Traditionally, marketing managers and their advertising agencies spent hours and hours defining their target markets in minute detail.
Millions have been spent on research to identify exactly who to talk to, what to say and how to say it – and this still makes good marketing sense.
But marketing is no longer the preserve of the big brands and multi-national corporations, with seemingly unlimited resources and expertise. The business landscape has shifted dramatically, and small and mid-sized businesses are enthusiastically embracing marketing. The Internet has facilitated a whole new approach. It’s opened up a whole range of communication channels, and marketing has become a whole lot more egalitarian.
Even without a budget for traditional advertising, there are still several options available. From consumer products to professional services to B2B, social media and email marketing are accessible to almost everyone, no matter the scale of your business or the sector in which you compete.
But easy access to channels of communication hasn’t changed the rules of the game. You might not have the resource for expensive market research, but you still need to be clear about your brand strategy, your brand positioning and your target market. Because if you don’t know who is most likely to give you a return on your investment, how can you focus your resource on them?
It seems to me, however, that this is often forgotten and a disproportionate emphasis is given to quantity rather than quality of audience. If that sounds harsh, just consider the number of companies offering to sell you links to your website, or thousands of Twitter followers – without any indication of who they might be, and whether your product or service is of any use to them.
Consider your morning email routine: you probably start your day deleting a slew of mails that just don’t matter to you. I’m not saying that email marketing doesn’t work – far from it, I think it has huge value – but only if it reaches the right target market.
Last week I received one email offering to help me with debt counseling and insolvency and another telling me all about their fabulous rehab facilities for addiction and alcoholism – leading to the inevitable jibes from my family that perhaps they know something I’m not prepared to admit!
The bottom line is that the debt counsellor and rehab facility are paying for this. Whether they paid an agency or bought a mailing list, they’re investing time and money and getting no ROI. A bit of a wasted effort, don’t you think?
If you’d like to find out more about developing your marketing strategy, and executing it to grow your business, give us a shout, we’d love to help.