The turn of a new year serves as a bridge in many ways—spanning our past endeavors with the hope of successes to come. It is the same way with marketing.
Mention the “marketing bridge” and my mind quickly visualizes the majestic Mackinaw Bridge connecting Michigan’s two beautiful peninsulas. Supported by steel and concrete pillars anchored at the bottom of Lake Michigan, it serves as a reminder of the “marketing bridge” connecting consumers with business. One of the support pillars is advertising—a selling function that connects businesses with prospective customers.
For most successful businesses, advertising will always play an important role. So as we bridge 2016 to 2017, here are five top marketing resolutions to use in planning the New Year.
- Know what you are buying. Trust but verify. The amount of fraud taking place in the digital space will grow at an even faster rate than it did in 2016. Digital numbers are being greatly overstated according to marketing professor Mark Ritson in his address to the Australian Association of Advertisers. It is also reinforced by a recent article by Bob Hoffman. Unlike all other mediums, digital still lacks third-party accreditation.
- Protect the “top of the funnel.” Building awareness and creating brand recognition are more necessary than ever in today’s media-saturated world. The majority of consumers still buy from the people they think of first and feel the best about. Most can only recall two or three businesses in any given retail or service category, according to T.O.M.A. Research studies. Winning a top business category position in the minds of consumers still pays big rewards. Focusing advertising only on the bottom of the sales funnel—when the ultimate buying decision takes place—is risky. It may seem to make sense in the short term, but the long-term damage could be irreversible. People are less likely to buy from strangers. Being known before the need arises is still the best model.
- Don’t get caught up in the hype. Measure your advertising’s effectiveness at the cash register. Use the two sets of numbers that count: the number of transactions and their average size. These are the fair measuring sticks for every campaign. Do not allow anyone to convince you that soft digital metrics (“likes,” “opens,” “clicks,” “forwards,” etc.), are an acceptable substitute for the hard metric of “sales.” Resolve that the hard metrics are the ones you hold everyone accountable to in 2017.
- Waste is not affordable. Concentrate your budget on the ad medium that works. Spreading a little around to a lot of mediums may waste advertising dollars and cause all to fail. Confidence in advertising comes from developing a winning strategy, preparing an effective campaign and selecting the proper medium. Waste will become a hot topic in 2017, as more and more advertisers get much smarter than those selling ad space.
- Competitive advantage = sound. You have a great story to tell. Use the sound-driven medium of radio to tell your story to the masses. For many small and midsize businesses, the power of sound can be the marketing equalizer when taking on the big box competitors. Radio, specifically, gives you the needed frequency to effectively cut through the clutter. It’s the affordable medium that allows you to be consistent in reaching your target audiences. Businesses looking for a competitive advantage will find it on the radio in 2017.
We’re here to help. For assistance with the promotion of your business, please contact me, Duane Alverson. I’d love to talk with you about how to make 2017 your most successful year ever! Email me at ALVE2549@aol.com.