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Why Traditional Media is Still Important: 3 Steps to Creating Brand Ambassadors for Your Business

August 29, 2012

I opened my ad agency in 2008. So I’m wrapping up my 4th full year of running my own marketing company that specializes in media buying. Media Buying is a fancy way of saying that we help business owners decide where to invest their advertising dollars and we get them the very best prices on everything from television advertising to online marketing. We make sure that business owners truly get the most bang for their advertising buck. As you’d imagine, starting my business in ‘08 meant that basically all of my clients were on a big social media kick. Facebook was all the rage because it was FREE advertising for their businesses. They all thought the days of investing in traditional media, i.e. television advertising, radio advertising, magazines advertising, etc., were behind them and now all of their marketing needs were answered because Facebook was awesome. I watched business owners cut their advertising budgets dramatically because they were banking (against my recommendation) on social media picking them right up where they left off and carrying them into an blissful sea of more business than they could handle.

4 years later, every one of them has a very different opinion of social media, traditional advertising and how they work together. Some business owners figured it out quickly, others not as fast. The ones that were perceptive faster were the ones that faired the best and were able to steer clear of crisis by incorporating traditional media back into their marketing plans before their brands had lost much top of mind awareness. The ones that reacted last were the ones that were hit the hardest, losing market share to their competitors, laying off employees, some even closed doors.

Since I have watched many business owners toil with and discuss at length the pros and cons of social media versus traditional media I decided that it would be valuable to share my opinion on the topic with you. I believe that there is an optimal strategy where brands/products/businesses create awareness via traditional advertising and then capitalize on the awareness later via social media and online because they are able to start a conversation with more potential customers since they reached a greater number of people through traditional platforms.

You see the most effective model to follow when advertising your business is best illustrated in the picture below. Awareness is always the first steps, which leads to consideration which ultimately leads to a purchase. Traditional media works hand in hand with non-traditional media. Your company creates a message for potential customers, you send that message to them through television, radio or magazine advertising, then the consumers go online, search your product, engage with your business and hopefully buy. From then, the ideal situation is that you create a great experience for them; they love you and want to tell all of their friends and family about you both in person and online.

1)      The first step in marketing is to create awareness for your brand/business/product. As I said earlier, typically, you create awareness via traditional media.

Hold on Mr. Anomaly, I know you’re thinking “but wait some businesses have created viral videos and been rocketed to fortune overnight after millions of consumers watched their video on YouTube!” Yes Mr. ‘I-Believe-I-Am-The-Exception-To-Every-Rule’, that can happen… But I can also win the lottery. So let’s just discuss a strategy that will work for the vast majority of business owners who don’t have the struck-by-lightning viral video business launching experience…

Traditional Media is the best way to create awareness for your business. It reaches the most people. You can focus on reaching a designated market area (via broadcast TV and radio), a city (via cable TV), or a specific demographic such as brides to be in Seattle (via a local bridal magazine). The point is awareness is created best when your message is broadly spread to a large group of consumers who may have an interest in your business.

2)       The second step in marketing is to move consumers into the consideration phase of the buying cycle. When you’ve effectively created awareness via traditional media, consumers naturally move into the consideration phase where they will begin searching for information online. That is when your online reputation management, social media strategies and non-traditional efforts begin to pay dividends. Traditionally, marketers would hope to influence customers in the “consideration” phase through promotions and sales tactics. Today, user-generated ratings and reviews are frequently enough to convince a customer to make the purchase. By no means am I saying that non-traditional advertising isn’t effective or that it isn’t absolutely imperative the success of your company’s marketing plan… What I’m saying is that you will notice that without step 1, it is unlikely that you will get to step 2. That is the key piece of information that my clients were missing in 2008. They wanted to jump right into step 2 without investing the resources into step 1 that would give them the opportunity to move into the consideration phase.

3)       After step 2 you move into the final phase of the cycle and the last piece of the marketing puzzle which is where you figure out how to create loyalty which will ultimately make your customers brand ambassadors and cheerleaders for your business. We all know that word of mouth marketing is the best kind of advertising! No one can sell your business like a happy customer to their family and friends…

In today’s market the need to work on building authentic, deeper relationship with customers by truly engaging them to earn their loyalty is critical. But loyalty can’t be created without first creating awareness. My favorite quote is this “Doing business without advertising is like winking at someone in the dark, you know what you’re doing but no one else does.” Make sure you let consumers know how great your business is. Tell them why they should be doing business with you as opposed to your competition and then give them such a great experience that they can’t help but ooze with enthusiasm when they share their experiece with others.

Robin

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