01 Mar How do I define the optimal marketing mix for my business?
“How do I define the optimal marketing mix for my business?” This is one of the questions we get asked most often by our clients and the fact of the matter is that even though SMEs are a distinct group, often with common traits, there is no one size fits all answer.
With this in mind it’s probably more helpful to share a few thoughts on how you can define what the right answer is for your business.
How digitally savvy are my audience?
Digital marketing and specifically social media seem to be applied as a universal panacea to all marketing ills by the majority of SMEs. But the reality is that many of them serve markets that are more engaged and accessible through other mediums. Assessing the digital savviness of your target market, as well as performing a more detailed scoping of their online activity will enable you to decide how much emphasis to give to digital marketing within the marketing mix.
What’s my budget?
If you’re a small business with less than 20K to spend on marketing each year, it pretty much rules out radio, TV and a lot of print. So budgetary considerations are important when defining your optimal marketing mix. As a smaller enterprise, you generally get a lot more bang for your buck online or through more direct marketing methods but this doesn’t hold true for every brand.
Plenty of SMEs do run a wide range of above-the-line campaigns such as radio and TV ads very successfully, making a decent return year after year. Similarly, SMEs can end up spending almost as much online when they choose to produce high end video content for example.
What’s my sales process and value?
A B2B business or a B2C business with a high single transaction value and a very defined, limited target market (e.g. an ad agency or a plumber) will usually do better through more targeted and direct channels where the cost of access to an individual may be higher but is accounted for by the resultant sales value.
B2C businesses and B2B businesses selling low value items that appeal to a more mass audience need to reach more people and make more sales to make a channel pay, so they tend to include more broad reach tactics such as print and digital display ads to reach the widest possible audience at the lowest cost.
What channels will work at different stages in the sales cycle?
Just as there’s no one size fits all way of defining the SME marketing mix, there’s no one channel that will take care of every stage in your sales cycle with equal effectiveness. Your marketing mix will be influenced by what your sales cycle is like (long, short, complicated, simple) and what the objectives for marketing are (direct conversions, lead generation etc.).
You’ll want to map out your particular sales cycle and test to see which channels are most effective for you as a person moves through the process from research to consideration etc.
The final point to consider is that your marketing mix may well change over time as your brand becomes more established, enters new markets or evolves its offering into new products or services. There is no one answer, nor is that answer fixed in time. Only ongoing testing and analysis will reveal whether you’ve got it right at the moment and whether there’s room for improvement.
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