Whilst doing my MBA, I was somewhat surprised to learn how little focus is being placed upon the major marketing changes coming via the internet these days. There is still a great deal of emphasis on traditional methods of marketing, simply because these methods are tried and proven whereas the Social Media aspect is certainly discussed and embraced but very little methodology on how to best maximize it’s usage is taught. Plus one MAJOR thing that seems to be missing, is how to tie it all in together with Loyalty Programs effectively.
Traditional versus Social
What works better, Traditional advertising mediums or Social Media and Internet Solutions?
By “Traditional” I am referring to the types of Marketing we grew up with and know as proven performers, such as:
- Television and Radio Advertising
- Print Advertising such as Newspapers and Magazines
- Cold Calling by Phone and Door to Door
- Mail-outs like Flyers and Catalogues
- Street Signage like Billboards, Banners and on the Back of Buses
- In Store Loyalty Programs linked to Rewards and Events like Closed Door VIP Nights
- Networking Events including Trade Shows and Chamber of Commerce
I’m sure some of you ‘cringed’ at Cold Calling being on the list but let’s face it, they wouldn’t keep doing it if we didn’t keep falling for it!
As for “Social”, I am actually referring to internet trends, not just social media, things like:
- Interacting with Friends and Followers via Facebook and Google Plus
- Networking and announcements via Twitter and LinkedIn
- Showcasing anything on video via YouTube
- Providing ever changing content and event activity via Blogging
- QR Codes linked to Mobile Friendly Websites and Instant Mailing List Signups
- Targeted Marketing via Adwords, Facebook Advertising and Email Mailing Lists
- Professional Newsletters and Offers to email and RSS Feeds
- Search Engine Optimization to get your Website higher on the list
Yes, there are things not listed on each of the above, but I am generalizing at this point, so forgive me if I didn’t mention your favourite Promotion Method.
So what works and what doesn’t? Is Traditional Media Dying?
The truth is that Traditional Media is far from dead and is still as effective at reaching an audience as it ever was, however… and here’s the big thing to note, even though its reach is still strong, its ability to convert viewers into shoppers is indeed diminishing and the reason for this is also the solution!
The Internet has already proven itself as a great source of information and access to cheap online purchasing. The problem is that it is also a great place to get ripped off! What you see online may not be what you actually get and you would think that the buyers out there would figure this out and start moving back to shopping only in physical stores but this is not going to happen any day soon, unless that local store ALSO has an online presence. Sorry if that is hard to take but the reason why it won’t happen is simple… the smart mobile phone revolution! As Human Beings we have a built in need to find ways to make life easier for ourselves and will always lean towards the easier option, should one present itself. Smart phones are indeed presenting more and more ways to make our lives easier and thus users of smart phones are basically ‘addicted’ to them; they just can’t help but to turn to the thing in their hand, rather than go all the way to a shop!
Meanwhile Identity Theft, SPAM, Hackers, Viruses and Online rip-offs etc are having a field day and causing distrust as a result. So on the one side, smart phone convenience shopping is fast educating users to no longer have Loyalty to their local businesses, whilst on the other side they are also becoming more and more wary of dealing with pretty much anyone. But rather than give up this easy shopping method, shoppers are ‘arming themselves’ with the knowledge aspect, also available at their fingertips, and just becoming more astute as to which store gets their money, whether overseas or locally.
So here’s the thing, if you don’t have an online presence and a strong plan to CONVERT people on your web site, then you are allowing your competition a significant advantage as more and more consumers turn to their phones to pre-pick the store that has the best deal before they buy online or even leave their house.
So what’s the Answer, do I drop Traditional Media and turn to the Internet or not?
Advertising on the Internet may appear to be extremely cheap and thus very attractive as an alternative to expensive traditional media streams but the truth is internet marketing will cost you just as much!
“But Social Media is FREE isn’t it?” I hear you say and “no it isn’t” is the answer… why? Because it is only free for as long as you don’t do anything with it! The moment you use it to promote your business you are up for pay as you click advertising and here’s the killer, the cost of having someone to properly run it all. Wages are not cheap these days and chances are you never budgeted to start our own Marketing division in your business, yet here you are paying someone to constantly update and drive Social Media campaigns! Work out how many hours that person is dedicating to doing this, even if it is yourself, then times that by how much their time is worth… now add on any pay per click fees, (on average $300 per month), and that’s how much your Social Media is costing you. We haven’t even discussed website costs and yes, you really should have one… we talk more about websites next time.
This is where I get the comments like, “we only need to dedicate an hour per day to Social Media, so it is still not costing us much”, or words to that effect, but if you ARE only dedicating the odd hour or two then the chances are you are also not really experiencing much growth from it either! How are you tracking your growth by the way, are you simply looking at last year’s figures and saying, “well, we are up 10%, so it must be working”, or do you actually analyze what component of your business is coming from traditional media drivers-to-store versus internet drivers and instant closers?
In answer to the last header question, as to whether to drop traditional media in favour of the internet, the answer is “No, simply do both!” Integrating Traditional and Social will work if used in the right way, however, the trick is to identify which type of Marketing Tool will have the biggest amount of impact for your particular needs, your demographic location, at the right time and according to your available funds. That includes your long term promotions, namely Branding and Loyalty.
Put simply, don’t stop using traditional media, just reduce how much money you allocate to it and then allocate those funds towards Internet Advertising instead. Take note however, if you are not using Social Media you are missing out on the biggest marketing tool since the invention of television! Make no mistake, your competition is using it and experiencing growth as a result… are YOU using it? By the way, remember what I said, if you ARE using it and not seeing growth, then you are doing it wrong and we can show you how to do it right through one of our Magnetized Marketing Seminars.
“If you are not using Social Media you are missing out on the biggest marketing tool since the invention of television!” – Mr Retail
Now, before you do ANY type of advertising, because your funds now need to be split across both Traditional and Internet, it is more important than ever to analyze which traditional mediums are currently working for you and which other Social ones are most likely to do a much better job for the same cost. In other words every business’s marketing plan needs to be tailored specifically to tie into their overall strategic business plan that now includes an online presence, and if you don’t have such a plan, before you go any further, you need to get one. Once you have a Business Plan that maps out where you want to be in the Marketplace, e.g. in a niche market or just the best there is in a specific arena, you can discuss what process needs to occur to get there.
Here are some examples of what I mean by that:
- What’s the best location for the business we want to become, e.g. destination main street store, high traffic shopping centre, online or both?
- What Point of Difference do we offer for the type of Product/Service we wish to promote?
- What type of Clientele are we trying to attract and thus what types of Media Mediums would they most likely use the most?
- Is there a strong presence of the Clientele you wish to attract, in your Demographic? If you are not sure check the latest Census report.
- How much does it cost for each of these mediums, what level of ‘penetration’ and at what times of year are they most likely to be effective?
- How well does your budget correlate and how far in advance should you be planning each activity?
- How are you going to manage the back end of your activity, in particular measuring the effectiveness of each medium?
Sure there is more than just the above, staffing levels and training for example, but you get the idea. Mind you, if you need help with doing all of this, contact us.
Once this has all been ‘laid out’, you can then start to put your chosen mediums together and generate your very own Marketing Plan.
Keep following our Blog over the next few months to learn more about putting the Marketing Puzzle together.
Watch for Part Two Next Month: QR Codes and Mobile Websites.
Learn what QR Codes are and how to use them effectively. We discuss why you need a website and how to get it to actually work for you. We compare Mobile websites with ‘normal’ websites. Plus, we cover which Social Networks work best for Business.
Contact Us for more info.