Marketing shoppingContent marketers want you to believe that content is everything in marketing now. Same thing with the in-bound marketers, mobile marketers, database marketers, SEO (search engine optimization) marketers, social media marketers, and so on and so on…

Marketing has embraced every new channel and technology that it changes at the speed of light. And, with those changes, comes specialists who claim that theirs is the best on the block for your small business or nonprofit organization.

How can anyone in marketing claim that one channel or one method is the “be all and end all?” 

Let’s say that you are planning a dinner party that includes your boss and your immediate team. What’s your objective?

Is it to impress the boss so s/he considers you for a promotion? Is it to prepare for requesting a raise? Is it to show your appreciation?

Whatever your goal is for this dinner party, your menu, table décor, room ambiance, and appearance will affect the outcome. You prepare a shopping list and hit the stores.

Everything you select has to be ‘just right.’ The combination of every element must blend well. You wouldn’t serve meat loaf if you set a formal table. On the other hand, you wouldn’t serve foie gras if it’s a casual backyard dinner. You’d look for a good balance of components to set the tone. It’s the same thing in marketing.

Why would you rely on one marketing channel at the expense of the others?

What was the most important part of the dinner party story? If you guessed the shopping list, you were right!

Every business and organization needs to create its own marketing shopping list based on its overall objectives. The list cannot be plucked from anywhere. It needs to rely on science.

Got a few bucks? Hire a marketing researcher.

Short on cash? Read up on conducting online surveys and how to construct questions.

Run a couple of informal focus groups. Ask your existing (and prospective) customers — clients, patients, patrons, donors, volunteers, students — pertinent questions that help you understand what motivates them to use your products or services or support your nonprofit. Discover what their preferred communications channels are. Ask them if they have referred your organization to others and why.

Once you understand what makes them tick, where they get their information, why they like you (or don’t), and more, only then can you create your marketing shopping list — your marketing strategy and tactics.

So, if you’re feeling pulled in multiple marketing directions, take a pause. Make sure that every strategy and tactic you employ helps to reach your objectives.

Why waste time, effort, and money on things that may, or may not work? Wouldn’t you rather make better informed decisions?

Do you feel pulled and influenced by multiple marketing directions? What are you going to do about it?

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