BangIn any new business there are a million and one problems to solve and a million and one potential answers to those problems. Each day you know your business will live or die on the way you tackle these problems and the results that they produce. When it comes to advertising and marketing this is particularly the case. You know you can’t survive without marketing, yet you also know that your budgets may not stretch far enough to justify many of the traditional forms of marketing like radio and TV. The key to success is to spend where you get the biggest bang for your buck – the tricky bit is figuring out how best to get this biggest bang.

The father of modern advertising John Wannmaker, famously once said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted – the problem is I don’t know which half.” This can still hold very true even in today’s highly digital world where returns on investment are far easier to calculate than they once were.  That said though, if you approach the decision in a structured way and challenge the effectiveness of each marketing medium in the correct manner then you will have a great shot at figuring out which marketing money is wasted and which is effective. What we outline below is a three step process for giving your business a shot at that essential ‘biggest bang for your buck’.

 

1. Challenge each marketing medium with the right questions

 How many people will actually have access to each of your potential marketing mediums?

Sure apps are great for some but how many people have smart phones? Creating a Facebook page is free but not everyone uses social networks? You will never get bang for your buck unless a large portion of your target audience has access to a chosen marketing medium.

What will the actual read-rate be through each of your potential marketing mediums?

E-mail marketing can be effective but what percentage of people actually open marketing emails? Twitter is a great free resource but bear in mind that your target market has to be on Twitter when you post your tweets or they won’t be seen. SMS messages on the other hand are read 99% of the time and 97% of these within five seconds. Don’t be fooled by distribution numbers – instead focus on the “read rate” of that distribution.

What is the actual cost-per-view or click for each of your potential marketing mediums?

Cost-Per-Click (CPC) is easily defined through Adwords and Facebook adverts but what about email and printed ads? SMS messages can be sent for as little as 3c and Twitter updates are completely free but how much would you pay for leaflet drops or newspaper ads? Minimising your cost-per-view is essential for maximising bang for your buck.

What percentage of your actual target customers can you reach through each of your potential marketing mediums?

Much less tricky to calculate through digital mediums but offline can be almost impossible. All money spent on marketing messages that are not hitting your target audience is money wasted. A great way to ensure that the audience you are hitting are target customers is to market to your existing customers, as these people have already bought your product or service they are all clearly and obviously target customers.

How quickly can you set up a campaign and deliver it through each of your potential marketing mediums?

For many businesses it is critical to respond to market conditions that change on an almost daily basis. If you cannot conceive of a marketing campaign and then execute on it in a short space of time then this advantage is lost. Offers can be broadcast through SMS and Facebook with virtually zero lead time but the same cannot be said for radio or print ads where design and production can delay for days and weeks. Having the ability to keep marketing campaigns in-house with as small a lead-time as possible is a huge advantage in effective marketing.

 

2. Cut through the Hype

When new forms of marketing come on the scene they are often accompanied by a huge amount of hype from industry insiders as well as the technology and marketing press. Just because Tech Crunch or Mobile Marketer is shouting from the rooftops about a new and exciting marketing medium doesn’t mean its right for you.

Facebook for instance certainly has its advantages in terms of its cost of set-up but what you won’t regularly hear is that only about 18% of your fans will see an update. Daily Deals were all the rage in the last few years but how many returning customers do businesses actually receive after they have sampled your product or service for way below cost value? Don’t always believe the hype and choose marketing mediums that work best for you and not the ones that make you feel like you are keeping up with the latest trends.

 

3. Data is King – Build your own Databases

The one piece of advice that all new businesses should take on board in terms of marketing is that ‘Data is King’. A customer should never be allowed to leave your place of business, be that brick or click, without a concerted effort being made to capture their contact details in one form or another. What people tend to forget is that hugely successful companies like Google, Facebook and Groupon are actually just huge marketing agencies, and the reason that they are so successful is that they possess gargantuan databases of consumers which they charge businesses for the right to access. Sure it’s great to gain access to these valuable databases but wouldn’t it be even better to gather and access your own database for a fraction of the cost. How you choose to remarket to that database is totally up to you, whether by e-mail, SMS, voice or snail mail.

Every business is different and all marketing mediums have their pros and cons. The trick to successful marketing is to carefully choose which medium suits your business best and to also harness the power from the data that you already possess on your existing and past customers.

Conor McAleavey is co-founder of the SMS marketing company Text Republic who have offices in both Tralee and Dublin. They also count many of Ireland’s leading names in retail and business on their client list.

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