In a meeting with a client recently, we discussed how she was marketing her technology start-up.

The most interesting aspect of the conversation related to her current activity. She’d been working with a “marketing consultant” who promoted the concept of a digital-only approach, using channels such as social media, blogging, eDMs and nothing else. Suffice to say, the consultant operates purely in the digital marketing space, and the client has recognised her marketing needs a wider scope.

Beware the ‘magic bullet’ marketing approach

Digital activities will, in many cases, be a core element of marketing strategies. But digital is not the only way to skin a cat. I’ve always been sceptical of those claiming to have the only strategy or approach to sales or marketing. It doesn’t matter what channel they’re talking about, I often find the answer is never as simple as doing social media only, a television advertising campaign or public relations.

Multichannel with a consistent message

The smart marketing minds will tell you taking a horses-for-courses approach when bringing services and products to market is usually best. In many cases, this will involve using multiple channels to reach your clients.

It starts with an understanding of your target clients – their traits, challenges, and buying behaviours. Then you’ll consider how they interact with your offering and why they should work with you. In other words, what’s unique or different about your approach? Once you understand the client, then you can look for ways to home in on them.

Typically, this will involve testing and using multiple marketing channels, including:

  • Online: your website, social and digital platforms
  • Campaigns: automated eDMs and direct mail
  • Events/seminars: educational events designed to engage your clients
  • Thought leadership: using your IP to create content that engages your target clients.

This is not an exhaustive list of activities. However, the point is you must offer a marketing environment where you have many client touch points. Having a consistent message, delivered over multiple mediums is still the best way to cover all bases.

Strategy is the key

As with everything in business, building a strategy is paramount. It doesn’t have to be far-reaching. Just having some guidelines to work within will make a huge difference. More often than not, it’ll tell you what not to do just as much as what to do. Once you have your foundational strategy in place, you can start executing across various marketing mediums.

A good strategy should evolve with your business, particularly as you learn more about your clients and what marketing activity is most effective in reaching them.

The ‘testing and tweaking’ approach is still the best way to learn. As you build data on what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be better placed to understand how you should be spending your marketing dollars.

Finally, be mindful of consultants with the ‘I have all the answers’ style. Rather, look for specialists who take a strategy-first approach to marketing and sales. They will encourage you to build a program that allows you to learn more about your clients over time.

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