Okay … admittedly, this was my first attempt at a clickbait title. In my defense, however, that title contains the message that I’m most passionate about in today’s marketing world.
Stop thinking about marketing in terms of traditional media versus digital media.
Many small and medium-sized businesses allocate a percentage of their marketing efforts towards their digital and “traditional” spends. This has been a recommendation across industries from a variety of marketing companies and thousands of vendors — and it makes no sense.
Intent Marketing and Stimulus Marketing
You may be asking, “Why is traditional versus digital an irrational debate?”
It is because most people who engage in this debate do not consider the actual intent of traditional and digital marketing. In reality, there are two types of people that marketing targets: those currently looking to buy, and those who need to be influenced toward buying. That basic thought is how we have built our high-level marketing philosophy; it’s created around intent marketing and stimulus marketing, using the most cost-effective channels to create results around your intended purposes.
Reunion Marketing doesn’t offer traditional media services, but we do heavily focus on these two purposes. We create dominant visibility with in-market buyers and create strong influence among audiences who need to be stimulated toward the intent funnel (shown below).
We aren’t a traditional media company.
We aren’t a digital marketing company.
We are a marketing company that understands the why behind marketing channels and how each are most effectively used.
Your marketing plan should start with the sale and what your goals are in terms of ROI. What kind of return are you looking for with your marketing spend? Marketing cost per sale (or marketing objectives) is a great thing to benchmark to ensure that your investment creates results for you and continue to work toward sales growth and/or efficiencies with your dollars being spent.
From there, move up the Intent funnel (shown above) and create a dominant environment within that funnel. If money is spent on stimulating market demand and interest, but you are not fully capitalizing on the people who are in-market and ready to buy, then that is money not spent as wisely or effectively as what would create your best results.
Build a Budget Intent First, then Create Stimulus
- Start with your website — More people go to your website than are sold from it. Focus on conversion, user experience, and influencing people there to increase your sales to sessions ratios.
How many more sales would a 1% increase in conversion mean? Or how about 2%? Or even 5%? Make it easy for people to buy from you. Create an experience that matches what their expectations are for your products and services. What do they want to see? How easy are you making it for them to engage with you?
- Drive in-market buyers to your site — People use search engines daily. They type things like “I want to buy…” looking for what your store has to sell. How many of those people are basically raising their hands and ready to buy right now? And how many are you driving directly to your website?
Combining Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing (paid search) goes after the same audience here, driving them to a place where there is only one influential voice … yours. The data is available for you to see what people are searching for, to create landing pages and content that best matches those things, and to measure success through Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
- Leverage Third Party Sites — Third-party sites — like AutoTrader or Travelocity — are widely known as places where people can go to find a number of prices from competing companies for products or services they are looking to buy. You don’t have exclusive influence on these sites, but they are a great spot to have your products or services accessible by in-market audiences, and these shoppers are typically ready to buy.
Be wary of some third-party sites out there that charge a disproportionately high monthly charge that will sometimes not make as much sense as the amount of people you can stimulate into the intent funnel or capture through other intent channels. There are many bells and whistles as add-on products that are often far less efficient in creating results than other avenues here.
- Stimulate interest around audiences using social channels — In yesteryears when there were only traditional marketing media like television and radio, the content itself tried to effectively find the best available audience to market toward. This changed with the level of behavioral data available through many current online channels.
Specific demographics, interests, transactional data, geographies, and other behaviors allow us to more easily identify potential buyers to create awareness and stimulate interest toward the intent funnel.
Facebook and other social media marketing is the most underused marketing channel. Because of that, it is, by far, the most cost-effective stimulus opportunity for marketers today. The CPM (cost-per-thousand people who see the ad) is often much lower than broadcast or other more traditional channels. Because of the targeting, many of the people those other media types deliver messaging toward that will never be potentially influenced can be avoided much more effectively.
- Leverage other programmatic channels to best target your most likely audiences — Things like video pre-roll, Pandora, Hulu, and other channels that have large subscriber bases allow you to market to people who might be in-market or can be filtered through many of the aforementioned demographics and behavioral aspects discussed with social media above.
One recent example I shared with a client was where 90% of his business was happening within one county, but he was buying broadcast that reached people in seven surrounding counties.
How much of that budget or the coast that goes into accomplishing that reach might have been saved with a more targeted approach toward the most highly motivated prospects?
In 2017, when we stimulate interest, we should focus on our audiences, not the content that attracts the audiences.
- If you are trying to blanket a large market, use traditional media — I am certainly not trying to attack traditional media. I do believe there’s a solid place for it within the funnels. When you look back at them, though, you do see that they are as far removed from the SALE and as close to EVERYONE in a market as a media type.
If one of your goals is to blanket a market with an everyday product that can be used by the majority of the market, this can sometimes be a cost-effective complement to the rest of your budget. The caution I have is to be wary that you are working to stimulate broad market interest and are not capitalizing on the hand-raisers who are ready to buy right now.
Also, remember how important frequency is in this equation. It costs quite a bit of money to achieve a frequency of message that will truly stimulate interest in a market. The average person, according to a 2014 Media Dynamics study, sees approximately 10,000 ads per month and takes note of nearly 4,500 of them. I have seen many traditional media spends where a small business spends tens of thousands of dollars to achieve frequencies of 3.0, 6.0, and 10.0. I highly question the influence you can create if someone sees your ad ten times per month out of the other 9,990 they are also seeing.
So, the next time someone asks you how much of your budget is allocated toward traditional media, as well as how much goes toward digital media, help spread the word that breaking it in this manner does not make sense in today’s world.
How much of the Intent funnel are you dominating and how effectively are you stimulating interest and market demand through the Stimulus funnel?
This is why Reunion Marketing is no longer a digital agency. This is why we never were a traditional marketing company. This is why we are a Marketing Company — dominating intent among those ready to buy and stimulating awareness and influence to create market demand.