I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
Developing a diversified marketing mix is crucial to the success of any advertising campaign. One marketing medium does not have a broad enough reach to fully target an audience. Running a minimum five-touch point marketing mix will help ensure the advertising message fully penetrates the market.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Television</b> is a high-volume lead source with a broad reach. This medium offers a wide range of programming that can be purchased to reach most target demographics. Testing is key to determine which programming will produce efficient results. A minimum of two spots per hour should be run to achieve optimal frequency and drive results. Female audiences typically watch during the day, and male audiences tune into late fringe and overnights. Prime time should be used mainly for branding awareness.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Another source that can be strong for delivering the advertising message is <b>daily papers.</b> Results vary by market and are usually stronger in larger markets. The creative should be designed with the layout of the publication in mind. The creative should be eye-catching, stand out, and make the reader want to take action. Positioning also is important. If running a display ad in a daily paper is too expensive, line ads are an economical alternative but not always as effective.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Job and discount papers are great for traditional ads, as well as inserts. These are usually much more affordable and typically great response vehicles for specific target markets. This is an efficient medium to run multiple advertisements.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> To reach a more targeted demographic with a specific message, <b>direct mail</b> can be a strong medium. Of all the sources used for advertising, direct mail allows the advertiser to speak directly to potential consumers and customize the piece to them personally. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Web-based advertising</b> is on the rise and becoming an integrated part of most marketing campaigns. Pay Per Lead (PPL), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and social networking were barely in existence five or 10 years ago. Present day, these mediums are a thriving source for advertising. <br clear="none" /> PPL allows prospective consumers to research information online by searching keywords or directories. The prospect seeking additional information fills out a request form, which includes contact information. The Website then qualifies the lead based on the filters established. If the prospect qualifies as a lead, the contact information is sent via e-mail or Web-based posting.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> SEO is a process of Web page development that focuses on a Web search engine's ability to "read" a Web page. SEO should be seen as an adjective to describe the technical nature of the content the Web page presents. SEO is most effective with monthly review and refinement, and should focus on legitimacy and relevancy.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> SEM is the purchasing and management of key word buys associated with “like” phrases used in searches that drive potential sales to your Website. It also can include the establishment of “links” to your site that increase the relevancy of directed key word searches. This is ongoing, and protection is critical for your branded name.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Now more than ever, traditional media drives more traffic to the Web. Many advertisers have seen their Web results outperforming traditional media and made the fatal mistake of moving their budgets to only interactive channels. Without traditional media to drive traffic to the Internet, Web results dropped off.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Internal lead databases</b> are prime for converting leads into customers. These are individuals who already have expressed interest in a specific service. They are familiar with the company and for one reason or another did not convert. Regular e-mail campaigns to this list are an inexpensive way to keep the brand in front of the prospect. Refreshing the database list regularly is essential to a successful e-mail campaign.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> To determine which marketing mix is most effective, testing and evaluation are needed. All leads or inquiries should be tied to the advertising that generated the lead. Unique phone numbers and URLs make this tracking possible. This analysis should be well tracked to compare against as new tests occur. Once enough data is collected, benchmarks can be set to compare future lead flow against and ultimately increase efficiencies.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Tracking leads alone does not help increase revenue. Conversion also must be compared to the lead sources and evaluated to determine which medium is producing the most qualified leads. Most markets will take three to four months to develop an optimal marketing mix. Based on the results, weekly or monthly updates to the advertising campaign may be needed. Patience is important during this period, but keep in mind that making too many frequent changes can make it difficult to determine what is working. Stick with what you know, and what the numbers continue to support. The rest is history.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <i>Stacy Scott manages and maintains Gragg Advertising's Account Service staff. She oversees all account relations and has developed strategic marketing plans for the agency's major clients.</i>