get anywhere else. Search engines love video too. Use them to improve your overall strategy for getting seen, and seen first, on the web. We love using video in our strategy.
Nothing can waste your marketing dollars faster than trying to guess at a strategy. Many business leaders are under the false impression that it’s too expensive to work with an agency or professional. But, keep this in mind: marketing is all marketing professionals do. We plan. We research. We place. We create. It’s what we know because it’s our passion. And, we know the latest trends. So, either spend your marketing budget on a plan you’re not sure about, or use an expert that can guide you in the right direction. Chances are the latter will save you in the end.
What I’ve learned about marketing over the last 25 years is this: there is no one-size-fits-all for every business. But in the end, marketing is marketing. As long as the strategy is good, you will get your message in front of your customers and the end will justify the means. When in doubt, reach out to an expert to guide you. We have knowledge on our side. It would be a shame to waste it!