Selecting the right marketing channels

A modern expressionist artist, Hans Hoffman, stated, “the ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary, so that the necessary may speak.” Whether through art or marketing communications, the ability to eliminate distractions and gain focus reaps major benefits.  At our Customer Acquisition Accelerator Bootcamp, we discuss the importance of and the process for selecting the right marketing channels in order to gain focus that helps achieve greater results.   

Unfortunately, focus is not what we typically encounter when working with B2B manufacturing and business services clients. Companies tend to feel pressure to have a presence in every marketing channel that may potentially offer an opportunity to attract a buyer. This scattered approach though leads to challenges, especially when limited resources attempt to set up and, most importantly maintain, a large number of marketing channels. What’s worse – a potential buyer simply not finding you while browsing a social media channel or a potential buyer finding your company profile which hasn’t been updated in more than a year? The first situation is null.  If you are selecting the right channels, you’ll be where the majority of your buyers are. No harm; no foul. But in the second situation,  a potential buyer who could find you in another channel, comes across a ghost town and questions whether you’re relevant anymore.       

In the Bootcamp, we recommend a simple evaluation process for selecting your marketing channels. The core criteria falls on your knowledge and definition of your target audience and further, your buyer personas. This includes understanding where your target market habitate, how they research and consume information, when they are actively searching and why they are there. The evaluation process focuses on four core questions:

  1. GOALS: how many buyers would you need to make the cost to acquire worthwhile?
  2. PERSONA: are the buyers that you want hanging out within this channel?
  3. BUDGET: how much will it cost to acquire buyers through this channel? This is includes marketing resources in addition to advertising costs.
  4. RESOURCE AVAILABILITY/CAPACITY: how much effort and skill is required?  

A follow-up question is often asked about how many marketing channels should be considered.  Unfortunately the answer isn’t simple.  It depends on theanswers to the questions above, as well as the ongoing troubleshooting and optimization activities required of a channel, the channel’s scalability and your marketing resource capacity.

But certainly less is more. If you can pinpoint 2 to 3 marketing channels that enable you to highly focus on building awareness and deeply engaging your target audience, then you’re in good shape. When building your customer acquisition strategy though, you’ll want to balance marketing channels across inexpensive/long-term results against paid/short-term results in order to achieve the objectives you have defined. There may be situations where you target 4 to 5 marketing channels where two require low work effort but long ramp-up times (search engine optimization) while you actively focus on content, email and social media marketing.   

If you approach selecting the right marketing channels using the evaluation questions above and with a “less is more” approach, you’ll be able to put a lot of energy into fully leveraging each channel’s ability to attract and engage your target audience. Don’t allow ghost towns to negatively impact your brand’s image potential buyers.  Vet each new marketing channel against the evaluation criteria and don’t jump into it unless you have the resource capacity, a clear objective and ongoing plan to maintain it. After all, your goal shouldn’t be perceived as being everywhere, but to select the right channels that most successfully engages and converts potential buyers into customers.

 Kevin Gold is a co-founder of Growing B2B.  GrowingB2B helps businesses build a marketing-led customer acquisition program to enable sustainable growth.  Want to make sense of the complexities of the customer acquisition process, tools and technologies and to identify how to better align your marketing and sales efforts? Join GrowingB2B at the Customer Acquisition Accelerator Bootcamp — Register Now.  If you can’t make the bootcamp or just need help developing or improving your customer acquisition efforts, contact Kevin here.

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