Are People Getting Charged For.Movie Pass Even After They Cancel Are You Wasting Your Marketing Dollars on Obsolete Strategies?

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Are You Wasting Your Marketing Dollars on Obsolete Strategies?

Many people who have been running a business for a long time fall into ruts or habits that may not be the best way to decide on the most effective or productive strategies when it comes to marketing. What worked in 1980 or 1990 or even 2000 may not work today.

As we all realize, times have changed, and with them shopping and consumer preferences. Whether your customer is an individual or another business, the Internet has greatly influenced decisions about what to buy, how much to pay, where to get it, and how to pay.

Years ago, if you wanted to buy a used car, you would probably pick up the classifieds section of the newspaper and scan the appropriate listings. The same applies to real estate. If you were looking for a job, where did you look? Of course, the wanted ads in the newspaper.

How about clothes, gifts, jewelry, golf clubs, books or even shoes? Well, you’d probably go to the mall for a busy day of browsing, asking questions, trying things on, and carrying shopping bags to your car.

How about tax services, medical consultation, planning a night out at a fine restaurant or pet care? Entertainment equipment, car insurance, office supplies or finding a local plumber? We used to pick up the yellow pages for all sorts of things we needed – you must remember those huge books filled with fine print that listed everything under the sun?

But we live in a brave new world. Today, practically everyone buys everything online. Not only that, we use our credit cards to pay and have everything delivered to our homes or businesses for ultimate convenience.

So how has this affected the way we reach our markets? Huge! If you’re still placing classified ads in newspapers or buying expensive display ads in the yellow pages, you need to step back and reevaluate your decisions, which may be a little outdated.

Instead, you should take advantage of all the free yellow pages listing directories available online. This may take some time to set up, requiring you to write short comments (otherwise known as paragraphs or “sound tickets”) about your work, but it’s worth the effort for several reasons. First, most people now use the Internet to find contact information for whomever or whatever they want to contact. And it’s impossible to know which yellow pages they’ll use, so you have to be listed on all of them. But more importantly, if you have a website, which you should, all those ads that usually include free links to your website will help you with SEO or search engine optimization. (This means that the time you invest in posting free listings will pay off handsomely by increasing your Google search ranking in search results if someone searches for your products or services online.)

I’m sure all yellow pages sales reps won’t appreciate my suggestions here. But they are not the only ones whose printed products have fallen out of favor. I still foresee the imminent demise of print newspapers and many magazines, as much as I still enjoy sitting down to flip through a printed page when I get a few minutes. It’s probably just an old habit that I’ll have to break before it breaks me. First of all, as we age, our vision deteriorates, and seeing that tiny type on paper is much more difficult than it was twenty years ago. Since I spend most of my day staring at my computer monitor, I take advantage of the enlarged font feature which makes it much easier to read. And while I consider the little time I spend reading actual magazines and newspapers to be rare moments of luxury, continuing to do so in the future will likely only happen online or via electronic tablets or e-readers.

This means that if you are running a business, your means of advertising must also change. Although you may feel that you are still reaching the target audience you are looking for through a print ad in a newspaper, which has admittedly become much more affordable compared to the prices charged in the past, you may change your tune when you explore the logic behind Internet advertising. Online text ads, in addition to banner ads (display “billboards” on the Internet) that appear in properly planned topic searches that you control with pre-placement keyword decisions, are the modern, and perhaps the ultimate, method of targeted marketing. In the same way that we once bought mailing lists to reach a certain segment of the demographic that we were targeting through direct mail, today we can reach the markets we want by showing up in Internet searches. Of course, this is still very new, but it is developing further as each day passes, clearly as the future of marketing.

Call me old fashioned, but I have to say that direct mail can still be much more successful in its ability to get into the hands of a prospect compared to trying to elicit a mouse click from your client’s scattered attention on a busy Google search results page! The advantage here is that direct mail, if designed effectively, has the power to hold the recipient’s interest through the graphic impact of color, visual imagery, and font size and selection. In comparison, an online text ad is just that, just text, and looks like any other text ad on a Google page, giving you no greater advantage to attract a click than anyone else. Whether direct mail is opened, read and responded to or immediately dismissed without a glance, it continues to be a challenge for marketers everywhere. As with investing, there is no magic formula. To give a little guidance, if you are advertising to everyone anywhere, perhaps online text ads can make sense because of the large number of individuals who could see your ad. This is provided that your placement choices are in a popular field of interest. If your goal is too small, then those numbers can be significantly reduced. Although it is also possible to attract a small market in a small geographic area through online text ads, it may require some diversification and support from other types of traditional marketing to work successfully. At least until the Internet becomes the one and only means of marketing, or until Google topples its Internet throne of infallibility.

With the proliferation of ways to enjoy the vast entertainment industry that includes radio, TV, movies, videos, games, and more, to name a few, investing marketing dollars in the right singular medium in your target market has become much more difficult. Trying to stretch your budget to attract the audience you want to reach can be frustrating with all the choices, distractions and short attention spans of most entertainment seekers. From a marketing standpoint and a 35-year history of experience, my advice would be to guard those dollars very carefully before making a rash decision about where to spend them.

While I acknowledge that new spaces have replaced the old, some of the old choices still reach certain ones who refuse to embrace today’s new technologies. Although few and far between, there are some markets that still respond to traditional yellow pages, newspapers, magazines and other forms of advertising, which may justify maintaining a reasonable presence in such media. It’s hard to argue the merits of buying a back cover of phone books when thousands upon thousands will be delivered to countless homes even if only looked at once throughout the year. The sheer numbers of that marketing reach are staggering. But to do so blindly in the future would be irresponsible if not downright wasteful, with talk now of adding “do not deliver” lists to “do not call” lists.

And when newspaper ads on a massive scale sell for a fraction of what they once were, the temptation sometimes trumps better judgment just for the instant thrill of dominating a newspaper page for pennies. Every answer counts as gravy.

This leads me to conclude that we are in a period of marketing limbo: some strategies are on the way out, but the door has not yet been slammed shut. The new strategies are a little scary, but the old ones are much less effective. If you can bridge the balance between the two until time decides the survival of the fittest, marketing budgets will be preserved a little longer and perhaps maintain a semblance of success despite having to navigate seas of confusion, anxiety and obsolescence.

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