When choosing a marketing channel, it is easy to get stuck in a pattern of doing something the way it’s always been done. All the choices are paralyzing– and new ones keep popping up. Internet globalization continues to put competition is right outside your door. It’s time to let go of your fear of digital marketing channels and give your competition a run for their money!

Focus on Success

Hone in on what success will look like in the end. Focus on your marketing goals and make initial assumptions about which marketing channels you feel may be the right ones. These assumptions will evolve into concrete solutions if you follow the process outlined ahead.

Face Reality

Strip yourself of your own bias and mentally suit up as your buyer. Why should they buy from you? What makes you different from your competitor?

Walk the Journey

Map out the touch points in your buyer’s path to purchase. What channels are they using to find you? What triggered the need? What is influencing and/or interfering with their decision to choose you? Friend’s opinion? Staff feedback? Loyalty to the competitor? How does this ideal buyer spend his/her time? Sitting behind a desk? Constantly in meetings? Watching sports on TV? And what is the most important feature of your service to this particular buyer?

Ask for Feedback

Start asking your existing customers what made them choose you. There is nothing more valuable than raw feedback from your existing customers. Be sure there is a neutral party asking the questions.

Analysis of Marketing Channels

Here is a list of factors to consider when choosing your marketing channel(s):

  • Cost-per-thousand (cost per thousand impressions)
  • Minimum investment (some media outlets require minimums)
  • Length of campaign
  • Reach (unique viewers, not overall total impressions)
  • Frequency (needs to match the objective and factor in channel “noise”)
  • Number of total channels (impacts reach and frequency of all channels)
  • Message type (viewer impact and cost of production)

An example is shown in the chart below from Peter J Solomon Company (2015) where you can compare cost-per-thousand (CPM) of TV, radio, video, mobile, display, outdoor, magazines, newspapers, and more. You may take one look at the cost-per-thousand of newspaper and immediately omit it from your marketing plan. But, be sure you are thinking about each channel from your buyer’s perspective—you may decide that is your number one channel.

Channels and Content Strategy

The marketing channels chosen must fit within the content strategy. An ad within a channel is one touchpoint along a journey within the overall ‘content strategy’. A buyer’s journey is influenced by all of the interaction and experiences they have both online and offline. Be sure the channels you choose are synchronized as much as possible. When it comes to timing and frequency of ads within your channel(s), refer to the buying cycle. Ads should interact with your buyer within a channel with a set time and mental state in mind.

Choosing a media channel is not easy, but when you think and act like your buyer, you can choose with confidence. If you practice, you will be able to see the response from your buyers. You will also consistently remain relevant and competitive.