How can you be sure you’ve chosen the right marketing mix for your business?

How do you know which tactics are pulling their weight and which are a waste of your money?  While there are no simple answers, the key is to focus on the people most likely to buy your product or service.

Here are three important questions to consider:

1. Who is the most likely to buy my product or service? 
It seems like a simple question, but the answer needs to be very specific.  For consumer products, this might mean demographics: Male or female? How old? From which geographic areas? It might also include lifestyle considerations and interests.  For business-to-business products or services, this means selecting, very specifically, the industries, company size (by revenue, employee size or other criteria), and the decision makers within these organizations. Creating very specific buyer personas for each decision maker and influencer can help you focus your marketing content and create more opportunities to win business.

2. Where do my target customers get their information?
Again, a simple question…with a complex answer that keeps changing.  Ten years ago, the answer might include trade shows, magazines and direct mail.  Today, it has expanded (and fragmented) exponentially to include industry blogs, websites, social media, podcasts, search engines and much much more. While this makes marketing strategy more nuanced, it includes many tactics that are more affordable.  It also offers boundless opportunities for brave and creative marketers.

3. What are my key three tactics?
Based on the first two questions, narrow potential marketing tactics to three key marketing vehicles.  These are the areas you should focus on for the first six months of your marketing program.  For a very tight budget, this might mean developing a professional-quality website, investing in some pay-per-click advertising and creating an e-newsletter for a group of high-potential prospects.  A business-to-business program might include participating in a few important trade shows,  conducting webinars on topics that interest prospects and augmenting these tactics with a search engine optimization (SEO) program that capitalizes on the informative content produced for the trade shows and webinars.  While the possibilities are endless, it is critical to focus on the opportunities likely to yield results rather than “falling under the radar” by scattering small amounts of money in many areas.

Time spent researching the answers to these questions can avoid wasted time, money and resources down the road.  However, it is NEVER too late to adjust and improve your marketing program.