Are You Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck with Your Marketing Dollar?

Get the Best Bang for Your Buck From Your Marketing DollarWhat’s the best way to spend the marketing dollar to get more customers?

Isn’t that the fundamental question in marketing?

Supporting sales is what marketing is all about. “Follow the money” is a good strategy for figuring out where to place your marketing. I was particularly struck by the way this was illustrated in the video below. This quick and informative video from NPR, about the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, illustrates that example. Because it’s about politics, it’s sure to be controversial, but please look beyond the politics, to analyze the strategy and the marketing concept behind the decisions for spending.

Have you clearly defined your target market? So who is the best group for you for you to invest your marketing dollars in? And, maybe more importantly, who/where should you ignore?

If you were going to create a visual like this, does your balloon look lopsided or are you trying to reach everyone?

Editor’s note: As a marketing professional, this makes sense to me. But as a voter I remember how the Fall of 2012 felt when my home phone message machine had on average 5 or 6 recorded messages every evening – from both sides! There does come a point when too much marketing can make everyone mad!

Photo credit:

Research Potential Markets by Household Income in the USA quickly with this Visual Market Research Tool

Market Research Rich Blocks Poor Blocks Marketing HHI toolAre you considering entering a new geographic market?

Want to expand into another area but aren’t sure of the household income?

This tool may help you with your market research.

Rich Blocks Poor Blocks breaks up the United States by average household income (HHI) — one block at a time. It overlays HHI onto Google maps. Easy click and zoom features make it a quick way to visually research areas.

Info is from the US Census Bureau American Community Survey 2006-2010… Drill down to the actual data at the household income tables from 2007-2011 if you’d like to  “get lost” in actual data.

Hat tip to @ChrisCree Chris Cree.

What tools do you use when you’re researching a new market? Leave a comment below.

Looking for market research help to expand your business in 2013? Send me an email by clicking the CONTACT tab in the navigation bar above.

5 Tips for Branding and Marketing in the New Year for 2013

Are you ready for 2013?

Do you have your marketing plan in place? Outlined your stair steps to sales for new clients to existing products or existing clients to new services?

What are the tools and tactics you’re going to use? Are they the most effective – both in results and cost? Easy enough to implement or easy to make a mistake?

Here’s my 5 tips for branding and marketing in the 2013:

1) Don’t give up on Direct Mail just yet: While no one can argue that print media has taken a nose dive, you may not want to discount all the “old school” direct marketing techniques just yet.

Don’t forget at the start of the new year, new US mail postcard rules go into effect with new postcard rules for smaller sizes and address orientation go into effect from the USPS. This is important information to have if you are thinking about using postcards as a marketing strategy. While using a postcard maker to make your marketing material you can use these new rules as a guideline.

2) Test something new: Do you have a new years resolution for marketing? I’ll bet that mobile is top of the list. However who really wants to see an “ad” on your little phone screen while you’re trying to reply to a text, an email or shoot out a photo for another post?

But there’s lots of ways to use a mobile phone for marketing that don’t involve advertising!

3) Media matching: Make sure you match the media with your target market.

Is it just me, or has some of the social media hype lost it’s shiny halo for marketing? I find that more and more, people are looking for something that works, not just the latest “cool” thing.

Facebook, while hitting 1 billion accounts, often still doesn’t deliver the marketing results that companies want… and can be confusing to implement — even to those in the know (like Mark Zuckerburg’s sister Randi!) with confusing settings.

4) Consider using PR over Ads: PR has the implied endorsement of the media vehicle. Getting free publicity that has some legs can be more cost effective than advertising and last longer too. Looking for some “free” publicity? I’m “regifting” Joan Stewart’s Best Tips of 2012: http://budurl.com/Bestof2012Tips.

5) Write down your marketing plan: It seems like a no-brainer, but written marketing plans have a much high opportunity for success. Even if it’s on the back of a napkin. Who’s your target market? What’s the message you want them to take away? How will you reach them? What’s the measure of success, so you know it was effective?

Bonus Ask for help! A lot of people don’t like to ask for help, but why wouldn’t you when there are so many specialist companies out there that can help with marketing strategies? They are easy to find – for example, if you are an interior design company then a simple search for ‘Marketing for Home Service Providers‘ will bring up a selection of companies that can specifically help you and your business. Something simple like this could really be the boost you need to take your business to the next level.

I’m looking forward to a great 2013 — it’s going to be a fantastic year.

What’s your branding and marketing tips for 2013?

Improve Your Marketing Results – A/B Case Study Results

A B test case studiesEver wonder which version of a website landing page or an email subject headline would deliver better results?

If so, you might be interested in checking out this library of “A/B and Multivariate testing” case study results. They have almost 300 case studies of real life examples. You can sign up for a 90 day trial for $25 or a full year for only $75.

Wonder which one of those offers wins — the 90 day or full year?

EDITOR’S NOTE:I have no affiliation with “Which Test Won” and am not receiving any money or in kind benefits from this post. I just thought it would be helpful to business professionals trying to improve their marketing programs.

Can You Finish Your Marketing Plan for 2012 in Less than One Hour?

Marketing Tactics Planning WorksheetUse this marketing activity worksheet to plan your 2012 calendar of marketing tactics
This marketing activity worksheet makes tactic planning easy

Are you “so close” to finishing your 2012 marketing plan, but just can’t quite get it done?

If you’re running a small business, you may be looking at pulling together all the components of your 2012 plan.

Or maybe you got started on the 2012 marketing plan but are still busy finishing up the measurements for 2011. No matter where you are, this is the week to finish your 2012 plan.

10 tips to help you get your marketing plan done so you can move on to the next challenge.  

Still in the brainstorming phase of your 2012 marketing plan?

  1. May I suggest a simple tool that I’ve found very effective for organizing your marketing:  The simple Post-It note.  AKA “the stickie notepad”. Don’t worry about the color, or the size.  But instead use the pad as a brainstorming tool. 
  2. Ask yourself “What works?” What tool did you use the past year or 3 that really worked?   Write each tool that comes to mind on a separate sticky. 
  3. What do you “have” to do?  You know, the tool that you’d love to drop because it’s a pain, or expensive, or old fashioned… but can’t get rid of because it’s so effective. Maybe there are a few of them.  Write them on a sticky.  One tool, one sticky.
  4. What have you wanted to try, but didn’t have time?  Perhaps it’s something new (a QR code?) or a modification of something existing (your email newsletter, but with an embedded video link?)
  5. Next: Put 3 giant Post-Its from a Post It pad the size of a flip chart up on your office wall.  Label each one with one marketing objective.  Perhaps your goals are: Attract new customers.  Sell new products to current customers.  Win back former customers.  Only you know what you need to accomplish in 2012, right?
  6. Now, brainstorm again with the stickies with your goals in mind.  Take a look at the stickies you’ve filled out from the first round.  Do they fit in one or more of your goals?  If the answer is no, why are you using that tactic?  If the tactic fits more than one goal, write it again on a separate stickie.
  7. Place the stickies on the pad, under the goal that they help to reach.  Place a number on them for the quarter you’ll use the tool or the number of times you’ll use the tool in 2012.
  8. Use the Marketing Activity Worksheet to plan the tactics by quarter or by month.
  9. Get someone to type up your goal with the tactics under it.
  10. Almost done.  Now. How will you know you’ve succeeded? With measurement.  Jot down the KPI (key performance indicator) measurement that you’ll use for the measuring stick. 
  • For a tactic, it could be the number of times the brochure was sent out, or number of impressions of a press release printed in your industry’s trade journal or number of opens/ number of forwards for an email.
  • For a goal, it may be the number of phone calls or email inquiry’s, the number of appointments with specific potential customers, or the number of proposals presented.

BONUS: For the marketing professionals who ALREADY have a measurement tool in place:

Work on honing your marketing based on the results:

  1. Look at where did most of your 2010 and 2011 leads came from.  Depending upon how you capture your leads and new customers, can you see where most of the leads that closed came from?  How about most profitable projects by customer?  Do you see a trend?
  2. What marketing programs did not return an investment?  Sometimes it is difficult to really figure out where the customer found you when they say “internet”, does that mean your website? Google results? Social media? 
  3. Still not clear? Consider modifying your measurement tool for 2012 if it is vague. At a minimum look at Google Analytics, your website keyword phrases for entering the site and for exiting.  How many click on the contact page?  How many RFQ quote forms came into your email?

Set a timer for one hour and attack your marketing plan with one or more of these ideas.  You’ll be surprised at the result!

How do you finish your 2012 planning for your marketing activity?  Do you use tools like this?  Let me know what you find helpful.  Post it in the comments below so everyone can benefit.  Thanks!