Marketing Communications – Changes in Technology, Customer Behavior and the Economy

It is no secret that the Internet and related new technology has changed the face of marketing communications. Much like the inception of radio and television affected business communications years ago, the Internet is turning marketing methods of the past on their heads and recreating the environmental landscape of buying and selling. History has shown there will be winners and losers in the midst of these changes, but you can stay on top by making sure your Online Marketing and Advertising efforts are current and applicable to today’s customer.

What is happening NOW in marketing communications?

Search engine optimization, video, social media, audio and RSS are just a few of the terms that are becoming an integral part of relevant marketing strategies. A shift in customer thinking and behavior has required business owners to leave behind old advertising methods and learn how to use these aforementioned tools to reach customers.

While ten years ago a banner ad may have pulled in the customers, today many customers will immediately view the ad skeptically. Replacing traditional advertising are customer recommendations and word-of-mouth through blogs, message boards and other forums.

In a way, this takes some of the financial pressure off of your shoulders, which is a relief in today’s fragile economic times. You don’t have to have deep pockets or break your revised budgets to purchase the big ads and flashy marketing in order to compete. Instead, you must know your niche well enough to provide the quality information customers are seeking. You also must learn where your customers are hanging out online, so you can join in their communities and discussions. We are transitioning to a new profession that takes dedication, insight, authenticity and smarts to succeed.

How can you become a marketing communications winner?

No business owner or brand manager wants to lose out on customers just because the world of advertising and marketing is changing. Good news–you don’t have to! In fact, you can thrive and see your business go to new levels if you implement an effective strategy that works in today’s market.
Below are three simple tips to help you find your way to success:

o Research in order to know your niche, your customers, your competitors and your keywords. Your research goal is to become an expert on not only your business niche but also your customers. You want to know who they are, where they go online and what words they plug into the search engines. Free search engines and keyword tools (such as the Google Keyword Tool) make this step simple.

o Get comfortable with the idea of using social media. If you want to connect with customers, you are going to have to tap into social media. By participating in blogs, networking sites and other online communities, you can work with your prospective customers on their level. These relationships can turn into dollar signs.

o Offer something of value to potential customers. Once you have made a connection with people online, you want to make sure you keep them engaged by offering them quality information and solutions to their problems. Doing this helps you to build rapport and trust as well as keep you in the fore-front of their minds when they are ready to buy.

Internet Marketing – Communication With Your Target Audience Is Key – 5 Tips

Why does success in the world of Internet marketing seem to come so easily to a few, while the rest seem to struggle with it at every turn? There are a few reasons for this common perception:

a. in reality, most Internet marketing “overnight success stories” are actually 5 or more years in the making; of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t start making money online right away – but to break 6 and eventually 7 figures online, you need to put in some serious sweat equity and have a steep learning curve

b. the most successful online marketers go to the trouble and expense of investigating and then harnessing tools that can magnify their own efforts by 10-100 times

c. successful Internet marketers know how to strategically align their online efforts with the needs of a hungry audience just looking for the content they are delivering

In particular, to be successful in Internet marketing, communication with your target site visitors is key. Here are 5 tips to attract and communicate with your target visitors:

1. Align your content with keywords that your target audience is looking for:

Think of the online marketing process as a tunnel (similar to the concept of a sales funnel). The would-be buyer needs to get into the tunnel, go past all of the other content out there, and arrive at your site’s landing page. Then, they need to go from that landing page to your online store page, affiliate links or content with AdSense ads. The easier they can make their way through that tunnel, the faster they will arrive at your door with cash in hand.

The more you can align the messaging and keywords in the content you create (both on-site and off-site) properly with the needs of your target group, the shorter and straighter that tunnel will be. Short, straight sales tunnel —-> more sales —-> happier Internet marketer.

2. Create content using media they relate to:

The name of the game is creating good off-site content that will get people to your site. Be sure to create content in multiple formats or modalities, including text (articles, blogs, lenses, hubs, microsites, etc.), video, audio, and Flash.

3. Build Web pages optimized for specific long-tail keywords:

All of this good off-site should be linking back to your primary website – this is where your money is made. This site needs to be comprised of multiple pages – at least 20 or more, if possible (don’t worry – you can add more over time if you don’t have that many now). Important: be sure that each page is optimized for a different unique long-tail keyword.

For example, if your site sells tankless water heaters, you may want to have various pages optimized for highly-searched long-tail keywords like “cheap tankless water heaters,” “wall-mounted tankless water heaters,” etc. Use a good keyword research tool to help you find a list of good keywords.

4. Create valuable content:

Of course, optimizing your site is a must, but make sure you are not just creating content for search engines. Rather, you need to be making excellent and valuable content for your target audience. Otherwise, once you get them to your site, they will go away as quickly as they arrived. Give them a reason to stay and buy from you.

5. Keep your visitors’ “buy buttons” in mind:

Focus intently upon just what it is that motivates your customers to buy from you. Remember, it is the value that they perceive – not the desire to give you money – that makes them buy. Spend some time thinking about their “buy buttons” and then optimize your site for those. A good guide is the techniques found in neuro-marketing and related fields.

Follow these 5 tips for success in Internet marketing through better communication with your target visitors.

Maximising the Marketing Communications Budget

Probably the hardest task that every senior marketing manager regularly faces is planning to maximise budget efficiency. Nowhere is this more challenging than when deciding on where to spend the marketing communications budget.

The exponential growth of new media covers every aspect of life from the second your (digital of course) radio alarm goes off in the morning through all the traditional offline media you’re exposed to over the course of the day. Once we go online and explore the huge demands on the budget related to email marketing, search engine optimisation, pay per click, web design and a plethora of other online marketing opportunities, the budget dilemma seems to become impossible. Various studies indicate the average person living in a developed country is exposed to anywhere between 3000 and 7000 differing advertising messages per day. If you’re targeting that person, then how do you choose the one or two messages that are going to grab their attention and generate the right response? Even for highly experienced marketers these are not easy decisions. Some will claim to take a highly scientific approach but in this article we will treat the budgeting exercise as a combination of art and science.

The answers can be found in a few key areas: The size of your brand and business, the nature of your target market, the relative size of your competitors, the level of experience you have gained from previous marketing activity and your personal predisposition to believe in a particular approach. I’ve packaged that into

Ten golden rules for planning an integrated advertising campaign:

1 Repetition builds awareness builds response

Don’t spread your budget too thin. It’s better to repeat your message three or four times to the same person in the same media than to spread your message to a wider audience that may only see it once or twice

2 Online marketing is fashionable but that doesn’t make it right for your business

If you know you can build your business by increasing your web visits then online expenditure makes sense. But if your business model is not dependent on your website be careful about throwing all your money online

3 The smaller your budget the more benefit Public Relations can provide

Public Relations takes time and effort but the results can be amazing and the monthly fee often equates to just one advertisement

4 The bigger your business the more important brand building

As a massive generalisation, small businesses need to focus on building response and every penny they spend on marketing is looking for a short-term return. In the long run it’s the budgets that invest in brand building that win but there’s no point in worrying about that when your budget is small.

5 Direct Mail and e-shots are the starting point for most small businesses

You can directly compare costs with return.

6 No more than 50% of your budget online

OK that’s not really a golden rule as some businesses can prosper never appearing outside the virtual world. But it’s rare to find a target market that is not responsive to offline communications and on average over 50% of ‘commercial’ web visits are driven by traditional media.

7 Information Is Power

Quite simply the more you understand your target market and their media consumption the better you can plan campaigns that connect with them. Also if something has worked before it will probably work again, but not in quite the same way. So learn from your successes as well as your mistakes.

8 Don’t swim with the big fish

If you’re a small fish then swim upstream or downstream of the big ones Taken from Adam Morgan’s book ‘Eating the Big Fish’ this rule simply says that challenger brands need to do things differently to the competition

9 Sponsorship is for laughs

If you have many millions of pounds or dollars to spend then sponsor a premiership football club. If your budget is smaller avoid spending too much money on simple brand awareness and make sure your brand values, unique selling points and call to action are built into your marketing communications

10 Integrated communications are impressive

Even better than repeating your message to one person in the same medium is getting that message across to that person through different marketing communications. A direct mail piece, an e-shot, a press ad combined with a PR article come together to make your budget look much bigger than it is

Finally, there’s an 11th rule too! If you can’t afford it then that rules it out. It seems obvious but a lot of highly experienced marketers make the mistake of wanting to try media they perceive to be prestigious such as National TV that soak up more than 50% of their budget and leave a lot of the more hard working, cost effective, demand driving media unaffordable.

To summarise, it’s art and science coming together, there are no definite right answers but there are a lot of obviously bad ones. If in doubt get an integrated marketing agencyto help you decide. Specialist agencies will always try to get as much of your budget as they can. An integrated agency might want almost your entire budget but it will work with you to maximise its effectiveness!

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