Have you ever been confused about where to invest your marketing dollars to get the biggest bang for your buck? Have you struggled with choosing whether you should advertise in your local newspaper, in the yellow pages, on roadside billboards, or even on the radio? If you have, you’re not alone. Most small business owners struggle with how to allocate their precious few marketing dollars amongst the many media choices available today.
The Five Key Questions To Determine Your Optimal Marketing Mix
Before you choose to invest in any marketing media you should step back and ask yourself five basic strategic marketing questions. The answer to these five questions will help you select the marketing media that will give your spa and pool business the best bang for your buck. The five questions are:
1. Who is my target market(s)?
This question sounds simple enough, but it’s essential that you clearly and concisely answer this question in order to choose the right media. Do you sell a high-end product or service that targets six figure income people or do you sell a low priced product for college kids?
To get a good feel for who your best target market(s) is you should start by analyzing your own customer database and draw some conclusions about who and what type of person is purchasing from you already. You might find some surprises.
2. What media in my local area does my target market watch, listen to, or read?
Once you’ve determined who your target market(s) is the next step is to do some research into what specific media they pay attention to. The best way to find out what your market pays attention to is to simply ask them. Ask them the names of the publications they subscribe to, the associations or groups they belong to, the radio stations they listen to, the cable television programs they watch, or the type of mail they open up and read. You’ll be amazed at the discoveries you’ll make when you ask these simple questions.
3. Which media can extend my message to the most people in my target market, per marketing dollar?
This is perhaps the most important question you should ask yourself as a small business owner. To answer this question you need a method of comparing the relative marketing investment of one media to another. By this I mean, you need an objective tool to measure what you get for your marketing dollar. A commonly used media buying measurement is the “CPM” calculation. The CPM calculation allows you to break down you media investment into cost per 1,000 “exposures.” For example, if your airtime for running a radio spot costs $500, and the radio station’s data shows 45,000 people matching the age of your target market audience are listening during the time period you’re considering, then you would compute CPM as follows: CPM = $500/45k = $.011. This means that you are paying $.01 for every person who is exposed to your advertisement.
You can use this tool to analyze each media package you’re considering.
4. What are my advertising objectives and how well does this media help me accomplish them?
Using the CPM calculation helps you answer which media can extend your message to the most people per marketing dollar, but it still doesn’t answer the question of how effective it will be to meet your advertising objectives.
For example, if your objective is to distribute free booklets or videos as a lead generating tool then you’ll want use media that allows people to see your video or booklet and have the time to write down a phone number or call a recorded message phone line. If you want to advertise a time sensitive special promotion then you need to only consider media that allows you to develop the advertisement and promote it in a very short time frame.
If you only want to advertise to specific neighborhoods you should narrow down your choice of media to those that allow you to pinpoint target neighborhoods. Determining what your advertising objectives are and only choosing those media options that help you meet your objective will quickly help you narrow down the best media choices for you.
5. How well will this media allow me to measure the return on my marketing dollars?
When all the dust settles, it’s your “return on your marketing dollar” (ROMD) that counts the most. NEVER choose a media or develop an advertisement that doesn’t allow you to precisely track and calculate your results. If there’s one complaint I hear the most in regards to advertising from small business owners, it’s their frustration with not being able to track their advertising results. This results from two things, (1) developing an ad that is untrackable, and (2) using media that makes it difficult to track response rates.
You can use the suggestions in this article to smartly narrow down your choices of media that will work for you; however, the only way to know for sure which media is best for your small business is to test, test, test. Testing allows you to know with accuracy what works and what doesn’t. Test small first to minimize your potential losses.
To test different media you’ll need to devise trackable advertisements and offers and then develop a system for tallying the results. Once you’ve found a media that you know for a fact is profitable for your spa and pool business, then it’s time to increase your investment in that media and maximize your returns.
© Copyright 2003 David Frey, Marketing Best Practices Inc.