John Wanamaker, a famous merchant of the late 19th and early 20th century, is quoted often in today’s modern marketing world because he famous said these words: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Often times this quotation is used to demonstrate the modern sentiment that “traditional” marketing tactics like advertising should be replaced by social media marketing and associated tools and tactics. Truthfully, any marketing campaign manager or investor could experience the same quandary as good old John Wanamaker if proper caution is not taken. The question, the bottom line mystery, will always be, “How can I make sure that what I am investing in for my marketing is working?”
How can you get the most bang for your buck with your marketing? This is a huge question and indeed, it can even seem a little overwhelming. Breaking it down a little can help.
What does “the most bang” really mean?
It’s easy to make a clichéd statement like, “I want our marketing plan to give us the most bang for the buck.” But what does that REALLY mean for your company? The following are possible interpretations:
1. We want to see a sales increase of x%
2. We want to feel like our brand awareness has increased
3. We want to strengthen our distributor network
Once you know what you want your “bang” to be, it can be much easier to ascertain what tactics can get you to that goal most most effectively and efficiently. There are certain marketing tools and tactics that would be ideally suited to help your company reach specific goals. Looking at the objectives we delineated above, what kinds of marketing tactics would work best?
If you are looking for a rather swift increase in sales, social media marketing/content marketing may not be your best bet. While these channels can drive sales, it can take time to build credibility and relationships, and even then, you may not find a direct correlation between your relationship-building and sales for a year or more. Print advertising may also not be the best investment depending on how you usually convert leads to sales. If your goal is to increase sales, your company may want to look at opportunities like webinars or white papers, which can incentivize potential customers to visit your company website. In these instances it is important to have a mode of conversion, not just a means to drive the traffic to your site. Make sure there are clear calls-to-action.
Increase Brand Awareness
Brand awareness can be hard to measure unless you use online tools like Social Mention to track “positive’ mentions in the online space. Given that it can be difficult to measure solid progress in reaching this objective, getting the most “bang for your buck” in this scenario could mean investing in opportunities that are more economical than something like a webinar. Social Media marketing can be effective in this instance, as can a strong print advertising program in key publications. The key is to target your desired audience carefully. If you begin a company Facebook page, for example, remember that your goal is not to get a lot of fans. Your goal is to increase brand awareness in the minds of people who may eventually become your customers.
Strengthen the Distributor Network
If you sell through distributors, it is essential to create market pull so that distributors have a vested interest in selling your products. This can be tricky because while you want end-users to be aware of your products, you need to clarify that they will not be able to buy from you directly. Perhaps your company would want to look at increasing your trade show presence at key industry shows while also advertising in publications that reach your industry’s key distributors. Social Media is probably not the best mechanism for reaching this objective because the relationship could be hard to clarify in the online environment.
Determine your overall budget, then how you want to segment it
Of course, the other elephant in the room when trying to get the most “bang for your buck” is how much you can truly afford on any one marketing tactic. Your company needs to have a serious discussion about how much money can be allocated for marketing, and from there you need to decide how many objectives you can realistically try to meet given that overall pie.
Do not lament if you feel like John Wanamaker about your marketing. If you are wondering what part of your marketing is working, or if you are wondering how to get the most bang for your buck, simply break down what you would define as a success and work backwards from there. And as always, if you need any assistance, you know how to reach us!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinkrejci/6263853991/ via Creative Commons