Are you playing roulette with your marketing dollars? With so many media choices competing for less and less consumer attention, choosing the right marketing channels is pretty much like gambling. To cover their bases, some businesses will attempt to “be everywhere”, stretching themselves too thin and others will attempt to solve the problem by throwing money at it – running ineffective contests or ads. To make sure your effort and marketing dollars are invested wisely into the right marketing mix, you have to think strategically.

 

Align with Stakeholders and Customers

Your competitors are on Facebook, Twitter and three other platforms – and pressure is on to do the same thing. Before you hop on and start creating pages and accounts… hold on a minute.

We often make faulty assumptions leading to crappy ROI and low productivity with both financial and human resources. Before making a commitment to your marketing mix, it’s imperative to understand your target market. Just because I have a Facebook group doesn’t mean that you spend your time there. So first off, spend a few days and do some research, speak to some of your best customers and look for them on the social networks you’re considering using. Are they there? Are they active or did they create an account and abandon it shortly after? Do this for each one of your target market profiles.

 

Owned vs borrowed assets

If Facebook were to shut down their Business Pages tomorrow – you’d be left holding the bag with no reprieve. As much as we all like to think those are OUR connections, that we worked hard to develop and nurture over time, fact is that Facebook actually owns them. Not us. Same goes for every third party platform. So, with that in mind… what are you supposed to do?

I believe that we should first focus on building marketing assets that we own (at least to a degree that you can own them). At this time, those would likely be your website, blog and e-mail newsletter. Think of these as your digital marketing foundation. Everything else is just borrowed assets.

 

Strength-based selection

Time for a confession… for me to produce a GOOD 90 second video it often takes more then 30 takes. I’m just that terrible at video. Which led me (after building 2 studios in our home) to believe that maybe that’s not the best channel for my marketing mix. So… I have the technical capability but lack the “video talent” to make it really work for my business.

Sometimes it’s ego-deflating but we have to face the facts, both on an individual and organizational level. There are certain forms of media that will naturally feel more comfortable then others. If you take stock of your communication and leadership team’s strengths and natural inclinations when it comes to media choices (audio, video, writing, etc), you should have a clearer idea of what kind of channels will work for you from the content production side.

If you don’t have the capability to produce amazing photos, maybe Pinterest isn’t the best choice. Perhaps it’s smarter to consider audio (podcast) rather then video (YouTube). Focus on where yours strengths are – and if you are a growing company, take this into consideration when planning future hires.

 

Big fish, little pond.

Three or four years ago, if you created a Facebook page – you were one of few. Now, there are over 50 million pages and rising making it much more difficult to stand out, attract and retain attention. If you read “Blue Ocean Strategy“, this would be the red ocean.

While the full frontal assault is on for Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn and other major networks – there are numerous pockets of virtually untapped digital property up for grabs and you have an opportunity to diversify your marketing mix while receiving significantly higher ROE (return on engagement).

There are LinkedIn groups for Medicinal Plants, there are forums for Independent Travellers and there are Google+ communities all about Star Wars.

These are highly concentrated groups of very similarly-minded zealots, where you could be an incredible resource. You just might have to do some digging around first and find those obscure pockets of people where you can the only fish in the pond.

 

Purpose driven KPIs

That’s all fine and dandy, but how will you know if you chose the right ones? And more importantly, what should you measure to indicate success?

Well, first off you should develop intelligent digital marketing objectives. Then apply them to each one of your channels. What I like to do with my clients is assign TWO specific and measurable objectives for every piece of the marketing mix. You can choose from broad marketing or digital-specific objectives.

For example: you may want to use your blog to increase search engine visibility and educate customers. Then you may consider using YouTube in order to build a community and generate leads. It’s then pretty easy to figure out your success metrics. Choose to measure ONE THING that clearly and logically indicates positive impact. For example:

  • SEO visibility (blog) = Rank position for specific keywords
  • Educating customers (blog) = Time spent on site OR number of pages per visit
  • Build community (YouTube) = Number of subscribers
  • Generate leads (YouTube) = Number of links back to your site

This way, you can easily put together a simple dashboard that tracks your most important metrics on a weekly or monthly basis.

 

Building your marketing mix

Following the advice above, make a list of all the social platforms and digital marketing assets that you think make sense for your organization. Here are a few heavy hitters to get you started:

  • Blog
  • Website
  • YouTube or Vimeo
  • Facebook (page or group)
  • LinkedIn (company page or group)
  • Google+ (profile or community)
  • Instagram
  • Vine
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • Pinterest
  • Ning
  • Tumblr

Make a list. Then cut them. Remove everything but THREE (you can have your website and blog be one item… we’ll let that slide). Then focus on delivering unbelievable value on those three. On that note, we’ll talk about content development strategies in an upcoming post in the minimalist marketing strategy series!

 

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- Ernest // Follow me on Twitter