At Marketing Matters, we believe it’s very important for a company to have a mix of different tactics within a communication strategy. No one tool can provide every solution. One very important segment of any company’s communication mix should be advertising. Admittedly, some advertising can seem very costly, but if you pick the right audience and give your message in the right way, it can show the effectiveness of your product/service and pay dividends in the long run. If you’re just considering advertising for the first time or simply want tips on how to do it better, I’ve provided a foundation to get you on your way.
Time and Financial Budgeting
As trite as it may sound, planning to plan is important. Even if you’re busy with other activities, it’s important to take time to plan your yearly communication strategy. Nearly all publications in the industry issue media kits as early as October. Start by taking time to assess what each medium is covering, as well as when. This will give you a great foundation for media planning, and can also be helpful in figuring out your public relations strategies.
There are many different tactics in financial budgeting. For example, a company can take a percentage of gross sales (maybe 5% for smaller companies). Some companies may just figure out what media they want to purchase and that becomes their budget. Another simple method companies use is to simply spend whatever is left once expenses are paid. Whatever method you choose, make sure that you’re spending enough money marketing your product. Many companies cut back marketing spending when times are tough; this is actually the opposite of what they should be doing.
Know Your Audience
If you’re just starting out, it’s obviously important to know whom exactly you’ll be targeting. Whether it’s performing formal market research in the form of surveys or informal market research in the form of conversations with your customers, most established companies already know who buys their products.
By pairing your target audiences with the right media channel you will begin to see real effects. Although most of the media in consumer and custom electronics industry offer the same news, features and editorial content, the demographics of their readership and how they communicate with them, sets them apart from each other.
Although very general, here is a short list of sample uses for media.
1) Looking for leads, try sponsoring a webinar.
2) If engaging with your target audience is important, try social media adverting.
3) If building an email list is difficult and time consuming, consider renting one.
4) If you want to show what sets you apart from your competitor, traditional advertising (like print) is a good idea.
When to Hire a Media Manager
Effectively planning and executing a media plan can take a lot of time and skill. You need to consider outside help if your company is lacking either. This is especially a problem now as many companies have downsized, putting a lot of strain on their employees as the company begins to grow again. If your staff is working at maximum capacity and you don’t have the resources to bring on additional employees, consider a freelancer or agency. Likewise, agencies combine the experience of multiple people, which can further ensure your success.
Whomever you choose, it’s important to have someone who is experienced and well-versed in the workings of your industry. Generally, someone who is highly skilled will work faster and better, and the more connections the media planner has, the better success your advertising will have. Additionally, those connections can sometimes lead to better advertising rates.
As mentioned, advertising is just one of the different tools you can use, and it can be very beneficial to create a synergy out of combining different components to your communications mix. Just visualize the impact of potential customers receiving a mailer, getting an email from you the following week, and opening his or her favorite publication and seeing an ad you placed and/or an article about you. That’s staying top of mind.
Kyle E. Glass is the Public Relations and Marketing Manager at Marketing Matters (http://www.marketingmatters.net), a communications and design firm specializing in technology, consumer and custom electronics, audio-video and related industries.