“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” –Thomas Alva Edison
Marketing and advertising inevitably require some lead time but too often businesses don’t plan ahead. For marketing dollars to be well spent some preparation is required before implementation. It is important to plan far enough ahead to establish objectives, determine processes for execution, decide who the responsible parties will be and then follow through. It’s expensive when these steps are not taken.
Some marketing campaigns take more lead time than others. If a lot of different tasks performed by different specialists are involved, the requirements for planning expand. Fewer moving parts are less cumbersome to implement.
In most cases, marketing begins with the website. New web pages are relatively easy to add. Using a content management system, web pages only require a facilitator.
Despite the emphasis on other channels, email marketing continues to be a staple for most businesses. Three quarters of all companies surveyed in 2011 said that email provides an excellent or good return on their investment. And email marketing programs like MailChimp, Constant Contact and others help you create professional looking emails and also determine your effectiveness through analytics.
Direct mail marketing can be extremely effective for retail stores and local service providers because it is memorable and can be well targeted. New programs and processes have made direct mail quite valuable in converting prospects but a good campaign requires a month or more before delivery. Before a piece can be in the recipient’s hands copywriting, images, design, research and mailing are all required. You can learn more about direct mail on a previous post .
Assisting connections between people and collective sharing of information, social media includes short posts, blogs, video, and interactive forums. Social media requires knowledge of the technologies required and the time to maintain the campaign. Unfortunately, what started out looking like a magic bullet requires some lead time after all. It is most effective with an editorial calendar and whenever a campaign is established it must be sustained.
To use the online advertising channel called PPC, you need to determine the keywords that your best prospects will use to search for you. With PPC, when the potential client uses that search term they will see an ad for you. If your ad is enticing they will be drawn to click through to your website and hopefully will decide to buy.
The best news is that you only pay for the advertisement when someone chooses to click on it and you can establish a budget before you start. Once you have spent your limit, your ads are no longer available.
Planning? You must determine what the relevant keywords are and what content you need in your ad. For some businesses, PPC is a great marketing channel.
Banners include images but work like Pay-Per-Click. Well done, adding images will increase their effectiveness, but it also adds to the time and costs.
In some industries, radio is spectacularly successful as a marketing channel. Having more spots is most effective (which we described on July 3) . The lead time required is minimal, especially with a smaller or more tightly targeted market. Make sure which format that will attract your best prospects by checking the demographics and then write the copy carefully.
TV has the advantage of being both visual and auditory, but it is also more expensive than radio. The reach is even more fragmented and the costs are usually higher than radio because it requires sound and video. Writing, presentation, and talent all count so production takes time. In some industries and markets it is very effective, however.
Events and Sponsorships
It seems obvious that there are a lot of moving parts in producing an event. The easiest way to do an event is to let someone else manage all the production aspects and be the provider of the branding and hosting. Since the venue, decorations, advertising, registrations, financial management, traffic flow, refreshments, lighting, entertainment, parking, communications, staffing, etc. will all need to be handled, putting on an event always takes time.
Sponsoring an event is much less difficult. Finding the right relationships to leverage and then using them to improve your visibility and sales can be done reasonably quickly.
The key to successful marketing is planning ahead. Start your marketing campaigns in advance to put all the pieces together.