Successful marketing relies on a balanced diet

When I started out in business there was a handful of ways to reach out to new customers and keep in contact with existing ones .  By far the largest spend was on classified and display advertising in magazines and newspapers , followed my mailshots that entailed an army of people stuffing envelopes and a king’s ransom in postage. Networking meant attending an annual trade show or possibly a conference here and there.

Turn the clock forward 20 years or so and there is a whole vista of things you can do in order to reel in punters or prevent yours from going elsewhere. Networking now includes constant updates on social media , be it LinkedIn , Twitter or a blog . Advertising typically means paying a fortune to Google along with a “consultant” who promises you the earth and may or may not deliver anything of ongoing value. Attending a conference now usually consists of an online webinar , either as a delegate or the lecturer.

So it’s all changed and when you look back you say “Wow – who would have imagined ?” , followed by “How can I possibly keep on top of it all ?”

Actually it hasn’t changed that much when it comes to the lowest common denominator of the two eras . Back in the day it was about being seen and heard , and nowadays it’s exactly the same objective . A bit like waging war – different ordnance , same goal.

Likewise, the strategy remains as it ever was – the use of several channels to reach out , in the safe knowledge of the immutable business rule that no there is rarely one single  route to market. Getting there means making noise , lots of it , until  you reach critical mass and find out what works best and tweak your budget accordingly.

But there is one BIG fundamental change . Back in the day you placed your advert in a monthly journal for example or you  went to an annual meeting or trade show . Today it feels like a 24/7 job to remain on top of everything in the space in which your business operates. The landscape changes by the minute and customers have ways to vent their frustration that can bring a business down in days if you are not on top of things.

Here are a few topics to chew over :

  • Trade shows and events
  • Leafleting households
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Vehicle advertising
  • Telesales
  • Online paid search
  • Webinars
  • Forum participation
  • Speaking engagements
  • Social media
  • Blogging
  • White papers
  • Emailshots
  • Virtual newsletters

As ever, the way to survive is to know what works for you and your business , and not to rely on a single or even a small combination of channels . A balanced diet is still what the doctor recommends , its just that the menu has been refreshed.

Good luck !

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