Is less really more when it comes to the marketing channels your business or nonprofit uses? Is being ‘everywhere’ the best way to get found by online and offline target audiences? The answer to both is universal – sometimes, yes…sometimes, no.
Having established that every for-profit and nonprofit entity has varying bandwidth, differing budgets and a unique level of ‘risk tolerance’ when it comes to marketing and public relations, we want to take you through the key questions to ask before adding another marketing channel to the mix. While sometimes more really is better, the last thing you want to do is spread resources too thin or hop onto a bandwagon that isn’t going to help achieve your end goals.
Do you have a strategy in-place to support the chosen channel?
We just can’t say it enough – you can’t undervalue strategy. Without a clearly defined marketing communications strategy in place, inconsistency of brand and message is inevitable. If you decide 2015 is the time to add a new marketing channel to the mix, consider how it will integrate with both your existing business plan and marketing strategy. Will this new channel allow you to reach an untapped target audience? Deepen relationships with existing clients? Increase market share?
Do you have the bandwidth to keep it current?
Being realistic about resources is critical for marketing success. When choosing whether or not to diversify your marketing channels, consider if the new channel will be a replacement or an addition. Further, who on the marketing team – be they internal or external – will assume ownership of content for same? While the newest social media channel, for example, may be tempting to tackle, it is important to be sure it can be consistently populated with compelling, relevant and high-quality content.
Are their ways to work around the bandwidth challenge?
If you’ve decided diversification is a must in 2015 but your firm’s bandwidth is at capacity, it’s time to get creative. What are your untapped resources? For nonprofits, this may entail corporate partnerships that include in-kind services, volunteers or Board Members with specific areas of expertise, opportunities to co-op services with other nonprofits and the list goes on. On the for-profit side, this may entail shifting marketing team members’ responsibilities to best leverage everyone’s skills and optimizing strategic partnerships. The key is to be creative. If you’re convinced adding the aforementioned new marketing channel is key to business success in 2015, commit to finding a way to make it happen.
How long will it take to realize ROI?
Sizing up, and keeping an eagle eye on, the competition is an important part of both building a marketing strategy and maintaining an effective marketing program. Just as your company or cause is evaluating whether or not to tweak its approach to marketing, so is the competition. That said, if you’re a company that has typically allocated its entire marketing budget to earned media and is considering a multi-channel advertising program, it’s critical to know where your competitors are investing their advertising dollars. A modest spend with the same radio station your competitor has made a significant investment with may not yield the return you hoped for.
What if it doesn’t work as planned?
Remain nimble and be sure you have a ‘plan b.’ The channels that perform best for some organizations are the same channels that are the least successful with others. It all has to do with your firm’s unique blend of branding, messaging and audience. While you don’t want to abandon your new marketing channel before it has an appropriate amount of time to prove its worth, you also don’t want to over-invest resources in an underperforming tactic.
When you set the benchmarks for evaluating the new channel’s success, be realistic about the amount of time it will take to launch your new channel and any additional training that may be necessary to get the marketing team up-to-speed. Measure often, be open to tweaking your content and hone in on ways to replicate any successes achieved along the way.
While expanding your suite of marketing tools may require additional resources, the benefits of reaching the right audiences with the right messages can be limitless.