According to digital-centric marketers, print advertising’s zenith coincided with the invention of the automobile, and the superhighway to sales success is paved with data. Media buyers want to custom-tailor your next great pay-per-click campaign – the one destined to make you a big star. Trade show planners might tell you that pressing the flesh is the only contact that truly matters, and both outdoor and traditional broadcast media still boast about winning by volume, with the largest cumulative audiences.
So many conflicting perspectives can feel hectic and unfocused, so it’s understandably common for B2B companies – especially those that manage their own marketing – to stick to the familiar. This often means staying with the marketing channel or channels that have worked in the past, or bypassing traditional marketing altogether. After all, it’s consumer brands that need to put a lot of energy into advertising… right?
Your customers are everywhere
Such a static strategy may have worked when the business world was more classically structured, with clearly identifiable decision-makers and influencers and a level of consistency regarding which departments controlled what purchasing budgets.
Those days are gone, and they’re not coming back. Sales cycles have grown longer, potential customers do their own research and more purchasing decisions are made by committee. Further complicating the matter is the immense scope of the communications landscape: most of us no longer have a favorite medium, instead sharing our time between print and online publications, social media outlets and ever-more fractured radio and television offers.
Without unlimited resources and a big, dedicated marketing team that includes strategists, data analysts, designers, writers and more, how does the average company succeed at marketing?
Be strategic, be balanced, think local
The answer can be found in the same sound practices that keep all businesses running at peak efficiency: understand your needs and means, identify your opportunities (in this case, your marketing channels) and execute to achieve your goals.
Reaching your customers in all the places they are with the message that matters most to them is key to sales success. And for most small and mid-size companies and service providers, the local business community matters, whether as direct customers or as influencers. Focusing locally not only maximizes your marketing dollar, it is the best way to build recognition, authority and trust with your community and – by extension – customers.
In 2017, that means multiple channels and multiple touches, using each to reach the right person at the right time with the right piece of your unified brand message.
This article is the first in a series examining the specific strengths and best applications of local print and digital advertising, event marketing, content development, email marketing and custom publishing. Each has its place within a successful integrated marketing strategy, and our series will help you evaluate what you need to help you reach your market visibility and revenue goals.