I think it’s a fair assumption that single-channel marketing is a thing of the past. Gone are the days of direct mail only, even for old-school publishers. Today’s media mix has to bridge a broad variety of channels that might include old-school outdoor and direct mail, as well as new fast-growing channels like mobile, social and every digital channel in between.
So how can chief marketers determine the right mix for their organization across this ever-expanding set of options? Here are few guidelines to follow:
- Find your audience: The first step is to go to the data and find out where your audience is, both in terms of content consumption and devices used. Your audience’s consumption habits should guide your media mix: if they’re Millennials consuming hours of streaming video, video ads should have a prominent place within your mix. Are they big on news sites? Targeted display might be smart to add. Consider rich mobile ads for audiences who spend a lot of time on smart phones and tablets.
B2B marketers may face more of a challenge identifying the consumption habits of their target audience, and may want to spend more to track them down. But don’t overlook the treasure in your own backyard – recent breakthroughs in marketing technology let advertisers build a targetable audience profile based on the advertiser’s in-house CRM data. Why guess what your audience looks like when the answer is already in the numbers?
- Align Product and Channel: Once you’ve located your audience, you’ll want to ensure that the product your promoting makes sense for the channel you’re considering. For example, brands like Starbucks and Jiffy Lube are natural fits for mobile, as they’re targeting clients on the go. The Maytag Man and Stanley Steemer might be better suited to the traditional web.
- Consider Social: Social media is also a smart consideration for brands targeting Millennials and other audiences that flock to social sites. Social data can be an extremely valuable targeting tool, and social sharing is a very effective way to spread a message and grow an audience. But consider what you’re marketing and whether it’s appropriate for sharing: Products like trendy hand-bags and events like the Tough Mudder race will do well with social sharing, as people are proud to promote their engagement with the products. Anti-itch cream? Not so much.
- Thinking about video? Video is also great when you’re asking more of an audience. To use the Tough Mudder example again, showing exciting footage from past races in an ad will probably inspire interested viewers to sign up for the next race – even if the registration form is two pages long and will require them to pull out their credit cards.
- Brand safety: If brand safety is a concern for you or your client, you’ll want to consider that as you build your mix out, too. In this instance, private exchange marketplace buys with trusted online publishers is the best way to ensure your ads only run on sites that align with your brand’s values. If you conduct these buys through a full-service marketing platform, you’ll also get deep analytic insights about the audience that you can apply to future campaigns.
Once you’ve identified your optimal mix, I recommend testing channels to understand which channel is contributing the most to conversion events. Take a measured, scientific approach. Raise budgets on channels one at a time, starting with the one that makes the most sense for your audience. Test, measure and analyze results with surgical precision, then optimize your campaigns to better reach your goals.
To sum it up simply, your audience and product need to guide your media mix. Offer valuable, relevant content for each channel you are testing. That’s the key to finding the right media mix!