Are You Wasting 80% of Your marketing Budget?

I am reading David Meerman Scott's new book, World Wide Rave, and just came upon something that I wanted to pass along.

Whenever he gives a public presentation, Scott asks the audience members to raise their hands to signify "yes" answers to the following four questions. "In the past two months, either privately or professionally, in order to find an answer to a problem or research (or buy) a product, have you:"

  1. Responded to a direct-mail advertisement?
  2. Used magazines, newspapers, TV or radio?
  3. Used Google, or another search engine?
  4. Emailed a friend, colleague, or family member (or used instant messaging, chat rooms, or equivalent) and received as a response a URL, which you then clicked to visit the web site?"

His results over the course of over a year, have been remarkably consistent, regardless of what demographic he is speaking to. Less than 20 percent of the people have raised their hands to the first two questions (accessing mainstream media to find answers or look for products), but 80 to 100% of the people have raised their hands to the latter two options (accessing the web to get this information).

What is the point to this impromptu survey? Clearly the web is where people look for answers, information and solutions. They go to the web when they want to buy a product or service, and are paying less and less attention to traditional media (hence the ever growing number of print newspapers that are failing).

But how do these same marketers promote their own services or products? You guessed it, through traditional channels(which incidentally tend to cost far more than online media).

I see this as well in my target market: professional services organizations and individual professionals that want to become recognized authorities in their fields.

While they themselves look for information online, they still resort to older media forms to get the word out about their own expertise and services. To change this, I am constantly urging them to get involved in social media and blogging. I know of no other way to fast-track a service provider to "online stardom" in the marketplace.

Social media marketing, in particular, is a way to allow the marketplace to do your marketing for you. If your organization is willing to invest in putting quality content that solves problems for your intended clients, social networking can create an online "buzz" about who you are and what you can do.

"Buzz," is simply modern terminology for word of mouth, except that web 2.0 media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and your own blog are involved in this rapid transmission of information.

Here is a very, very important point: Just as in the offline world, buzz or word of mouth marketing hinges on one vital thing. Whatever you offer must communicate value. When you venture into these new arenas, you must ask yourself if your value, your ability to solve urgent problems, or your ability to help clients achieve important goals, is clearly evident in your content. Otherwise, your message will get lost in all the noise online.

It seems tragic that during this economy, when firms are failing for lack of new business coming in the door, that they are failing to target the 80% or more of their potential clients who are looking on the web for them right now.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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March 20, 2009 at 8:58 AM dbuffaloe said...

You raise some interesting points and I agree that in terms of a direct response most people are turning to online resources. As you state, the quality of your message and offering value is the key. It is still going to require multiple touches to get a prospect to respond to that key message. You can't rely solely on social media in hopes of creating a buzz. I belive integrating both online and offline activities is the best solution, if your budget allows.

March 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM barry harrison said...

I recently attended a seminar on Lead Generation at the Society of Marketing Professional Services in SF. NOT ONCE did the subject of online lead generation come up. It was as if they were in a time warp, c. 1987. And this is SAN FRANCISCO!

March 20, 2009 at 4:10 PM Charles Brown said...

Hey thanks to both of you. What is interesting is both of you, dbuffaloe and barry, demonstrate a contrast. I certainly agree with dbuffaloe that buzz cannot be created without multiple touch points.

Ideally, yes both offline and online tools should be involved, but you can still create buzz entirely with online buzz. In fact it tends to spread faster online.

Yet the more the better. If an online-offline integration can be achieved, all the better.

Barry's story just goes to show the very point I raised in my article. I bet these same marketers go online when they search for information they need.

Thanks for both your comments.