Where does Social Media fit in the marketing funnel?


Social Media Landscape

The past two years I have had an internal conversation going on about the choices business people are making in regards to social media, mobile media, newspapers, direct mail ect.

As our economy started the slide I saw businesses start to blame their media outlets for the lack of response they were receiving and decide to jump to newer and trendier media selections. Unfortunately I also saw a rise in businesses which lost brand value and often found themselves in that place where going out of business would be more delightful than staying in business.

Let me try to clear up where I believe Social Media Fits today in the Marketing Funnel. I am big believed that Audience size does matter. Those elements such as timing and buying cycles in your industry must be used to increase the effectiveness of your marketing ROI. If you are just beginning your social media experience, you know all to well that your Audience is very small at this point. So making a marketing decision that represents this as a base marketing program at this time is reckless and will be damaging to the momentum of your company.

Before I share my ranking of sort let me tell you a little story I once heard to illustrate a point.

This story takes place back near the Great Depression. Mr. Wrigley, Wrigley Spearmint Gum, was on a train heading West with several of his trust business executives, they were discussing the decreasing revenues and profit statements of the company, A young accountant speaks up and tells Mr. Wrigley that he has a wonderful idea on how to reestablish a positive bottom line for the company. He suggests that they cut the marketing campaign budget until things improve. It is at this point that Mr. Wrigley displays great leadership and ponders this thought for just a moment. Then he asks this question of the young man. “Son how fast do you think our train is moving?”

The Young man says “35-40 MPH?” Mr. Wrigley Walks him to the front of the car and then asks, ” So if I pulled that pin out at the front of the car that attaches us to the main engine how long what do you think will happen?” “Well Mr. Wrigley we would coast to a stop” said the young man.

Mr. Wrigley then turns to the entire staff and exclaims, ” that is precisely what will happen if we cut our marketing efforts, we lose all momentum and come to a stop, Marketing is the engine that creates our movement!”

I tell this story because I think many businesses today are facing this same question, not only because of finances but because media and Audience has become fragmented and is responding differently than in the past.  See the Media that is out there still works, but the audience is smaller and the Audience has changed the expectations for responding.

So how do we design a marketing funnel for today’s audience?

Basic Marketing Funnel principles can still apply.

  1. Broad Based Marketing – The use of large audience impressions to place any possible customer in the funnel and building them to a potential customer.
    • Newspapers – Still have some of the largest Audiences in every Metro Marketplace
    • Television – Very Large Audience in a Region or Nationally if you have the budget.
    • Facebook Ads – non-targeted, you ever looked at the size of audience if you set out your message to all users? Pay per click options make this very attractive.
    • Google, Yahoo Ad Words – Similar to Face Book you can capture a global audience.
    • Direct Mail – Saturation Mailing has become easy and more affordable with the USPS new simplified mailing programs.
  2. Target MarketingAfter filling the funnel with potential clients it is much easier and more cost effective to target market to groups of customers or potential clients. Many businesses think they can just jump to targeting and skip the first step, however I would argue that they do it at the expense of future growth and will eventually spend much more trying to find that additional market share. Target Markets tend to move or dry up and then leave businesses in want for their attention.
    • Social Media Ads – Facebook etc., now allow you to zone in geographically, demographically etc.
    • Google and Yahoo Ad programs you can target very effectively, with these programs and again the pay per click model allows even small budget firms to take advantage of practice.
    • Radio – Demographic profiles of stations make this more of a targeting vehicle.
    • Cable TV – Same as radio
    • Direct Mail – Not as cost effective as Saturation, but lists today will allow you to slice and dice a zip code in various ways to get the right target.
    • Zip Code Insert Programs – Newspaper, Still one of the cheapest ways to reach a Zip Code and have a good client demographic reading your material.
    • Web Ads – Pick your site
  3. 1 to 1 Marketing – Any marketing channel where you have the ability to personally talk with your customers and or clients.  Social Media has now made this Marketing level very affordable and is now changing the workforce in many large companies around the world.  This step does take Data, and Audience and is not effective till you have both.  The secret is in accumulating Data on your customers from the first two stages and then building relationships with an audience, which trusts you and will share their love for you with all that they know.
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