Not too long ago, a postcard mailing or a telemarketing campaign may have raked in sales. While those techniques can still serve specific functions, we?re in a whole new world, marketing-wise. Product placement has taken over large chunks of the television ad budget. Companies are sponsoring major events ? and even the stadiums where they take place. With texting, email, ezines, AdWords, and other media supplanting traditional ad venues, you?ve got more to think about when planning your marketing mix.
To be successful today, utilize many tools and mediums to create your own custom blend ? in other words, a ?marketing mix? that zeroes in on of customers. Think of it like a cup of gourmet coffee. It might require a little more effort to get it right, but the reward is far richer than the ordinary brew.
In the B2B market, think about how your buyers get their information. Are they reading the trade journals? Do they get their news online? Are the actual buyers seeing direct mail pieces or is someone filtering it for them? Do you know which trade shows they attend? Do you have an emailing resource that can get through the spam blockers? Have you optimized your Web site to so that the search engines are giving you a high page ranking? And what about the many ways you can use the Internet to boost sales? Podcasts, blogging, article directories, and pay-per-click are worth considering, depending on your products and target audience.
Because your company is unique in its offerings and your buyers have specific needs, there is no magic formula guaranteed to generate leads and increase sales for all resellers. It?s your job as a smart business person to blend the mix that works best for you by leveraging what you have and plugging holes where you fall short.
To determine your ideal combination, start by mirroring the mindset of the people you want to reach. If they are mostly Internet-savvy customers adept at collecting information and making comparisons online, provide the immediate information they want or you risk losing sales. If they still value a face-to-face interaction, be ready to accommodate their preferences in your mix.
If you?re not sure which marketing tool your customers prefer, look to your database. (Hint: Approximately 70-80 percent of all sales came from existing customers, so keep your database current!) Update the data if it?s dusty ? even if that means creating a small mailer with ?Return Service Requested?. The invalid addresses bounce back, allowing you to refresh your database, a smart investment for any list that has not been updated for two or more years.
With your database in order, segment your markets into meaningful categories. How many customers bought from you in the last year? Two years? Look at response rates to previous marketing efforts. What are you trying to achieve with the particular marketing method(s) you are considering? Acquire new customers? Write orders? Position yourself as an expert? Your desired results may dictate which method you should use.
When preparing your marketing mix, start by making a list of all the options available to you, like direct mail, email, telemarketing, trade shows, advertising, and publicity. Be specific. Make the Internet one category, as a means of ways to drive traffic to your site. Then put ?Web site? as another topic so you place the necessary emphasis on tending to your valuable site and not letting it stagnate.
Next to each category, list specific actions to use each method. Make another column where you will identify both the cost of the effort and the desired return. This will help you evaluate the best use of your marketing dollars.
While you?re exploring new components for your marketing mix, don?t abandon those that have performed well for you. Stick with what works, whether it?s a ?free trial? telemarketing campaign, a trade show promotional giveaway, a series of articles distributed to Web sites your customers frequent, or cool stuff on your own Web site. Many companies are getting good results with informative podcasts, audio testimonials, and screen captured demos. Whatever your customers respond to, repeat it!
Finally, once you?ve established your marketing mix, take the time to periodically assess it. Capitalize on campaigns with good response rates, and weed out anything that proved to be ineffective. Remember, each technique has a place in the mix, but no single method will be adequate to sustain you.
Finding your own marketing mix is not difficult. Simply give your customers what they want, how and when they want it. Do that and sales will escalate.