marketing mediaHere’s a truth many small business owners DON’T want to embrace, much less give recognition to: The more marketing media you can use simultaneously, the more money you’ll make. You’ll also be a LOT less FRAGILE and vulnerable to an economic downturn, a serious competitor, commoditization, media disruption (like what happened to fax broadcast), or other disruption. I would encourage you to pause for a moment and let that sink in. Think on it long and hard. I just gave you a million-dollar “secret.”

So why don’t more businesses have it? Because everyone — and I do mean everyone — wants the postcard they can e-mail to drive in clients. The “one thing” that is more important than everything else. Gimme an EASY BUTTON, for goodness’ sake! But the reality is, no business gets rich depending on ONE media, ONE strategy, ONE anything.

There is power and stability in diversity and complexity. Sure, you have to start somewhere, and often “one thing” done is better than doing nothing. But as quickly as you can, you have to move beyond simple to complex. From one-shot messaging to multiple marketing media, all interwoven, all supporting the other, all driving toward the same outcome. So let’s break this down …

Marketing media diversification

There are basically seven types of media:

  1. “Authoritative” Print: Magazines, newspapers, books, etc.
  2. Broadcast: Real TV and radio — NOT YouTube, not podcasts
  3. Social Media: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  4. Direct Mail
  5. Digital Media: E-mail, texting, retargeting ads, organic search, pay-per-click, bloggers, etc.
  6. Phone Calls
  7. Human: Networking events, trade shows, referrals, canvassing, salespeople, etc.

Within each of these categories, there is a lot to know. MANY ways to screw something up. The list is long. Lots to do. But when done right, any one of these marketing media can deliver results. It comes down to Market, Message, Media, and Math – the MATH often being the one most misunderstood.

You have to make up in QUANTITY what you lack in skill, too broad targeting, watered-down messaging, and a weak offer. That’s why spammers still exist. Despite the fact that only a teeny, tiny fraction of a percentage actually makes it through, much less get clicked on, SOME DOES. They make up in MATH (quantity and frequency) what they screw up in too-broad targeting, poor messaging, and copywriting.

Examples of marketing success

But if you look at the most successful companies, they aren’t just using ONE simple media to sell. They are using ALL of the media or at least multichannel marketing. Look at Google as an example. They frequently use direct mail, trade show advertising, HUMAN marketing (call centers that are essentially sales departments, as well as sales executives who sell AdWords to major accounts), distribution channels (via social media marketing companies and ad agencies), and print advertising. They ARE the social media platform, and they still use these methods of marketing.

What I do for my company — and for my clients — is create integrated campaigns that use multimedia. Offline driving to online, to then follow up with e-mail, retargeting, and sales calls. Or online leads generated and then followed up with direct mail and telephone calls and e-mails. Essentially taking multiple lines of twine, weaving them into a strong rope. And in today’s grossly DISTRACTED environment, you must utilize multi-step, multimedia marketing to generate reasonable results.

It used to be we could send out a letter with a fax-back form and get responses. NOT TODAY. Even in my own business I’ve had to create a far more complicated, sophisticated approach to selling than sending out a three-step campaign as I’ve done in the past. This is happening to ALL of us — all marketers, all businesses. We live in a world of zero need. Nobody is looking for you anymore. Everyone’s pretty much satiated — AND distracted by things far more interesting and entertaining to them than IT support (or marketing). So if you want more clients, the bar has been raised, the level of difficulty multiplied.

Failure is simple

That’s why most marketing fails: It’s ONE channel, ONE step. Direct mail without phone follow-up. E-mail sent without some type of offline follow-up, or JUST e-mail sent. Also, TOO FEW sent. A client recently asked to cancel his membership because he was “not getting results.” When pressed, he sheepishly admitted that all he had done was send out 10 letters in over three months. Yes, that’s an extreme example, but no worse than someone sending out 50 and expecting miracles to happen.

In almost every case, getting APPOINTMENTS with qualified prospects in business-to-business REQUIRES a complex, sophisticated marketing PROCESS. So how many steps are enough? The answer is as many as it takes to get the result. Variables come into play, making it impossible for a simple answer to that question: quality and relationship with the list. The offer and copy. TIMING. Who else is talking to them? Who is the incumbent provider?

More complexity and work

Next question in line, how MANY is enough? Again, same variables apply. It should be determined by working backwards from a goal. Two new clients a month will require eight appointments if the close rate is 25 percent. Eight appointments will (most likely) require at least 16 leads generated. Generating 16 leads from a list of warm, prequalified UNCONVERTED LEADS may only take a list of 500 to 550 (3 percent response) IF the copy is powerful, offer irresistible, and message actually delivered and read. To an ice-cold list, 16 appointments may require a reach of 3,000 (0.5 percent response) due to the lack of relationship.

Of course, all of this REQUIRES a desire to grow. You will need help from a sharp, ambitious marketing manager. You will need to hire an inside sales team to follow up, work the leads, send materials, book appointments, and close sales. You will need to hire techs so you can stop doing the IT work and focus on running the business. If this all sounds like a big, annoying, giant pain-in-the-rear, that’s because it is. Both good news and bad news. Bad news because, heck, who wants or needs more complexity and work? GOOD news because it immediately shuts down 80 percent or more of your competition who can’t or simply won’t do the work. Others’ sloth becomes your competitive advantage.

Photo: S Buwert/Shutterstock

Robin Robins

Posted by Robin Robins

Robin Robins is the CEO and Founder of TechnologyMarketingToolkit.com, the largest sales and marketing consulting firm in the IT channel, specializing in sales-generating marketing campaigns for MSPs, VARs, and solution providers. To date, over 7,000 IT services firms have enrolled in one or more of her programs. Click here for more information and to request a free one-on-one marketing consultation and marketing roadmap for your IT services firm.

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