By Tammy Salvo
If you've been in business for any length of time, nobody needs to tell you marketing to the consumer has changed. What once required a one-dimensional message to reach the masses now requires 20 messages through a multitude of channels to gain the same impact. Although there’s a shift in focus and the distribution of marketing dollars to online strategies, offline marketing is a viable way to support your online efforts. So how do companies manage the balancing act between the two? Some seek the professional expertise of a marketing agency.
Partnering with an agency is a great strategy to bring consistency and cohesion between online and offline marketing efforts. A full-service agency will not only expedite the launch of your programs, it will manage the research, strategy, creative development and outcomes thereof. It ensures your marketing dollars, whether online or off, work in conjunction to promote a consistent message, brand and image.
Think of your quest for a marketing partner as you would the search for a new employee. There are several factors to consider. Experience, talent pool, expertise, recognition and philosophy are key factors, but you must also understanding the company's strategic approach to campaigns, the services it provides, and the driving force behind its programs.
Knowing Your Customers
One of the top goals for any marketing effort is to win new customers! You don't just want people, you want customers who will evaluate, purchase, use, renew and share their experiences of what it's like to do business with you. It’s important to connect with customers when and where they want to connect. Therefore, it’s critical to partner with an agency that not only understands your business but, more important, knows your customers, where to find them and how to communicate with them.
Marketing without measuring is costly. An experienced agency will not only share its experiences, it should provide reports and case studies highlighting the results of its efforts. During the interview process, ask questions to determine how quickly clients recognize a return on investment, the company's approach for developing new campaigns, and what pre- and post-data analytics it provides. An agency that not only finds value but recognizes the power in research and analytics is one with your best interests at heart.
What’s on the Menu
People appreciate clear, concise, easy-to-read menus. The same is true for a list of services provided by an agency. When reviewing a candidate's offerings, analyze the “menu.” Is it logical? Does it contain the items you need? Does it highlight specialties? Analyze carefully, as the menu structure may give insight to the company’s process for creating, sharing and managing campaigns. Here are a few items that may be most beneficial to an offline campaign:
- Classified ads
- Direct-mail programs
- Postcard campaigns
- Card decks
- Door hangers, fliers and circulars
- TV and radio
- Public relations
You Get What You Pay For
We’re all cost-conscious when it comes to spending our marketing budget. We hold those dollars near and dear to our hearts, minds and bank accounts. However, I challenge you to change your perspective a bit. Let’s not look at the spend independent of the return on the investment.
For example, let’s say you receive a quote of $3,500, targeting 1,000 prospects using print, direct mail and door hangers. Instead of going into what might be construed as sticker shock, take a step back and think on this: Industry studies show a typical new tenant generates $500 in revenue. If your new campaign costs approximately $3,500, it would take seven new tenants to recognize a full return. The expectation of seven new customers out of a thousand is not far-fetched and, more realistically, on the lower end of the actual response rate.
In the world of advertising, one fact remains: Your success depends on the experience and expertise of the people who handle your business. It's becoming imperative to engage an advertising agency that becomes a extension of your business—a resource of new ideas and new perspectives, all focused on helping you reach your goals.
Whether you're marketing locally or nationally, online or offline, it's important to build and implement a plan that’s perfectly aligned with your overall objectives. Your strategy should not only build a relationship between you and your customers, but engage and retain them. Remember, the strength of any plan stems from the ability to convert initial interest into real sales.
Tammy Salvo is a media consultant for Michaels Wilder, a full-service marketing-communications company specializing in online advertising, social-media marketing, website development, mobile media, brand development, research and consulting, media planning, and talent management for the self-storage industry. She has more than 20 years of experience in directing sales and marketing efforts, with a solid background in profit generation through market research, trend analysis, brand positioning, and strategic marketing on a national and international scope. For more information, call 800.423.6468; visit www.michaelswilder.com .