In the ‘old days’, creating awareness of a product or service in the marketplace required a simple and very straightforward approach. Most of us just advertised in the media available at the time. These outlets included newspaper, radio, television and magazines. Frankly, it was a no-brainer. We decided on an ad budget, determined the appropriate percentage of the budget to be allocated to a particular vehicle, created and placed the advertising and tracked the results.
All of that has changed.
In this environment, an effective marketing strategy must be concentrated in four distinct, key areas:
Search Engine Presence and Optimization
A very large percentage of the buying public now looks at the Internet as not just a choice, but rather as the first choice when making purchasing decisions.
Traditional Outlets (Newspaper, radio, TV, magazines, etc)
These are still important if the product or service is offered locally versus globally. However, many people will choose the Internet first even when making local purchasing decisions.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites are also being usby a very large percentage of the buying public. If a business is not there, it runs the risk of being invisible to a large segment of its potential new client base.
Bloggers are fast becoming the new media. It is urgent that any business create awareness of products or services here or risk losing those who look to blog reviews and opinions when making purchasing decisions.
It is a much bigger game, and tracking ROI has become very difficult.
In addition business owners must be aware of the shift that has occurred from outbound strategies to inbound strategies. In years past, creating awareness was primarily an outbound strategy. We found potential customers and clients and delivered a message using the tools of the times.
This outbound strategy was a ‘yell in the client’s ear’ approach that was based primarily on advertising in the vehicles available at the time. Commercials, billboards, direct mail and like vehicles formed the basis of the marketing toolkit.
In today’s environment, businesses must marry that outbound strategy with a laser sharp inbound strategy. The inbound strategy allows the potential client to easily find the product or service they seek. Search engine optimization and Internet publicity strategies are the primary components of this inbound strategy.
It is a much bigger game and the learning curve is very long. However, though there is much more that must be dealt with in this environment, the ability to take the little mom and pop corner store to the global marketplace brings something to the table that was perhaps not there before.