Traditional marketing materials – what we sometimes called marketing collateral, were expensive. I'm talking about brochures, folders with colorful inserts, and postcards. And indeed the cost of those 4 color brochures and die-cut folders was some serious coin. We called these pieces marketing collateral because that's what they were – evidence that you had made a financial investment to be in the game. You were a player.
Today your marketing collateral is predominantly an investment not of money, but of your time. As entrepreneurs, you have flexibility with your time. And it is potentially more renewable than money in this economy. You have to make an investment of your time in online marketing if you expect to be a contender. Thanks to the red-hot trend toward interactivity and greater user control with the social marketing networks, time is the primary resource you should be investing into your marketing.
Let's consider three ways the marketing game is changing and how you can adjust your business to that for success in the new economy.
Be a Interactive Player
When it comes to online, interactive marketing, a website is your business card. You still need a website to demonstrate to your market that you are indeed in the game. However, a website no more validates your commitment to a market than a business card. When are most websites created? Exactly, the same time as most business cards – before the business is a serious player.
You can't fake it on social media, although many people try. If you are blogging about your expertise and what you do for your customers, it comes through loud and clear. Customers today are savvy and they can quickly determine whether or not you have a valid process for serving them. Your interactive marketing needs to communicate this, and that is what it is ideally suited for. Your prospects and customers want to learn how you do what you do that makes you the best choice. Like the old Wendy's TV commercials, they want to know "Where's the Beef!" Show them. Be an interactive player.
Spend Like Your Market
If you are selling a luxury product, it may be appropriate to spend heavily on your selective target market. Remember, we're spending time here. However, even today people with money have social concerns that should be reflected in your marketing. Keep it green. By that I mean keep in tune with your market. Green is as much about social consciousness as it is about conserving natural resources. Know where they are and how to communicate with them. Spend wisely.
If your market is youthful, then you know they spend for today. They aren't making long-term buying decisions. Their spending is not an investment. This will suggest you can get a little crazy, be playful in how you use the social media networks, and otherwise mirror the habits of your consumers. Let's face it, people associate with others that they see as being like them. If you are too conservative with a youthful market, your message is less likely to resonate.
Invoke the "Need to Know" Rule
The need to know rule balances out my first two suggestions. Your strategy may change over time and what you put out on the Web has staying power. You can't easily change gears. For this reason, I suggest something I learned early in my marketing career from my first mentor. Invoke the need to know rule – it gives you flexibility.
Here's an example of what I mean. When you are setting up your Facebook profile you can express your political and religious views – or not. In some respects this is your brand, so maybe you should make your views known. I prefer to avoid labels that can polarize my market and distract them from my core message – which is how I help some of the millions of entrepreneurs out there with this social media platform, as well as the organizations that support them.
Look at it his way, business can be a poker game - how you act, spend, and what you share are all choices that you have complete control over. You can play the game any way you wish, but there are consequences. So spend wisely and build your interactive marketing collateral well. I can assure you of this much, just thinking of your marketing in new ways like this is an enormous investment in your future.
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