Nothing’s Dead

“Trade shows are dead. Magazines are dead. Direct mail is dead.”

direct mail, trade shows, magazines are not deadSometimes I think young marketers are dead, but only from the neck up.

When I coach startups, I often hear their leaders and even their marketing staff push back on old school promotional channels. One outfit, with series-A funding even, was dead set on using only social media … to sell to a broad set of non-tech CxOs for a high dollar technology offering. When I mentioned these targeted CxOs might be more easily targeted and reached via direct mail the startup’s CEO came close to stroking-out on me … and he was only 30 years old.

Trade shows aren’t dead, though they are still expensive. Magazines aren’t dead, though many are shifting to digital. Direct mail isn’t dead as my mailbox attests daily. The fact is all modes of reaching a prospect are valid. The choice falls to which ones are best at targeting and conversion.

Those two concepts are the core of any multi-channel marketing campaign review. If one mode of communications allows for very precise targeting but lousy conversions, it won’t help. If another has a high conversion rate for the intended audience, but cannot be targeted any better that a drunkard’s stagger, then the cost per conversion will be too high. If you plan on hiring two social media managers but their average conversion per contact is nearly null, that $200,000+ annual investment might instead buy a lot of one-on-one face time at trade shows.

The matrix for mapping marketing investments falls mainly upon your target segments and personae. If you have several segments or personae to target (and is some personae have key buyer influence) then the best marketing mode for one combination of segment/personae may be the worst for another and thus require maintaining different campaigns for each. A one size fits all marketing strategy doesn’t.

The lesson is not to ignore any option, but to evaluate each with honest reflection and whatever accurate statistics you can locate about their conversion potential. Some will be obvious non-starters (such as Superbowl television ads for a pedicure parlor). But the rest should receive enough diligence to assure viable options are not prematurely declared dead.


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