As the saying goes, “what’s old is new again”. Constant innovation in marketing is to be expected. After all, how else can businesses “stay ahead of the curve” and not look “ho-hum” or “me too”? But innovation as it applies to Marketing does not have to mean that everything we know today will be useless tomorrow. In fact, the famous McGraw Hill “Man in the Chair” ad from 1958 is just as relevant a concept today is it was almost 60 years ago although the media used to deliver the message may have changed , as this short video from the Business Marketing Association illustrates. Two ways to deliver marketing messages, Direct Mail and Email Marketing, are making a comeback and may be worth another look for marketing your business.
A few years back, Direct Mail seemed to be dropping off as postage rates went up and the internet became increasingly dominant as the “go to” source of information. Now don’t get me wrong, the internet is still a huge player, and having a “Total Online Presence” for your business is an absolute must. But, the internet is not the only channel that savvy business owners use to market their businesses. Getting someone’s attention using an eye-catching direct mail piece should not be counted out. The US Postal Service has a product offering called “Every Door Direct Mail”, which allows businesses to target specific postal delivery routes at a very attractive rate (at the time this was written, 16 cents per door). This rate undercuts the rates charged by many door flier delivery services, and this affordability, coupled with the widespread availability of high-quality postcard printing at reasonable cost, is creating a lot of renewed interest in Direct Mail.
To be even more effective, rather than “sell” your prospective client, a direct mail piece should direct them to take action in order to learn more. This call to action could be a “mail back for more info” card, a phone number to call for info, or a suggestion to visit your website. The benefit of this two-step approach is that it not only gives you a greater opportunity to build “know, like, and trust” in order to move your prospect toward an eventual sale, but it also allows you to gather contact information in order to implement a “drip marketing” campaign. That brings me to the second “old is new again” topic, Email Marketing.
When Social Media began its meteoric rise, there were those who felt that the era of marketing via email was coming to an end. After all, who was going to bother with email when they could “connect” on Social Media? While leveraging Social Media in marketing definitely has its place, it is not the wholesale replacement for Email Marketing that many thought it might have become. For one thing, many people use “Social” for strictly that and ignore ads placed there. Furthermore, as the Social Media sites take measures to deal with the flood of traffic that their popularity has created, your posts are likely not being seen by all of your friends. So the possibility of something “going viral” — even if only among your friends and their friends — is decreased. Re-enter Email Marketing,
To be effective, Email Marketing must be done right. This means using good looking emails with the “right” content. It also means having them delivered via a reputable service that does not have capacity issues, that is “whitelisted” by Internet Service Providers in order to maximize deliverability, and that contains the features to keep you in compliance with Federal “CAN-SPAM” laws. When it is done right, Email marketing can help publicize special offers, or promote goodwill by getting the word out about your community involvement. It also has much to offer that is useful for implementing two-step marketing campaigns. Giving away a free report or some other value-added piece of content in exchange for contact information that allows regular “touches” via Email can pay large dividends. Email Marketing increases your “know, like, and trust” with your customers and prospects by educating them about you and your business and by keeping you top-of-mind so that when they are ready to buy they call you.
So the next time you want to “change up” your marketing to stay in front of your competition, consider another look at Direct Mail and Email Marketing. They might just break you out of the “same old, same old” and propel you into new growth.
The big news in the superhero world is that Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, has quit his job at the Daily Planet newspaper. According to DC Entertainment, “the resignation reflects present-day issues – the balance of journalism vs. entertainment, the role of new media, the rise of the citizen journalist, etc.” Another quote from one of Clark Kent’s journalist peers: “Times are changing, and print is a dying medium.” Lastly, it looks like Clark Kent’s new career direction will be blogging. Pair the shift in Clark Kent’s career trajectory with the “real world” news that after 79 years in print, Newsweek will no longer be available in that medium. As of 2013, Newsweek will become a digital-only publication called Newsweek Global. Expectations for 2012 are that total spending for on-line advertising will surpass total spending for print for the first time.
So what conclusions can be drawn from this for the world of marketing a small business? The most natural is that print media is dead, so stop spending money there. But this would be incorrect. In some situations, advertising in print is a still a viable tactic to support the overall marketing effort. The key is in understanding and defining that “some”. Another conclusion might be to go “all-in” on websites, SEO, pay-per-click,Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc. While a substantial shift to digital is more likely to be the recommended tactic in today’s marketing world, “all-in” may be a bit strong. So how is the small business owner to know what to do?
While some shifts in tactics are almost certainly required of most small businesses, knee-jerk reactions to keep up with a trend are not the answer. The true answer is found by placing the primary focus on developing (or modifying) an overall marketing strategy. By focusing first on the message and defining the target market, the specific tactics to support that strategy will become clearer. Once the strategy is nailed down, budgeting for and implementing specific tactics become more manageable.
How has your marketing strategy changed in response to the times? What are your primary tactics in the current era?
Read more about Clark Kent’s career change: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/great-scott-clark-kent-quits-daily-planet-article-1.1189611#ixzz2A9EUww7E
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