Are You Sure You Advertise on the Right Media Platforms?

You and your team must spend a lot of money and effort trying to get the attention of your customers to tell them about your business.

You want them to pay attention to your story.

No attention = No impact

Since we live an over-communicated world, attention has become one of the most precious resources. Getting people to pay attention to what we want to say requires to be in the right place at the right time with the right story.

What They Find the Most Challenging about Marketing and Advertising

Everything is changing so fast. Your customers’ attention is constantly switching from one platform to another.

Digital advertising started taking off in the ‘90s. Since then, we went from Email Marketing to SEO to Social Media Advertising to Mobile Advertising… Marketing experts are even now praising the potential of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and the Internet of Things.

When things get wild, it’s always wise to get back to the fundamentals.

Your advertising media selection process should rely on one major element: where your customers pay attention.

Where Can You Reach Your Customers?

Here’s what bugs me:

I’ve coached and helped many entrepreneurs and marketers. They always come to me with the same question:

“Guerric, how can I be sure that I’m focusing on the right channels when everything is moving so quickly?”

Who wants to spend money on the wrong channels, sending messages in places where nobody pays attention to them?

This is nonsense. Yet, I’ve seen many marketers advertising on some channels without making sure that these were the best to get their customers’ attention.

Do You Really Need to Have a Facebook Page or to Be on Twitter?

It’s not because it’s easy to set up that it’s worth doing it.

If you want to make a difference with social media marketing, you need to spend more resources than you expect. Nothing goes viral without thoughtful hard work.

Apple knows that. It only started being present on Twitter in March 2016. Before that, the marketing team must have decided that being on Twitter wasn’t a good place to share their story. They were better off focusing on other channels.

Advertising campaigns that really perform require more hard work than creating a simple ad.

Where Should You Advertise?

Let me emphasise four questions that will help you figure out where you should advertise to acquire new customers:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. How are you exploring your next marketing moves?
  3. Do your customers really embrace new trends?
  4. How do you take advantage of the abundance of channels?

Since I feel I really want to help you, let’s dig into each one of them:

1. It Depends…: “Who Is Your Target Audience?”

In a new marketing podcast called Flip the Switch, the host, Hana Abaza, highlighted that people always ask her the same question: “Should I advertise on Facebook?”

This is a bad question.

Your story will have an impact only if the people you reach pay attention and care about what you’re telling them.

The right question to ask is:

“In which channel can we reach our target audience at a moment when they will pay attention and care about our story?” [1]

Here’s What You Should Know About Your Customers

What makes a channel right for your business depends on:

  • Where the people you target are in your funnel;
  • Where they go when they have time to pay attention to external information (online or offline);
  • When they are available to listen to your story or take an action.

Context matters a lot.

Having it right is what makes a difference between a bad and a good advertising campaign.

For instance, I’ve had great results in advertising with GoudronBlanc by targeting people when they commute in the evening. The reason? They’re keener on procrastinating. After work, they go back home. During the jouney, they’re bored and spend their time on Facebook. [2]

Key takeaway: Context matters a lot. Where you should advertise intrinsically depends on who your customers are. Don’t do it just because you’ve seen other brands doing it.

2. There’s a Lot of Talking But Not Much Doing

It’s easy to read a case study about a successful advertising campaign and think about the future of marketing. Yet, what really makes a difference is the difficult task of translating this know-how into an actionable strategy, making it real for your business.

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”

— Peter Drucker

I encourage you to read and listen to experts’ opinions about success stories and the future of digital marketing; you’ll get a good feel of where things are moving.

But what really matters is what your customers do.

Your business is unique. It’s not because it has been working for them, that it will work for you.

The only way to figure out whether an idea would work for your business is to test it yourself.

Scale and Explore at the Same Time

You should allocate the major part of your budget to keep up with your current marketing strategy.

At the same time, run exploratory campaigns. Figure out where your customers’ attention is shifting. There’s a massive competitive advantage at being among the first ones on a new platform. [3]

I like what Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, the founder of the advertising agency Publicis, wrote in 1982 about embracing an emerging media platform. In a book called The Rage to Persuade, he explained how he experienced first-mover advantage by being one of the first advertisers on the radio:

“It was different when radio advertising was new: unknown little firms could turn into giants overnight. That’s true of all new media: for relatively little money, they can have a great impact and upset the status quo.” [4]

How to balance this in your budget?

I recommend dedicating roughly 80–90% to scaling your current marketing strategy and 10–20% to exploring your next marketing moves.

Key takeaway: A focus group or a marketing guru won’t be able to tell you what is going to work. The only way to plan your future marketing moves is to test things yourself. Run low-cost experiments to test how your customers engage on a new media platform or what is the impact of a new marketing tactic. You can only figure this out by testing.

3. Consumer Behavior Does Change Fast But Not That Fast

Since the invention of the radio, experts have proclaimed the end of print advertising. Radio and, later on, TV were supposed to take over. By now, everyone should have stopped reading.

Here’s what really happened:

People kept reading…

David Ogilvy made a name for himself as a master of print advertising. At a time when radio and TV ads were supposed to make people stop reading, Ogilvy successfully contributed to building brands like Dove, Rolls-Royce, Shell with print ads and great copies. [5]

The Same Thing is Happening Today

The Internet was supposed to kill print advertising. Mobile is eating the world.
(Read this article to see how mobile has changed your customers’ expectations.)

The reality is a bit different:

Most consumers are slow to adopt new trends. Many people are still reading print magazines and using desktops as their primary device.

You should take new trends into account but you shouldn’t neglect the customers who are slower to embrace them.

The Power of Neglected Channels

There’s an advantage to using a channel that has become less competitive because it’s not trendy anymore. You can get people’s attention at a much lower cost.

For example, sending letters could generate a much higher return on marketing investment than doing email marketing. Your emails would just get lost among hundreds of other emails.

Know Your Target Audience

You should interpret new marketing trends depending on who your target audience is.

As consumers, we don’t adopt new media platforms at the same pace. Teenagers are likely to jump on the trendiest one—like Snapchat. Older generations will stick to what they already know, until all their friends start using something new.

Key takeaway: Don’t neglect ‘old’ media platforms. While every brand switches to what is in fashion, keep reaching your customers where they are still paying attention.

4. Most channels are complementary: Focus on Cross-channel Marketing

Each media platform has its own rules. You don’t run a Facebook ad campaign in the same way you advertise on Instagram.

You need to be a native speaker of the language used by your target audience in each of these channels.

Here’s the Secret of Great Marketers

The brands that succeed are those that understand how to give a consistent picture of their story on different channels.

They’re native speakers and they take advantage of what each channel has to offer. For example, Instagram is good at engaging your audience, while Google is great at helping you find prospects with strong purchase intent. Successful brands know their funnel and advertise accordingly.

Look at how you consume information. You never stick to one channel. You switch from email to social media, from desktop to mobile, from digital to print.

There’s a real need to understand where your audience is and what they expect from you on a given platform.

“Print media served to elaborate theses radio slogans by presenting real selling arguments. Print ads and commercials are not rivals—that’s baloney. Rather, they complement each other.”

— Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, founder of Publicis and author of The Rage to Persuade

Media platforms are complementary. Tailor what you say to each different channel.

Key takeaway: Make sure you adapt your story to what your target customers expect on each different channel. But don’t forget that for your customers it’s natural to switch from one media to another. Find a way to make your story consistent across media platforms.

Treat Each Channel as a Salesman

“Treat it as a salesman: Force it to justify itself. Compare it with other salesmen. Figure its cost and result. Accept no excuses which good salesmen do not make. Then you will not go far wrong.”

— Claude Hopkins, author of Scientific Advertising

At the end of the day, your goal is to make a sale. You’re not spending money on social media advertising or any other digital channel to entertain people. You’re a business person.

Make sure that you selected the channels will benefit the most to your business.

Embrace a Long-Term Approach to Marketing and Digital Strategy

At BoostCompanies, we decide to play above the trend. We adopt a long-term view on marketing and advertising.

The brands that win are those that proactively embrace new trends. They don’t react. They choose what is relevant to them and ignore what is not. They succeed because they’re in it to play the long-term game.

What to do next?

Reach out to us.

We have more than 9 years of experience in digital marketing. We can help you acquire and retain online customers.

Notes about Selecting The Right Advertising Media Platforms

[1] Here are two good reasons why asking the right questions matter so much.

[2] Noticing how your customers behave is key to creating advertising campaigns that perform well.

I figured the best time to advertise on Facebook by observing my fellow classmates at university. If you sit in the last row, you’ll see that instead of taking notes students spend time on social media and eCommerce websites.

[3] Companies that were fast enough to move to Facebook benefited from a massive early mover advantage. For a few years, they didn’t have to pay to get their stories in front of their target audience.

It was pure online guerrilla marketing. Today’s Facebook marketing requires a real advertising budget, especially since you now need to pay if you want to get your stories into your audience’s News Feed.

[4] What Bleustein-Blanchet wrote about doing advertising on a new media platform is timeless.

Forget that he was referring to radio advertising and see how relevant what he said is to social media advertising:

“That leap of faith into the present and the future is the secret of success and progress. If you wait for things to change before you act, they change without you. At a certain point, you must let go of your rationality and jump—and jump correctly, of course. I did, whether by luck or instinct.”

Interested in the advertising industry? Get Ogilvy on Advertising and Scientific Advertising.

[5] Ogilvy illustrates a typical management paradox. A lot of specialists—creative, engineers, developers, doctors—struggle because being promoted is often synonym of becoming a manager. The thing is that when you become a manager, you’re not doing what you enjoyed doing. No. Instead, you’re managing people. This is something totally different.

Ogilvy explored the issue in Ogilvy on Advertising and Confessions of an Advertising Man.