What Is The Best Marketing Channel?
Apr 04, 2016
What are the best promotional tools, media and channels for marketing our products and services?
The answer to this question ultimately depends on how your buyers and buyer influencers consume information. And that depends on who your target customer is, because not all consumers get their information for making purchasing decisions from the same media or channels. In fact, people use different media and channels to get information about different products and services.
Do you know who your customers are and how they get their information? What about your best prospects? Or, are you just following the media hype and channel herd? Everyone is hyped up on social. In product development parlance, social media marketing is pre-peak, still developing. It’s still relatively new, it’s still sexy and anything having to do with technology gets major press and attention. It’s being said that social is the future, the right way to reach customers, no matter what the business, no matter what the product and no matter who the customer. It may certainly have a role in your promotional marketing strategies, but is it the best method?
You need to know who your target audience is and then once you know that you need to find out how they consume information.
Trying to reach CEOs through social media, unless they are CEOs of tech companies could be a total waste of time because CEOs may not spend their time surfing the web or social media to find out what’s happening in the world or their business or industry sector. If they are your target audience then you need to find how what’s the best way to reach them and then what’s the best way to get their attention.
If you’re uncertain which are the right media or channels, it does help and it can make a difference if you know what your competitors are using to reach your audience and if they are successful at it. But, the key is the consumer and how they get their information. And people consume differently based on whether the consumption is for personal or professional/business use.
The best answer for all businesses is to test different media and channels based on some initial research about their target audiences behaviors and information gathering approaches. There is no standard best way and no standard best media or channel to use for all businesses.
Just because everyone is spending their media budgets on a particular channel or media doesn’t mean that you should, especially when there is a follow the herd mentality.
Sure, if you’re the NFL Channel and you want viewers to sit through your advertisements, then social media is important. It’s part of the entertainment and sports is part of the entertainment business. And, advertising on or providing other content for blogs on cooking makes sense if your customers are heavy consumers of the various chefs on the Cooking Channel who also have their own blogs.
But advertising Caterpillar earth movers on Pinterest makes absolutely no sense as a way to spend your media dollars because these aren’t the people buying the earth movers or influencing their purchase. And the last time I checked construction crews didn’t or don’t spend their time at work surfing the web and social media sites.
So there is no one, or best, or one size fits all answer to the question of what promotional tools, media and channels should I be using to reach my target audience of buyers and influencers.
It’s a process – with several steps:
- Know what product/service you are selling.
- Know who the best buyers / consumers of that product or service are.
- Know how that audience gets their information about the products/services they are buying.
- Know how and what your competitors are using to reach the influencers and buyers of your product.
- If you don’t have prior experience with the media/channel use what your competitors are doing as a starting point to develop your media/channel strategy.
- And, finally test it all to find out what works best for your company and products/services, because what may work for your competitor to your audience may not work for you. For example, you may have budget constraints that a larger more established competitor doesn’t have in the marketplace and you can’t duplicate their channel penetration or produce the content they can.
Bottom line: Once you know your target audience and how they consume information, you can then select the best media and channel. For example, if you’re selling carpet cleaning services in a neighborhood the best way to reach the audience may be using something as simple as a post card with a simple, but strong offer.
Dudley Stevenson, founder and CEO of DWS Associates, has over thirty-five years’ experience in consumer marketing, business-to-business marketing, and direct marketing, including developing, planning, and implementing go-to-market strategies. He's also the author of "Marketing Direct: Breaking Through The Clutter." Working with organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, he and his team have helped clients such as IBM, Sony, Neiman Marcus, Arizona Highways, Marshall Field & Co., Mrs. Field’s, UNICEF, and Patagonia implement successful direct marketing programs. A longtime member of the Direct Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association, Stevenson is also a sought-after speaker. He’s given hundreds of presentations and workshops on marketing and direct marketing. His “Marketing Planning 101” workshop alone has reached more than 100,000 marketing and sales professionals.