We talk a lot about a lot of different ways to reach your customers. There are literally thousands of platforms through which to market and advertise your company, products or services. So how do you sift through the ever-changing landscape of marketing channels?

To make matters even more difficult, no two companies are alike. What works for one brand might not work for the next one. To help you out, we’re going to give you a little insider baseball on how we determine which media channels to recommend to our clients.

1. Narrow your objective(s) and goals.

First things first, determine what you want to get out of your marketing efforts. The channels we would recommend will differ based on objectives. Different channels will work better for different objectives.

For example, if your objective is to drive more traffic to your e-commerce site, we would recommend focusing your efforts on channels that can directly link to your e-commerce site. On the other hand, if your objective is to improve your brand reputation, we would likely recommend a variety of public relations tactics and perhaps a brand awareness campaign through mass media.

2. Determine how you will measure success.

One of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to creating your marketing plan is to set metrics for how you will measure success of the campaign. This goes hand in hand with determining your objectives and goals.

For the two examples above the metric for the e-commerce site would most definitely include site traffic (and where it came from) and completed transactions. The brand reputation objective could be measured through tracking online sentiments, review site ratings, and conducting public opinion surveys.

Bottom line here is if you don’t know how you’re going to measure success, you’re shooting in the dark when it comes to picking advertising channels.

3. Consider your timeline and your customers’ buying cycle.

If your objective is more long-term than an immediate need, you can afford to look at tactics with longer shelf lives and lead times. If you’re promoting a sale that only lasts a weekend, you need something with more immediate impact, such as email, digital display or radio.

Content marketing is one of my favorite ways to connect with customers. However, as we outlined in a previous post, it’s a long-term commitment. Content marketing at its core is all about providing valuable information to your audience as a way to gain their trust and business. Putting up one blog post by itself is not going to result in droves of new customers. But over time a series of connected blog posts can snowball into a revenue generating machine.

4. Consider how you go to market with your product or service.

Our recommendations always vary drastically between our retail clients versus our B2B clients. This is because they go to market in completely different ways. For many retail brands, it’s all about getting foot traffic in a brick-and-mortar store or web traffic to an ecommerce site. But for many of our B2B brands it’s about generating qualified leads that their sales staff can then take and follow up on.

Whatever channels you choose should support how your product or services actually gets into the hands of your customers.

5. Determine your audience demographics and psychographics.

Knowing the demographic makeup of your audience is one of the best ways to 1) narrow down your media choices and 2) target your advertising on digital platforms.

Demographics and psychographics can help determine which publications/stations/programs you choose to advertise in. But more importantly, with digital advertising we can target consumers by age, gender, location, what they are searching for, what type of content they are consuming, if they’ve visited your site before and much more. All of this means more qualified prospects are seeing your message with less waste.

6. Consider your customers’ motivation for making purchasing decisions and when they will need it.

For many products, it’s not a matter of if a consumer would want your product, it’s a matter of when they’ll need your product. Being top of mind and easy to find when consumers are looking for a solution that your product provides is the best place to be. It’s for this reason that we often recommend a robust search engine marketing component to any marketing plan.

If you know why a consumer picks option A or option B along with when they make that decision, picking where to place your message will become much easier. Sometimes it can be as easy as optimizing your Google Business Listing.

7. Look at your budget and resources.

I debated on whether or not to lead with budget and resources because it does ultimately impact the strategies and tactics that a company are able to afford. However, even though that is the case, all of the points we made above should be considered before narrowing tactics down because of budget and resources.

That said, looking at your current budget and resources will help you determine which channels will be best for your marketing efforts. For clients with limited budgets, we often look at options that can drive immediate results and are scalable. Meaning once they start seeing results from – for example – a social media campaign, we can put more budget behind it to make it even more successful.

Check here for tips on how to build your marketing budget.

Jessica Crozier

Author Jessica Crozier

Jessica is the Director of PR and Social Media at InQuest Marketing. Her team is responsible for clients' social media, public relations and content marketing needs. Her favorite memory of her time at InQuest is working on the launch of a new retail brand and watching it grow from initial concept to thriving business. Outside of the office Jessica enjoys playing the cello and hiking with her dog.

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