Whew. Now that you have your brand voice and vision clearly outlined, you feel your new business is better positioned for success. However, for your customers to really experience your brand, you need methods and platforms to help push your products and services toward them.
You need marketing. And that’s a tall order for anyone not familiar with the many faces of marketing strategies.
There’s so much to explore, and it will be challenging to sift through every marketing option and identify which channels are best for your business. The good news is we’ve done this more than a few times and are here to help. Since no small business is alike, let’s start with some broad-stroked introductions to better inform you about the various marketing platforms out there. Then we’ll help you organize and identify those that make the most sense for your brand vision, your why and based on your offering.
This is the list you can print to keep handy as you evaluate your marketing strategy and budget. We’ll discuss marketing strategies, buyer personas and more this month. So, keep this roster in your peripheral as you soak up the knowledge.
What Constitutes a Marketing Channel?
If your brand is your business’ racecar, then marketing is the map of roadways you use to drive that car in reaching your destination.
Official Definition: ANY method or platform used to push a service or product to customers in a way that entices them to buy or convert to a sale is considered “Marketing.”
There are five P’s of marketing to consider, too, in helping you understand the key components behind your strategy. Your marketing message should promote your small business directly to your intended audience and through the lens of your brand vision with these strategic positioning elements in mind:
Product – Price – Promotion – Place – People
Tina’s Cleaning Service: Meet Tina. Tina is just getting started with her house cleaning services. Initially, her business took off significantly with home cleaning clients, as her friends and family helped refer people. Her schedule of regulars is growing, but she’s wondering how to reach more people outside of her circle. She knows she’ll need to sit down with her marketing strategy and develop a method for reaching new “busy moms.” And to complicate things even more, she’s also considering how she might grow her little business into commercial segments with office cleaning clients. Which marketing platforms should she be using?
Why Your Brand Vision Is So Important to Your Marketi
If you missed out on last month’s deep dive into developing your brand, go back. Developing a marketing plan without a crystal clear brand identity, voice and vision is like closing your eyes while you’re driving. Your brand vision is critical to any business decision you make, especially in regards to marketing.
Today’s consumer market is a ridiculously crowded space. Getting in front of the right core audience, at the right time, with the right message is going to take some dedicated strategies. Today’s buyers need to encounter your brand six to seven times before they even consider making a purchasing decision or decide to connect with your company.
By crowded, we mean really fucking crowded. Here are some stats worth considering:
- Back in the 70s, it was reported by CBS that the average individual saw between 500 and 1600 ads per day.
- Back in early 2007, the market research firm Yankelovich estimated that the average person encountered as many as 5,000 ads per day. After surveying some 4,110 people, half of them responded with sentiments that advertising was “out of control.”
- Fast forward to 2021; the unofficial data is already rolling in, suggesting that the average person encounters between a whopping 4,000 to 10,000 ads every single day.
Some of the Various Marketing Channels to Explore
Let’s first start by outlining the countless marketing channels you have available to you. Here’s a comprehensive list of potential platforms (digital and traditional) and means of consumer communication and engagement:
Affiliate marketing is when businesses use marketing affiliates to help them spread their marketing messages to customers.
Amazon storefronts are marketing websites where companies can sell items directly on the site.
Apps are mobile-based marketing tools that provide software for any mobile device.
Blogs are marketing tools that use written content in order to promote products.
Websites are marketing tools that use multimedia in order to offer information about individual products or services.
Email marketing is using email messages for marketing purposes.
Social media networks are marketing channels that allow businesses to create profiles and pages but also allow users to share information with others through status updates, photos, videos, links and more.
Paid digital advertising encompasses a huge range of digital, online ads. Google Ads, PPC, Yelp, and the like all offer paid ads via their designated platforms. This paid advertising umbrella also includes Social media ads.
Events are marketing channels whereby businesses present their products or services in person at an event like a conference, trade show or expo.
TV commercials are marketing channels that use video marketing to reach audiences on their TVs.
Radio ads are marketing channels whereby companies advertise their marketing messages through radio stations.
Print ads are marketing channels that businesses use in printed forms of marketing, like magazines and newspapers.
Print catalogs are marketing channels used to offer marketing information in print, like flyers and brochures.
Online videos are marketing channels with which businesses can reach customers through commercials they watch online.
Microsites are marketing tools for when companies want to create a dedicated website for an individual product, service or topic.
Press releases are marketing channels whereby companies write press releases about their products, services and other business-related topics.
QR codes are marketing tools for when marketers want to provide marketing information (like a website) in the form of an easy-to-read barcode.
Chatbots are marketing tools created for marketing purposes that allow customers to communicate with companies through the use of text-based chat programs.
Webinars are marketing channels whereby businesses provide online marketing sessions for interested users.
Workshops are marketing channels whereby companies present marketing sessions for customers.
In-store, outdoor and vehicle signage are marketing channels whereby companies can help make marketing messages more noticeable by putting them in the physical spaces where customers shop or drive around, also sometimes called Out of Home (OOH) advertising.
Direct sales are marketing channels whereby a business representative or marketing manager can meet face-to-face with relevant marketing prospects.
Point of sale displays are marketing tools that provide marketing materials at the point of purchase.
Contests are marketing channels where marketing companies offer marketing prizes as part of a marketing campaign.
Online courses are marketing channels whereby businesses use marketing education to help them reach customers through online education platforms.
Direct mail marketing is using physical direct marketing materials in order to target specific customers via the post office mail delivery services.
SMS marketing, short message service marketing, is the act of sending marketing messages via text messages.
Near-Field Communications or NFC describes a short-range wireless connectivity technology that lets other NFC-enabled devices communicate with each other, popular in the payment processing movement.
Public relations events (PR) often allow businesses to engage within communities for lending area support, to introduce new concepts or to connect with a local group.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is marketing that helps businesses reach customers through search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
RFID tags are marketing tools that provide marketing information to customers.
Networking events allow business representatives to engage and connect, share leads, offer expertise and socialize.
Don’t be overwhelmed. That’s a long list. It can be pretty intimidating as-is, yet it barely scratches the surface. Our next two blogs will help separate all of these available channels into two groups, online and offline, to offer clarity as you decide which you choose to leverage for your business. And the bit of good news is, you’ll only have to use a few of them to begin seeing bottom-line results.
Marketing Is One of the More Important Parts of Your Business Strategy
Sure, sales of your product or service are probably the most important for growth and success. But marketing will allow you to fast-track those results. Many small businesses make the mistake of avoiding any marketing or ad spend because, let’s face it, there’s not always a lot of money floating around in the beginning. Cutting out the marketing budget or not developing a marketing strategy, however, will only translate to a snail’s pace trajectory in sales.
Managing your expectations plays a significant role in how you establish your marketing plan, too, which we’ll discuss a bit further in this month’s blog series. You have developed the most critical part of your success – your brand. Don’t leave it hanging out to dry without also spending some quality time with your marketing strategy.
Paul’s Used Car Lot: Meet Paul. Paul has been running his small car dealership now for a few months. He’s built trust within his community already, and it’s showing in his numbers. He also has developed strong relationships with branded dealers in the area, allowing him to capitalize on bringing in great used inventory to sell. So, now that he has a lot, full of great cars, how can he attract more buyers? He’s going to have to get real about who his target audience is and how to engage them.
Every Marketing Strategy Needs a Buyer Persona Representing a Buyer’s Journey
As we explore the various marketing options out there, you’ll want to revert back to your brand development journey for a minute and consider your buyer personas. You’ll have to have a clear understanding of each target consumer as well as the buyer’s journey each consumer takes before making a purchasing decision.
In Paul’s scenario, everyone needs to buy a car at some point, but not everyone at the same time. And not everyone is going to want to buy from him. He has to introduce his brand to his core audiences and develop a marketing strategy that continues to engage so he can attract people ready to buy now as well as those who may be ready to buy later.
Did you print this list out yet? Better get on that. Use this first segment as your official introduction to the many faces of marketing. We’ll divide and conquer the various marketing platforms out there in the coming conversations. And we’ll dive into the right and wrong way to build out your buyer personas, in accordance with your ideal buyers’ journeys, as well. Keep reading and as always, when you’re ready to take your branding and marketing to a whole new level, let Awareness Branding & Consulting help with a FREE Consultation!