Pretty much every business is going to attempt marketing and advertising to some degree. There are those businesses that survive just through referrals, and maybe that’s all they need. But lately I’ve been hearing more and more that what used to work for business development isn’t working as well anymore, regardless of the method.
Postcards, mailings, TV ads, newspaper – Traditional Media doesn’t always cut the mustard anymore. So what does that mean for the future of business development?
First off, Traditional Media may not be as effective as it once was, but that doesn’t mean it should be canned. From a "holistic" perspective, it does have its place in the overall scheme of things. Traditional Media is great for creating awareness and driving interest about any topic. But realize that, because of the Internet, consumers have a voice in the marketplace they didn’t have before. This voice is expressed through blogs, comments, Facebook, etc., and is picked up by new potential customers with the help of a quick Google search, and serves to validate (or not) your marketing message.
If a company is doing a bad job delivering what it promises, it is unlikely the world of social media will be very kind without first addressing that issue. But that is an Operations matter and not the subject of today’s article. Perhaps the next article. So, potentially a business needs to continue their Traditional Media approach while also engaging in social media and online networking to ensure the consumer has enough information with which to make a decision: to purchase, or not to purchase?
Whether your business has been around for years or just got started, there is a way to increase the effectiveness of both Traditional (mass) and New Media (digital) efforts. It’s very simple, but escapes the attention of many business owners. Take the blindfold off.
Yep. It’s that simple. Let’s look at this from the perspective of two gunmen at target practice. They both have the same model gun, bullets and targets. One of them, however, is blindfolded. Assuming they have the same level of skill, which one of them is going to hit the targets more? Obviously the one without the blindfold.
The way to remove the blindfold is to conduct market research prior to executing and effective marketing plan. But not just any kind of market research. I mean emotional market research.
Sometimes market research is conducted, but all that is obtained is facts and figures. What you need are the “buttons” that when pushed, get an emotional reaction, and communicate directly to the heart of the consumer.
A fatal, fatal mistake is to assume that you know exactly what your customer needs and wants, and that you know how to communicate to them on an emotional level that will speak to their mind on the subject. Did you ask them? If not, you just might be off an inch or too. However, we are looking to hit a bull’s-eye, not just get kind of close.
Case in point: One of our clients, a skilled and trustworthy attorney, had a 2-3% conversion rate for his Pay Per Click campaign before market research was conducted. All of his marketing, both paper and online, spoke a very conservative message: “I am an attorney.”
Market research dug deep and revealed his potential clients didn’t trust attorneys. They also weren’t conservative about the issues they had, they were angry! So the existing marketing efforts missed on two levels. Potential customers couldn’t “see’ the advertisements because they couldn’t relate to them on an emotional level, and an attorney was the last person they would seek out to resolve their valid cases.
The solution was to re-brand the attorney as a “Consumer Advocate” and change the imagery in the advertisements to show angry and upset consumers. Instant success! Conversion rates rose as much as 8%!
Market Research can save a business thousands and thousands of dollars if it’s done correctly, and the data is usually valid for at least 10 years. How much more income would your business have if your existing marketing was 8% more effective? Take 10-20% of that figure and invest it in Market Research, and see your results soar accordingly. Make every move an effective one. Get market research done for immediate use, and use social media to create a permanent “feedback loop” so you always have up to date information (the good and the bad), and the door to success will open. If you feel like you don’t know what to do, you just might not have enough information to make a decision. Done properly, Market Research will give it to you.