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Considerations When Choosing Marketing Tools

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Today everyone is a marketer. Regardless of the business publication, web site or blog, there are countless articles claiming that your success hinges on the successful implementation of this marketing tool or that marketing tool. From newer tools like social media and content marketing to older tools like direct mail, email marketing and, yes, blogs, the number of available marketing tools is extensive. For a business owner or manager looking to develop a marketing strategy, determining which tools to employ can be overwhelming especially when trying to determine how to best utilize a limited marketing budget. So, with that said, for the remainder of this blog we will look at several factors you should take into consideration before deciding which marketing tools you’ll employ.

Understand Your Audience

Before developing a marketing strategy and choosing the marketing tools to achieve that strategy, it is critical to identify and define who you are selling to — your target audience. Are you selling business-to-business or are you selling directly to consumer? Understanding the demographics of your target audience will help you narrow down which marketing tools you employ. For example, the use of social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc., may make little sense in a marketing strategy to sell reverse mortgages to retirees but would be the cornerstone of any marketing strategy targeting young first time home buyers.  Knowing what media your target audience uses and how they prefer to communicate will help you direct your marketing dollars to the tools best suited to reach your intended customer.

Understand Your Market

Hand-in-hand with knowing your target audience is knowing your target market. While not as important as understanding your audience, there are local and regional variations that can impact how you market and which marketing tools you use. Regional economic conditions and ethnic backgrounds, for example, can influence which marketing tools are used. Understanding market variations will also help you fine tune your marketing message for a given region.

Your Time and Resources

There is a cost associated with every marketing tool. For those where the cost is direct – direct mail, email campaigns, online advertising – the cost/ benefit analysis is straight forward. It is those that generate cost through time and labor that are harder to analyze. Social media, portrayed for years under the misnomer of “free marketing”, falls into this latter category. Social media, whether Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or blogs, take both time and an ongoing commitment. Content has to be generated, proofed and posted on a frequent and consistent basis, sites have to be monitored and replies have to be posted to customer comments. It is imperative that if these labor-intensive, “free” marketing tools are employed, that the resources and commitment exists to manage them for the long haul. A stale social media page/ account will result in a negative first impression with potential customers.

Your competition

Marketing strategies should be unique to your company, but that is not to say that they should be developed in a vacuum. Monitoring your competitor’s marketing efforts will provide you with both competitive intelligence and insight into marketing tools that have been working for them. Social media sites, blogs, online advertising are all easily monitored and tracked. A competitor’s extensive and continued use of these type of marketing tools can be a good indicator that the tool is effective. Conversely, stale social media pages and discontinued online ad campaigns can single a marketing tool that is failing to perform to expectation.

While certainly not all inclusive, the four factors above will help you identify and fine tune which marketing tools should be used to achieve your marketing strategy.

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