Rapaport Magazine

Creating a Voice

By Lara Ewen
Marketing is not a one-size-fits-all concept. What works on television won’t fly on Facebook, and strategies for talking to print journalists will flop on Twitter. Our experts have laid out some straightforward guidelines on how best to take advantage of the many different media options available. 

Social Media Marketing
    Get them talking. The more your customers engage with you online, sharing information and talking about you, the less ad space you have to buy, according to Michael Goldberg, partner and chief marketing officer at advertising agency Deutsch New York. “Give people something to talk about and to share, and you won’t have to spend as much to get them to talk about you,” he says.
    Do it yourself. “If you only have $1,000, you’ll have to do your marketing yourself,” says Gretel Going, a partner at Channel V, a New York City–based media agency. “Get a personality and pitch yourself on Facebook.” Kate Fleming, also a partner at Channel V, agrees. “Start with the things that are free,” she says. “Go on Facebook and Twitter and use your knowledge of your product. Be genuine. Create a personality and a voice that people can connect with. That’s something anyone can do.”
    Pick one. “Don’t feel like you have to be on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on YouTube,” says Fleming. “You don’t have to be on Instagram. Pick one and focus on it. If you find your customer is on Facebook a lot, then invest a significant amount of your marketing time there. And look at brands that are doing very well on that site and mimic them until you find your way. Eighty percent of what you’re sharing should be relationship-building, and 20 percent should be about your product.”
    Content counts. “The focus in social media needs to be on content, not advertising,” says Mark Schaefer, executive director of Knoxville, Tennessee–based consulting firm Schaefer Marketing Solutions. Schaefer, who is also the author of three best-selling marketing books and a professor of marketing at Rutgers University, continues, “Focus number two needs to be on finding a relevant audience. This is what most businesses miss. They know they need a blog, or Facebook or Twitter. But that content isn’t working for them unless it ignites and unless it gets shared. So you have to find people who are interested in you. When they have a question and they Google it, you want the answer to be you. Not your competitors, and not someone who hates you.” Populate social media with your content so when consumers are looking for an answer to a question, a solution to a problem or just a fresh, new idea for a project, they find you.
    Start a conversation. “There are different ways to engage these days, but the very best is in the social sphere,” says Pedro Simko, client director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland, part of the global advertising agency network of Saatchi & Saatchi. “Facebook, Twitter. It’s very good to make a statement and then see what happens and get people talking to you. It’s not free, but practically free. In the past, marketing was a function of money, and the companies who had more money tended to do better. There were some very big economies of scale. And when I say Twitter is not free, I mean that when you are using it as a medium, you still have to pay someone — an advertising agency or someone on your staff — to tweet for you. I think it’s difficult to do yourself. To do it well, hiring professionals is important.”

Print Media Marketing
    Create something tangible. “Print is not completely dead,” says Goldberg. “In some ways, it’s timeless. If you think about it in terms of obituaries, it’s there forever. Print media memorialize and make it official. It is getting smaller, though, in terms of its effectiveness.” To that, Fleming adds, “People talk a lot about how print is dying and nobody reads the newspaper. But there is a still a time and a place for reading a magazine. I think if you’re really passionate about something, it’s nice to have a physical, tangible thing.” You can hold print ads in your hand, carry them with you, pass them around, hang them on the wall. There is still usually more impact and more depth with a full-page color print ad compared with a computer screen or other window view.
    Timing is everything. “Pitching print media takes a level of sophistication,” continues Fleming. “And when you’re pitching, you should not be pitching about what’s in it for you. You always have to pitch to the journalist. Tell them what’s in it for them.” Of course, this requires getting to know journalists, their specialties and their editorial calendars so you get your product in front of the right person at the right time.

Radio and Television Marketing

   Forrester’s March 2013 report, titled “How To Build Your Brand With Branded Content,” said that “Two-thirds of U.S. online adults have two or more internet-connected devices, such as laptops, smartphones or tablets. And 81 percent of TV-watching online adults who own at least one of these connected devices go online while watching TV.” To that, Goldberg adds, “The impact of a television commercial has been greatly exaggerated.”
    Create drama. Radio ads get repeated over and over during a set time, and people are often listening to the radio when they’re in their cars. This creates both a sense of urgency and a sense of immediacy, which makes radio a good vehicle for announcing sales or special events. If you want people to come to your store at a certain time for a sale, promotion, special event — like a product rollout, store opening, designer appearance or trunk show — “then radio is good, because it will make people come in at that specific time,” says Goldberg. “The benefit of radio is the frequency of the message.”
    Time your ads strategically. “Radio to me is one of those markets that’s tough to play,” says Randy Bowden, principal partner at bowden2bowden llc, a Georgia-based marketing and virtual branding consultancy. “But if you strategically place your ads during a morning drive time, maybe.” Remember that your customers are most likely to listen to the radio in their cars when heading to work, or when heading home from work. That’s the best time to reach them.
    Know your market. Radio ads won’t work in every geographic area. “This is where strategy and knowing your audience come in,” says Fleming. “If you’re marketing in Maine and your audience is engaged with radio, then that’s valuable. In New York City, it’s totally different.” Bowden adds that “Radio and television advertising are fading the fastest, outside of newspapers and print. Newspapers are withering on the vine. Magazines I’d still stay with, especially local magazines. But when an ad comes on television, my mind wanders to the second screen, meaning my iPhone.”
    Make content compatible. “You need to think about who is consuming your advertising,” says Simko. “People who watch TV prefer someone to choreograph their entertainment for them, because if you wanted to choreograph your own entertainment, you’d go to your computer or your mobile phone. If you’re watching TV, you’re lying on your couch and clicking around, sitting back and just being entertained. So if you’re advertising in that context, you’d better make sure that you’re doing what viewers expect — and that’s entertaining them.”

Catalog and Billboard Marketing
    Changing forms. “Direct mail has turned into email,” says Goldberg. “And catalogs are very important now. They’re just called websites today.”
    Everything has a place. “I am a traditional marketer who has advanced into the digital space,” says Bowden. “When I started marketing many years ago, we didn’t have websites and computers, but now those have melted into the mix. But that doesn’t mean that billboards along the roadside don’t still mean something. I look at the equation as a whole. For a local independent store operating in Athens, Georgia, I may drive to work every day, and after about 30 times, I may pass this billboard and I will recognize it. Or a billboard will help me find a local store. And now they have digital billboards.”
    Think local. “When you market nationally, you have to take into account a lot of different audiences,” says Fleming. “If you’re marketing locally, you know all about the weather, seasonal needs and you can do all kinds of campaigns around regional needs. You can be much more personal.”

Marketing for What’s Next
   Remember that you need to find out where your customer is — at home, in a car, on foot, in an office, on Facebook, staring at a smartphone — to get the most mileage from your ad. The message also should be customized for how your audience is viewing it. In the end, the most effective marketing in the world will work only if the message is appropriate for the media, if your target customer sees and understands it and if it resonates with him.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - October 2013. To subscribe click here.

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