The Media Mix: Physical vs. DigitalJuly 1, 2012
If you are anything like me, you entered the digital-communications age kicking and screaming. I didn’t understand how an industry as creative and hands-on as marketing could deliver its messages without lots of process and lots of paper.
But I’ve learned my lesson. Marketing has been transformed by new technology choices that make it increasingly difficult for companies to figure out just exactly where to spend their marketing dollars. A colleague of mine, with her own successful blog, spends two to three hours each day simply evaluating new digital technologies.
So, as a manufacturer with so many media options, how do you know which venues to use? Print or internet ads? Social media or trade shows? E-mail marketing or mobile devices?
Bottom line: It’s not an either/or situation. Putting together the correct marketing mix relies upon understanding your audience and its needs, the media they use, and where they are in the buying cycle.
I still advocate for the power of print advertising, a belief supported by numerous studies showing that B2B publications still rank high in effectiveness. Manufacturers still use trade magazines to find work-related information.
Search engines, industry websites and supplier websites also rank highly as go-to media when people seek information on processes, products and potential suppliers. And it’s not enough to simply have a website, unless you only want to use it as a reference tool for existing customers or for new prospects with which you have already established a relationship. If you want to find new business via search engines, you must perform continual search-engine optimization of your website.
Search engines reward higher rankings to websites that consistently add new content. Blogs can help in this arena, making a website more dynamic. Blogs can help position your company as a leader in a particular arena. However, regularly adding new website content takes time and money. Don’t set up a blog page unless you have a well-developed plan to keep it updated.
What about direct mail? This approach has evolved primarily into e-mail marketing, an affordable and relatively easy to reach the masses, provided your list is strong. However, physical mail, like print ads, still can serve as a great to establish your brand and stand out from the crowd.
And let’s not forget the value of face-to-face interaction for lead generation. Trade shows continue to provide an effective use of marketing-dollars. Just remember that effective trade-show communication takes time before, during and after the show to convert prospects into customers.