Marketing – Not Just For The Big Guys!

Marketing is important to every business, no matter what your size. Marketing is used to identify the customer, satisfy the customer, and keep the customer. And, all of us are interested in those activities, aren’t we?

So often we get confused between marketing and advertising. I like to think of marketing as a large pie. Some of the pieces in that marketing pie are advertising, public relations, research, pricing, distribution, customer support, sales strategy and so on. All of those activities make up your marketing and should be defined in your marketing strategy.

It used to be just about the 4 P’s:

  • Product – what you sell.
  • Price – how you price it (low-cost, value or luxury pricing).
  • Place – where you sell it.
  • Promotion – how you sell it (advertising, public relations, promotional programs, promotional budget).

Today, we have added 3 additional P’s:

  • People – the staffing required to turn a prospect into a customer and to keep the customer coming back for more.
  • Process – the entire experience a prospect/customer has when interacting with your organization.
  • Physical evidence – the proof you are what you say you are. Example: If you claim to be a fine dining establishment, the physical evidence could consist of white tablecloths, suited servers, fine china and a gourmet menu.

All of these P’s need to be taken into consideration when developing your marketing plan. Of course, there are other components of a marketing plan. Such as a SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats); a Competitor Analysis and how you rank; your primary and secondary customers’ profiles; customer buying patterns and your unique selling proposition (what makes you different).

For a small business, you can develop your own strategic marketing plan, by following the process. Many of you are probably thinking, “I don’t have the time for this” or “I’m too busy to plan”. Let me assure you that the time you spend developing your marketing plan will be time well spent.

No longer do companies, large or small, have the money to throw against the wall and hope that something will stick. We need to be focused and strategic when spending our marketing dollars. Most importantly, we need to be measuring the spending of those dollars to make sure we are getting a return on the marketing investment.

When developing your marketing strategy, try to integrate as many channels as possible. Some examples of marketing channels are:

  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • Website
  • Social media
  • Mobile marketing
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Texting
  • RSS Feeds
  • Podcasting
  • Video
  • Newspaper/magazine ads or inserts

I’m sure you can think of other channels to add. What I can tell you is that your marketing will be more successful when you use more than one channel. Research has shown that customers who interact with you over multiple marketing channels will buy more, buy more often and be more profitable. Let’s face it, not everyone will open your email, read your direct mail or listen to your commercial. But, if you are using multiple channels, you are more likely to connect with them over the channel they prefer.

The same logic holds true for response channels. Allow your prospects and clients to respond to you in their channel of preference – phone, email, mail or website. You want to make it easy for them to do business with you! Visit our Resource Center at for other tips to help you in your marketing efforts.


Effective Direct Mail

Direct mail is NOT dead – in fact, it’s alive, well and thriving!

According to a Xerox study, when people were asked how they would like to be contacted for BUSINESS communications:

  • 69% stated they most prefer direct mail, as compared to
  • 28% by email
  • 3% by telephone

In addition, studies show that direct mail, working side-by-side with digital media, can have a substantial impact on the traffic that you drive to your website! Another reason to consider using integrated, multi-channel campaigns in your marketing efforts.

FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) studies, conducted by Millward Brown, Bangor University and UK’s Royal Mail, show that there are 3 main differences uncovered between how study participants’ brains processed direct mail and digital messaging. This study, which measures neural activity, reports that:

  1.  Direct mail generated more, or deeper, emotional processing than the digital messaging.
  2. The brain saw the physical material as more real than the digital messaging.
  3. There was more activity in the areas of the brain that are connected to introspection when people viewed the direct mail.

These studies suggest that our brains are more emotionally engaged when we view direct mail, and that people pay more attention to something that is real and tangible versus something that is more transient. This study also indicated that the direct experience of a brand stays in the memory a lot longer with a physical piece of direct mail than it does with digital media. So, direct mail actually results in increased retention.

Today, direct mail often gets a bad rap because people claim it is expensive and ineffective. Un-targeted, irrelevant direct mail is extremely expensive and ineffective. But, you shouldn’t be sending out un-targeted and irrelevant direct mail. 

If direct mail were not effective, then why does Google, Yahoo and eBay, all online companies, use direct mail? They use direct mail because it IS effective! Particularly when it is relevant and targeted. You can send beautiful, expensive direct mail pieces all day long, but if you’re sending meat offers to a vegan, than your direct mail piece will be totally ineffective and a true waste of money. Be relevant!

Look at your mailing list. What do you know about the people and companies on that list? Use what you know to divide your list into segments so that you can mail relevant offers. And, every time you gather new data, make sure you roll it right back into that list. Having an up-to-date mailing list, with lots of demographic and psychographic details is a treasure – use it to your advantage!

Consider using what you know about your clients and prospects to executive a variable text and graphics campaign. The personalization will drive a higher response rate than a static direct mail piece. A higher response rate should result in increased bottom line revenue for your organization.

Sending targeted and relevant direct mail will help you print less, mail less, yet get a higher ROI for the marketing dollars you are spending. If you need assistance in putting your direct mail ideas into motion, give us a call.