Remember the Basics During 2010 Planning

It’s November, which means that we are gearing up for 2010 planning sessions for VantagePoint and our clients. This past year, many marketing budgets were adjusted by shifting dollars from traditional advertising to digital and online methods. Moving into 2010, we expect this trend to continue. And how could it not, with social media tools growing exponentially?

It is reported that Facebook has over 300 million active users. LinkedIn has over 50 million professionals worldwide. Twitter alone grew 1,382% year-over-year in February (according to Nielsen Online). We’ve also seen several publications transition from traditional print to online, “green” versions.

Although it is easy to get caught up in the digital media wave, it is critical to remember the basics of marketing when implementing social media or online programs.

At VantagePoint, we advise our clients to take a three prong approach for both traditional and digital/online marketing:

  • Focus and pursue targeted segments.
  • Be found where/when target audiences are looking.
  • Leverage real and virtual platforms for heightened awareness.

So, if you are considering online marketing for the first time in 2010 or want to expand what you are currently doing, it is important to remember the basics. When using social networks, starting a blog, advertising online, or deploying an email marketing campaign (just to name a few), they must align with your original marketing objectives. Don’t do it just to be doing it – do it to accomplish your marketing goals. If your audience isn’t engaged in Twitter, then it wouldn’t make sense for your brand to be tweeting. If your company is being talked about online, however, you need to find out where the conversations are occurring and get involved.

Going back to the basics, below are a few points on how social media and online initiatives fit with the fundamentals of marketing:

  • By using email campaigns, you can focus on and pursue different segments in your sales channel, providing them with relevant content. An added benefit to email marketing is that you can track who is opening your email and what links they are clicking on. This information is a great tool for your sales team to use when reaching out to potential customers.
  • By using social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and online advertising (banner ads, SEM, etc.) you can be found where/when target audiences are looking. You can also utilize these tools to quickly address customer concerns, therefore saving the relationship before it is too late.
  • By participating in webinars and other online meeting tools, you can leverage various platforms for heightened awareness in the market. These can also be used to target and engage a select group of people, including employees, investors, potential customers, and current customers.

It’s clear that social media and online tools can help you accomplish your marketing objectives, but don’t exclude traditional marketing just yet. There are several ways to go about accomplishing your goals; it’s just a matter of finding the most effective and efficient mechanisms. When going into 2010 planning, just be sure that the tactics you select align with basic fundamentals of marketing.

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