Lesson One Continued: Media Channels

Ah yes, time to for final M in our Market, Message, and Media foundation. To recap:
  • Market is the "Who You Will Serve"
  • Message is "What You Will Say"
  • Media is "Where You Will Market"
Notice how Media is last. This is completely intentional. One of the biggest mistakes is to immediately jump to "Where" instead of thinking through the market or the message. For example: We immediately jump onto Twitter... but is your market on there? We immediately want to advertise on radio... but does your market listen to that station? One of the mistakes when spending marketing dollars is investing in media without having a good grasp on your market or your message. If either market or message is missing, it doesn't matter where you advertise! If you don't know who your market is (or it's broadly defined as "people who need accounting work"), then you can literally justify advertising everywhere. And if you have a healthy, six-figure marketing budget... go for it. But if you're like most firms, in that your marketing dollars actually needs to bring in an ROI within the next 30,60 or 90 days... Then you cannot afford to use the typical "shotgun" marketing approach, spraying ads everywhere with hopes that someone sees something. So we must define a market, one that has the ability to both utilize and pay for our services, and craft a message, service, or offering that will serve them above and beyond the competition. If we have those two things in place, we can then ask: Where does my market go to make buying decisions? Where do they go to get an informed opinion about something? You can then list these media channels and begin building a "media list". For example, if we sell to construction companies, it might be: 1. List of trade magazines they read 2. List of websites or blogs they visit 3. List of top authors or consultants in the space 4. Review popular search terms for that industry and so on. Some of the media channels might be expensive (ads in large publications), others might be cheap (or even free). List as many as you can, we can always prioritize later. Once the list is created, the next step is to put some numbers behind it. Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.27.51 AM I cannot stress enough how important this process is. With a full list of targeted media channels (try to get at least 10), you can then determine, based on price and expected return, which ones to try out first. Some will work, others will need to be tweaked, and some will get dropped completely. The point is that you have a targeted segment, a compelling message, and appropriate channels to test and measure. Once you start measuring your marketing, you regain control your budget, your growth, and your cash flow. For example, look at the sample data I put in the graph above. When I contact a media channel, I always want to know what the average views, clicks, visitors (anything) a typical campaign can bring in. They might not give you a straight answer and say "well that depends on ....", but get a typical, or average, response they've seen with a similar ad in the past three months. They will have that information on file. Knowing this limits the risk of your investment and sets up a better expectation for you (and your marketing dollars) and the results you can expect. As always, if it's measured, then you'll know for sure how the spend/marketing channel went. Finding a profitable marketing channel might be challenging at first, but it's not impossible, and certainly obtainable if you set up the three "M's" marketing foundation as early as possible!

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