By Abe Kasbo
Well this post has been a long time coming. While the internet has sent the marketing communications world in one direction, it seems businesses are still looking around, wondering what to make of it and how to leverage it? I’m not talking Coke, Sony, Pfizer, McDonald’s, AFLAC, or Fidelity. I’m talking about businesses whose revenues may range from $5 million to let’s say a couple of billion in annual revenues, from banks, financial advisors, to small publishing houses, retail, manufacturers, and especially healthcare providers like hospitals and medical practices. You may be thinking, “you’re joking…in this day and age?” I am very serious.
Just look around you, look online, look off line and anyone with an analytic eye (only one eye will do) can see the challenges for businesses around marketing and the web.Here’s the problem – it’s a behavior issue. It seems that businesses who have had success with certain media tend to stay with it regardless of the state of that media in the market place. Staying with what works is fine, but you could be overpaying in one medium and loosing strategic opportunities in an another. For example, we all know that newspaper advertising is down, and rates keep going up. Looking at history, we know that when radio became popular in the early 20th century, everyone called for the downfall of newspapers. Didn’t happen. TV came along, and the death of radio was loud. Didn’t happen. And the internet is here and everyone is calling for the heads of newspapers, radio and TV. Probably – and yes I am hedging here – not going to happen. If believe that your business has been getting great results from your existing media mix, review and verify. Look at the cost per effective impression and results. Try to get a better gage on what your media is delivering. Are you in a medium because that’s where most of your target audience is now? Or are you there because you may think it makes sense because it’s worked in the past? The old financial services statement, “past performance is not indicative of future results” applies here. Run the numbers.
This is not the time to put your marketing plan on cruise control, it’s too important for your competitive advantage. We’ve got a week consumer market, a downward spiral of business to business sales and in this case, my belief is that the smartest, most strategic businesses will do OK now, and come out ahead when it’s all over. All of this means that businesses must continuously understand the media market and it’s influence – positive or negative. Sounds fundamental, but there is so much turmoil in the media markets that is worth while taking time to understand them or engaging outside counsel with expertise…don’t hire people who are going to sell you stuff, hire a firm who will explain the current rocky media landscape and your business can best leverage it for the next 18 months. Build your communications plan on that, and incorporate it into your marketing plan.
The world is a different place today. A new economy coupled with radically different consumer behavior and new media. As fierce and independent advocates for our clients, we are leading a different kind of change, by delivering business driven marketing communications strategies. We are in the business of generating and executing market-leading ideas that transform businesses. It’s what we do. It’s that easy, and that hard.
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