You’re not made of money and neither is the company you work for. Odds are if you are responsible for deciding where to advertise that fact has come into harsh glaring reality for you on more than one occasion. Our CEO likes to ask a question of the Marketing Department that is both exceedingly simple and a great way to put it all into perspective every time we propose a spend: “If this was your personal money would it still be a good investment?” If the answer is “no” odds are you aren’t doing your media/advertising plan any favors, and it’s time to take a few steps back and re-evaluate.
A great starting place for deciding where to have a presence is to put yourself in your customers shoes. Where do they spend their time on the internet? What do they do in their leisure time? What publications do they read while at work and while at home? Once you start to outline the answers to these questions a clear picture of who you are trying to find comes into sharper focus. If you sell a line of handbags is it really smart to be running ads in Demolition Weekly? Of course not, but you know this because the most important pre-planning you can do is getting to know the people you want to reach. Step into their lives by doing research: polls, questionnaires, conversations with current clients. All of these things are a great way to not only understand your prospects, but gain additional respect from the people you already do business with.
Social media channels are a great place to get client engagement and feedback. Ask your friends and followers what motivates them and you might be surprised by what you learn. You might figure out a keyword that tips the scale in your SEO strategy, find a publication that is a great fit to run an ad or learn a way to tweak your service or product that only makes sense from the outside looking in. Also take into account how heavily you should be bombarding these outlet partners with your message. If you think over-saturation is the way to really get in front of someone you may find they are turned off by your persistence. I can think of more than one ad I grit my teeth through not only on TV, but even on great sites like Pandora. Think of your impression count like you would appropriate follow-up to a date; if you call them too often, odds are they will run screaming into the night.
So as the summer rolls to an end and you get ready to jump into end of year planning, take some time to really put yourself in the role of your dream client/customer and figure out what you can do to fulfill their wishes; you won’t be disappointed by the results.