Marketing is the action of promoting and selling products or services. As simple as this may sound, it takes a lot of research, analysis and planning to get it right. In order to get the most out of your marketing you must develop a cohesive marketing plan using both traditional and non-traditional media. Selecting the right media is essential; the correct communication channels can mean reaching your target market or at the opposite end, wasting a great deal of money.
The key to developing a solid marketing plan to is to first do the research necessary to learn all about your customers. Ask questions like, what is important to them, what they want and need, where they hang out, what they like to do, how they like to communicate and/or receive communication. Once you determine your target audience, you can select the appropriate medium to deliver the message. This is imperative especially when marketing budgets are tight because more focused marketing can bring you a better return on your investment.
After looking at your target market, consider the buying cycle and where your consumers are in the cycle. Different media appeals to people who are in different stages. A simple way to look at the buying cycle is to break it into three stages:
- Awareness – when a customer first becomes aware of your product or when a customer first becomes aware of a need that they want to fulfill. Use radio, T.V., print advertising, banner ads, and editorials. When using these mediums provide information for further contact including your website.
- Consideration – when a customer starts evaluating solutions to their need. Use websites, informative sales pieces, press releases, social media, and videos. This is helpful for people who are in the information-gathering stage of the buying process. Make sure your website and sales material contain the information consumers need to make a buying decision.
- Purchase. Use e-commerce websites, coupons, special deals and events. These help aid in final decision-making.
While many media outlets provide services at low cost, putting your brand in the hands of so many different people is not recommended. A huge part of your marketing plan is developing your brand identity and applying it consistently across all of your marketing efforts. Your brand identity is your brand’s personality; it should help get you noticed. It is well worth the investment to work with an agency or a designer to bring consistency in messaging and visuals across all media platforms. Consistent marketing gets everything working together thus your social media, website, ads and materials reinforce and amplify one another. The sum is greater than the parts. Only then will consumers experience a unified, consistent, and powerful sense of your brand far beyond the actual dollars you spend.
Bottom line, marketing is a long term investment. You will not create a recognizable brand, a stable, growing business or a company that has obvious value to a potential buyer without it. Having a marketing plan and using the right media will not only help increase sales, it will lead to the creation of a more valuable asset – a RECOGNIZED BRAND.