The Marketing Environment – the New Look Marketing Plan

In my last post (The Marketing Environment – Change is Upon us) we established that the foundation of a marketing strategy must be your online presence. This holds true for industries, large corporate entities, mid-size and smaller businesses – this is indeed the fundamental change that has transpired in the last few years.  This change comes with many questions and most want to know where this puts the traditional and non-traditonal marketing tactics that have been employed by most entities for decades.

Marketing is More than Traditional Advertising

Some marketing firms seem to think that all marketing is underpinned by traditional advertising tactics. These people tend to be a little self-serving as they benefit from your spend on traditional tactics. The social media phenomena does not fit into the traditional ad agency business model – and it frustrates them as they are unable to monetize these platforms. This has been documented by many bloggers and articles but one of my favourites is this one by Micheal Klein from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan called three ways to tell if your agency sucks. To be fair, most of the progressive ad agencies are adapting their business models as best they can and allowing for online planning but it is still not the foundation. The traditional still recommend the traditional – print, radio, television, outdoor, restobar, direct mail et al.

Marketing is More than Non-Traditional Advertising

I have always been a big fan of the non-traditional tactics. Done correctly they can create great impact and are normally much less expensive than the traditional tactics. I like special event marketing, targeted sponsorships, affinity programming and networking opportunities. All of these tend to be overlooked or diminished in value. The little things like your business cards, your treatment of customers and, sometimes more importantly, your treatment of the non-customer are important marketing tactics that cannot be dismissed.  These plus many more elements like company signage and social responsibility programming all can be lumped into the non-traditional. Yet the non-traditional cannot stand alone. Companies understand that the tactics need to be augmented by the traditional. In today’s marketing environment they also need to be augmented by your online tactics – especially your social media connectivity.

What’s the New Look Plan?

I suspect you can see where I am going with this. The new look is a blend – a mix of the three (traditional, non-traditional and online). Unequivocally it must be underpinned by your online presence. Our clients understand the fact that their online presence is of the utmost in importance. They also understand that they will need to employ some non-traditional and perhaps an element or two of traditional to ensure that people know that they exist outside of the virtual world. For example, recently I know of a small business owner who purchased some radio to drive eyeballs to his website and he is quite pleased with the increase in traffic thus far.

The following video summarizes this discussion nicely…

Our process for helping companies create a strong marketing strategy remains the same. It is a process that is done in conjunction with our client. We do not build a strategy in isolation. We work with the client to ensure that they are vested in the long-term strategy. We work with our clients to plan their entire fiscal marketing plan based on a longer term strategy – a strategy that clearly defines their annual objectives and one that is measurable.  Depending on the client, the annual tactical plan may include some non-traditional tactics and these are always supported by the social media platforms. The non-traditional as well as the online may also be supported by the traditional. Still traditional tactics remain the most expensive. Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the authors of Inbound Marketing: Found using Google, Social Media and Blogs had this to say about the cost of outbound marketing (traditional and non-traditional) versus inbound marketing (online social media platforms)…

On average, inbound marketing leads are 61% less expensive than outbound marketing leads.

If a client decides to go the route of traditional marketing then we recommend the correct tactic based on several criteria. Here we also would rather see a client attempt to dominate a particular medium rather than spending a ton on a traditional mix. The goal here is to utilize the traditional as a driver to the online presence of the client.