Branding – Don’t get caught in the hype!

by Laura Lowell on October 7, 2009

hypeSo…you have an exciting strategy; your messages are relevant and consistently integrated throughout your brand and all customer touch points.  Now you need an actionable marketing plan that delivers your message to your customers in ways that will increase the chance that they will pay attention, and ultimately buy whatever it is that you’re selling.

There is a lot of talk about the latest new trend (Twitter, vlogs or who-knows-what’s-next) and the coolest new technology.  However, these things are only useful if they are being used by your target customers.  This point bears repeating…these things are only useful if they are being used by your target customers.  This is the kind of thing that sounds so simple – it is common sense.  Unfortunately, it isn’t commonly practiced.

It is critical to the success of your brand that you identify customer-preferred communication vehicles and prioritize those above things that are “really hot” at the moment.  While they may be the latest fad, they might not generate the results you want.

Different marketing tools are good at doing different things – think screwdrivers and hammers.  This is, again, why it is so important to know what your goals and objectives are so that you can select the right tools for the job.  The right balance between online and offline marketing vehicles ensures that you are reaching your target customers in a variety of ways which will improve your overall results – whether they are to increase awareness or to generate demand.

For example, if you are a start-up just launching your company, you need to generate awareness that you exist. PR is a very cost-effective tool to do this.  You also need a website to explain what the company does.  To get the ball rolling you might launch an email and/or direct mail campaign with an introductory offer so that customers connect their business problem with your company.  If you are a small company trying to generate demand, a combination of webinars and SEO with speaking engagements and telemarketing could prove to be very effective at generating quality leads.  It is important to focus on the quality of the lead rather than the volume generated as the conversion rates tend to be much higher.

It is easy to get excited about the latest technology and cool marketing techniques.  Be careful, and remember that the end result is to achieve the business objectives – which is typically to sell more of your stuff.  This means you don’t need to do everything, but you need to strategically select a few key vehicles and do them exceptionally well.

Online and Offline Tactics for Lead Generation:  Ranked as % Very Effective at generating Quality Leads

Online Tactics for Lead Generation

%

Offline  Tactics for Lead Generation

%

Webinars

45

Speaking engagements at trade events

49

Searh engine optimization

44

Telemarketing for lead qualification

46

Paid search ads

34

In-person seminars/roadshows

44

Solo emails to house list

29

PR

35

White paper syndication service

28

Telemarketing for lead generation (cold       calling)

28

Online ads (industry specific)

20

Winning/publicizing awards

24

Offers in your email newsletter

18

Trade shows booths/marketing

24

Offers in 3rd party newsletters

13

Print newsletters

18

Online Ads (general business sites)

12

Direct (postal) mail

16

Solo emails to 3rd party lists

9

Print ads (industry specific)

11

TV and/or radio ads

8

Print ads (general business)

5

Source:  Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide 2006, MarketingSherpa, 2006

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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