Our year starts with an explosion of new and expanding online marketing channels that will dramatically impact how our products and services are promoted, perceived, sold and supported. The vast number and diversity of these available online tools present significant opportunities, as well as significant challenges, to businesses operating in this new decade of media fragmentation.
As sales and marketing managers, it is increasingly difficult for us to know where to invest our limited time and budgets to produce the greatest return. Should I build a larger presence on Facebook or update my current website? How can I better integrate my traditional advertising campaigns with my growing online media activity? Should I spend more to improve my search ranking on Google or produce a YouTube video to attract new customers? When facing today’s fast-spinning marketing channel “roulette wheel,” where do we place our chips? Think “Multi-Channel Management.”
Select the channels that best support your marketing goals… Not all media channels do all things equally well. Consider the strengths and characteristics of each marketing option before investing precious resources. For example, social media coupon distribution channels, such as Groupon.com or LivingSocial.com, are great for generating quick sales of (heavily) discounted products and services from new customers, but they offer relatively little product information or overall brand reinforcement opportunities. Further, overuse of online couponing can cheapen brand perception and inadvertently lower “price point” expectations of established customers.
Don’t necessarily follow the crowd… Emphasize media channels that will best reach your target audience and convey the full value of your product. For instance, while Facebook certainly offers a large audience, consider if your energies might produce more targeted results using smaller channels, like LinkedIn or MerchantCircle. Or, perhaps a Web video demonstration may present a more compelling argument than a text-based blog or tweets.
Rely on your website as the focal point of your online marketing strategy… Position your website as the strategic heart of all your ongoing online marketing activities. Nowhere else can you fully manage and control how your business’ products and services are represented, sold and serviced. Think of your website as the unifying hub of your evolving marketing plan, with each additional new media channel serving as an individual spoke that strengthens the wheel and leads customers to the official online “persona” of your business.
Measure, evaluate, adjust, and measure again… One thing is certain. Online marketing choices will continue to evolve and new media channels will be introduced at an increasing rate. Smart choices arise from diligent observation and careful monitoring. Track the performance of your current initiatives. Evaluate and adjust your tactics frequently. Then, repeat.
Content provided by CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company providing a full array of services to businesses and organizations to enhance and produce effective Web, e-mail, multimedia marketing initiatives and business process improvements. For more information, contact Kip Cozart at 704-543-1171 or visit www.cccommunications.com/resources_articles.cfm.