Focus has always been an important aspect of effective advertising and marketing. However, the exponential growth of media channels, devices and social media have made cutting through the clutter and distractions of everyday life much more difficult. This is more than the old issue of how many thousands of impressions every consumer is exposed to each day - there is a compounding effect that happens as a result of consumers experiencing greater and greater time compression coupled with a plethora of devices and channels clamoring for their attention. The only reasonable answer for marketers and businesses today is to improve focus, but the question is “Focus on what”? So put your seat belt on while I take you through a crash course on focused marketing.
Focus on: Targeting
In one sense, there’s never been a better chance to target exactly who you want. On the other hand, it’s never been harder to find out exactly where they are! So, to bring focus to this issue you not only have to think about who your target audience is, but in which medium and with what message you can be most effective for the potential consumer for your product/service. Simple idea, but not easy at all. As a business, it starts with using all of the data and tools available to fully understand your customer, how they come to your business and what makes them engage with your business.
You not only have to think about who your target audience is, but in which medium and with what message you can be most effective for the potential consumer for your product/service.
Focus on: Messaging
Messaging has always been about determining the key benefits of your products or services from the customer’s point of view – NOT yours! However, now you have to determine how that message might change depending on the channel or environment your reaching the consumer and the action you want them to take. It's also important to focus on the quality of the content which will assist you in getting the best return from all of your messaging activities.
There are many tools available to generate data, but some of the most important data is contained within your own business. Another great source can be if your business uses Net promoter software. Some of this software includes the ability to extract the specific words your Net Promoters use to describe your business. And of course, Google tools like Google AdWords can also help you determine how to reach consumers by what they search.
Focus on: Return on Investment
Again, there are now more and more tools to help you understand your customer’s journey. Yet, sometimes, this proliferation of multi-channels and increased data can actually obscure the true understanding of your return on your marketing investment. A lot of digital media metrics reflect return based on activity or engagement, but that certainly doesn’t always lead to a purchase or even a significant engagement. Utilizing tracking cookies and even more importantly, tracking phone numbers, will help you understand your customer’s journey, but only if you have a mechanism to evaluate that data, including monitoring the phone calls and email contacts, and then matching them against your database to determine true conversion.
Focus on: Media Strategy
As we mentioned, with all these ever growing number of choices, it becomes more complicated and difficult for companies to determine what their media strategy or media mix should be. I think one of the guiding principles should be: begin with the end in mind. How do sales happen for your company and how has that changed? Many digital advocates want to argue that traditional media is dead. But as you dive deeper into the digital world, it becomes clear that although there is a lot of data and a lot of track-able activities, there’s also a tremendous amount of fraud and misrepresentation. Plus, with the ever increasing drive for Google and others to monetize every engagement they have, it can become more challenging for businesses to successfully engage with consumers. If you have the resources to do effective broadcast advertising, it can give you a significant advantage in delivery branded search. As far as I’m concerned, the guiding principles should focus on the result you want and you should develop a mix that will most closely mirror your perspective customer’s journey. Are you in a business that has a simple sales funnel or should you be working on a sales hourglass?
Focus on: Relationships
In many respects, there’s an argument that this is the most important focus of all. It’s not just the focus on the relationship you have with your customer, but the relationship your perspective customers have with digital, social and traditional media. Having a strong focus on your relationship should guide all your activities in content creation, social engagement, advertising messaging and customer service which will, hopefully, lead to referral generation. Having a meaningful relationship and engagement in a distracted world is ones of the hardest focuses to maintain.
Having a strong focus on your relationship should guide all your activities in content creation, social engagement, advertising messaging and customer service which will, hopefully, lead to referral generation.
Focus on: Competition
The good news in this area is the ability for a business to get good competitive intel has never been easier. In the digital world there are a number of tools that allow you to assess what your competitors are doing online, the focus of their website and content creation strategy, and the effectiveness of their SEO. But in the distracted world that we are talking about, it’s important to remember that one of the biggest competitors in your marketplace is all the contending media, social and otherwise, which are vying for the time and attention of the consumer’s you want to talk to.
If you’ve focused on all the issues mentioned above, you’ll be in a better position to compete for the time and attention of the consumer’s you want to attract. As a final note, I want to mention something I read one time in a personality profile that I thought is relevant to guide today’s advertising and marketing professionals: ”Be brief, be bright, be gone”. People don’t have the time or inclination to figure out what you’re offering, why they should care and they are not interested in you dominating their time.