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Think back to when you were a kid. Before tablets, smartphones, social media, virtual and augmented reality, and even the internet, things were much simpler – especially for marketers.

In the ‘80s, marketers had only a few channels in which to communicate their messages. Today, it’s more challenging than ever to know where to spend your money and keep a consistent brand message throughout. So how do you choose the marketing channels that are right for your brand?

Stick to your brand message

One of the major challenges brands face is maintaining a consistent brand message across all channels. Choosing the right marketing channel requires you to take a step back and think about your brand’s core message and where your customers absorb information. This is the single most important thing you can do when determining which channels are right for your brand.

Invest in consumer research

It’s easy to say the single most important thing is the brand and to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. But often companies are making assumptions about what they THINK customers want, which may not be reality. Primary and secondary research can give you insights into which channels your target audience is using and more importantly, how they interact with those channels. We dive deeper into methods of research here.

Do it with a purpose

Too often, brands lose sight of their message and end up wasting time and money on marketing that could be more efficiently spent elsewhere. When Pinterest first came on to the scene, for example, marketers hopped on board. But the reality is, unless you’re in the food, home improvement and goods, fitness or fashion industries, Pinterest can be a waste of valuable resources.

Create an omni-channel experience

Every channel demands a unique approach, but it is important to make sure that your brand is communicated consistently across all platforms, and the customer has the same brand experience regardless of the touch point. For example, a television advertisement will have a different strategy than a podcast, but you want them to feel the same way about the brand regardless of where they engage with the brand.

It’s okay to take risks

With so many tried-and-true methods of marketing, it can be daunting to try new media. However, if you don’t stay current or even ahead of media consumption trends, you risk falling behind or even becoming irrelevant.

A great example of this is traditional taxi companies versus the Ubers and Lyfts of the world. Using a mobile-first approach to delivering and marketing a product was a risk that has – to this point – paid off. Fortunately, the integration of data and digital in today’s environment means that most marketing executions are measurable. Try, learn, evolve.

Flip your marketing mindset

Long gone are the days where you have an idea, produce a product, find a distribution channel, and then market your product to sell it. Startups are now taking their idea, marketing it first, then figuring out the production and distribution once a sales funnel has been established.

  • Old “sell what we make” model: build → sell → market
  • New collaborative approach: market → sell → build

In conclusion, it takes diving deep into the product, brand and target audience to navigate the crowded world of marketing channels. So just because you can be on the newest social media craze, doesn’t mean you need to. Just ask my colleague, Joe, about QR codes.

marketing infograph

Brian Olson

Author Brian Olson

Brian Olson is the owner of InQuest Marketing.

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