Archive | July, 2013

VIA Idea #29: Strategic outbound marketing has a place in your marketing plan

8 Jul

Frequent Reach billboard image

It seems that lately we’ve been advising a lot of our clients to add more inbound (pull) marketing to their marketing budget. This fact triggered a discussion among our staff about the shift in marketing strategies. What percentages should a business spend for each inbound and outbound tactic?

Although it’s less dominant than in years past, traditional (also referred to as outbound or push) advertising remains a strong component for a lot of industries. It isn’t going away anytime soon. Think about Super Bowl ads and, on a more local level, all those fireworks store billboards along the expressway. But you don’t own a major brewery and your name isn’t Kaplan Fireworks. So does outbound advertising still work for your business? The answer in many cases is still “Yes.”

Ideally, your marketing budget and strategies should in part be based in relation to what percentage others in your industry are spending. If you’re the only car dealer for miles around, you likely don’t need to do much advertising. But if you’ve got a half-dozen competitors up and down the street, you’re going to need to work hard to keep and grow your customer base. The same is true for professional services: the more competition, the more you need to spend on advertising and marketing.

Whenever you talk about push marketing, you also want to consider reach and frequency. Reach refers to the number or percentage of different homes or people exposed at least once to an advertising message over a specific period of time. Frequency is the number of times that a household or person is exposed to the same message during the same period of time. Reach without Frequency is ineffective. For example, it’s better to place a smaller ad in a publication several times than a large ad just once or mail a postcard to 500 homes four times than to mail 2,000 postcards once.

The shopping habits of your customers are more factors to consider. Are they reading the local newspaper, clipping coupons and looking for services in the phone book…or do they seldom or never use these media, instead opting to find recommendations on their Facebook feeds or via Google reviews?

Before making marketing decisions, it’s wise to think through your goals and define your audiences:

  • Who are we trying to reach?
  • Why do they need our products or services?
  • Are we trying to build brand recognition or change customer behavior?
  • Are we trying to accomplish a sale or engaging future buyers?
  • What message, information or offer would entice them to act?
  • Can we offer a special or coupon?
  • How will we measure response from each tactic?

After answering these questions, you should have a clearer picture of how to move forward. If you want more advice, we’ve got access to market reports and can share other information and insights that will help you make informed advertising and marketing decisions.