You can’t eat steak on a Ramen noodle budget.
Marketing isn’t cheap. Actually, that should be rephrased: effective marketing isn’t cheap. While not every company in Washington DC has a marketing budget the size of GEICO or McDonalds, the most successful companies, both large and small, have a realistic understanding of the cost of marketing and a commitment to spend effectively.
There are two primary reasons why effective marketing is an expensive proposition: time and fragmentation.
First, effective marketing takes time. There is no way around this. You must be patient. Second, frequency is a vital component to a successful campaign, regardless of the medium. The majority of consumers don’t take action immediately upon exposure to a marketing message. Multiple studies have shown that ON AVERAGE, the typical consumer must be exposed to an advertising message a minimum of 3 times before it sinks in. Forget the studies, and take off your marketing hat. Think about all the marketing you are exposed to everyday. The reality is we dismiss a lot of it, but not all of it. What are the circumstances that cause you to react to a marketing message? Usually it is something that addresses a specific need.
Unfortunately, the “needs” of your potential customers aren’t conveniently scheduled for us. So we need to be top of mind when it is. Whether it is creating a good feeling in you customer’s mind through branding or an SEM campaign on Google, to be effective, we need to be there when the customer is ready. This takes time, patience and good planning.
The other reason for the expense is the fragmentation of your marketing mix. There are so many marketing choices these days and while you can’t be everywhere, you can’t be nowhere, either. Unfortunately there is no secret formula. Every situation is a little bit different. So how do you determine where and how to spend your money?
- Clearly define your target market – Use the vehicles that can reach the right people most efficiently.
- Don’t choose your marketing strictly on price – The adage “you get what you pay for” is very true in media. Most media is sold on a supply and demand situation. If something seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Others have tried probably tried it and it didn’t work very well, thus creating plenty of supply, hence the low cost.
- Don’t waste your money – If you can’t afford to properly use a medium, don’t use it. Remember frequency. If you don’t run a campaign that can be heard/seen enough times to create the frequency needs, don’t spend the money. No matter how much you like the medium and no matter what the cost.
The good news in all this is that effective marketing provides a measurable return. However, investments take money. As the old adage goes, it takes money to make money.
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