Does it matter how you spend your marketing dollar?
That spend should be making you money. If it isn’t….
Understand “marketing channels” and you’re better able to figure this out. A marketing channel is a distinct method of getting your message out.
Examples include postcards, organic Google rankings, and email newsletters. There are dozens more. And new ones are being invented all the time.
Are you using the best channels for your business and budget? And are you using them wisely?
It turns out, this is not hard to analyze. Also, extremely useful. No matter how small your business, if you are spending any money at all on marketing.
It’s a lot better than just randomly spending on what sounds good. And hope it works.
GOOD VS BAD MARKETING CHANNELS
What is a good marketing channel? It depends on your industry, location and many other factors. But three big questions open the door to understanding.
- Where are your potential customers listening (or looking)?
- How noisy is the channel?
- What’s it cost?
These are the three big factors that determine the value – or not – of a channel to you. Look at them also, to see if you can improve the value of a channel you are using. Or should you just abandon it.
Of course, what you put on the channel needs to sensibly and strongly appeal to your prospects. That’s another lesson. But the best message in the world, superbly delivered in the wrong channel, will buy you no beans.
And we all want more beans, right?
As I said, this is not hard to figure out. Let’s look at each of these three factors.
ARE THEY LISTENING?
If you are trying to sell to Trobriand Islanders (look it up), a website is not a useful marketing tool. They don’t have internet.
If you are selling to millennials, don’t bother with the Yellow Pages phone book. Millennials don’t use Yellow Pages (same for anyone under the age of 70, actually).
If you are marketing to business owners, skip TV ads on Daytime Soap Operas. Your business owners are busy working.
Less extreme: A zip code saturation mailing (one that goes to every household). If you are selling to business owners, most of the mailing is a waste of money. Most people don’t own businesses (It still might be cost effective).
If you are selling home improvement services, go where the homeowners are. Renters aren’t buying new HVAC units.
NOISE AND MARKETING CHANNELS
A few weeks ago I talked about noise – all the communication you are fighting against to get your message heard.
Some marketing channels are noisier than others.
A while back, someone invented ads on the floor of grocery stores. Brilliant! This was a completely noise free channel. The ads are literally the only visual stimulation, looking down as you push your grocery cart along. And a LOT of people are looking down.
If you’re at the ball game, the advertising is incredibly noisy. Does anyone in the park or stadium notice any ad? But if you’re watching a baseball game on TV, you very often see a single isolated ad on the screen for some time, behind the catcher for example.
Search advertising is inherently noisy. There may be 30 different companies’ info on the page, including Google Ads, organic listings, local (Google Map) listings and other odds and ends. What appears near the top gets a lion’s share of clicks. It gets overwhelming, they stop scrolling and just click.
TV advertising is usually very noisy (Exception: Superbowl ads). Junk mail is a near ultimate of noisy advertising. When was the last time you actually LOOKED at a piece of junk mail?
The sheer cost of getting your message out has to be judged against its effectiveness. Sometimes a very cheap marketing channel can be remarkably effective.
There is literally no cheaper method of print advertising than door-to-door flyers. Yet I’ve successfully marketed an expensive, exotic medical practice that way.
You can waste money very easily with Google Ads. But if you have an expensive product or service, an intelligently run campaign will be inexpensive AND produce a remarkable return on investment.
We’ve marketed for years an emergency veterinary clinic at a cost of about $8 per call, Awesome ROI.
The other part of the cost equation is budget. TV commercials are expensive. Sure, the guys trying to sell you their packages will hook you with “only $40 per.”
Until you realize $3000 a month gets you about 3 ads per day. That is like the proverbial drop in the bucket. A drop of black ink in a gallon bucket of water will disappear without effect just as thoroughly as 3 TV commercials per day.
That’s $36,000 a year. You might as well have taken a big stack of Benjamins and used them to start your charcoal grill. So you just don’t do TV on a small marketing budget.
I think you can see, it doesn’t matter how small a business you are or how minimal your marketing budget is. If you are doing ANY marketing at all, it is worth spending the time to do this analysis.
It’s not a mathematical formula. You just start looking at your marketing this way. Suddenly light bulbs go off.
It just might make the big difference.