Effective Marketing Dollars

No matter what you’re doing, there’s a good chance you could increase your potential with a bit of effective marketing, and if you’re in business, you probably get bombarded by lots of invitations to “invest” your hard-earned money into clever marketing campaigns, promising unbelievable returns on your marketing investment.

The minute you buy a domain your email starts filling up with offers and promises of being rich and famous and you start getting emails and calls from strange email addresses and phone numbers with representatives from some of the best companies, like Google, Go Daddy, Facebook, and Microsoft, speaking broken English insisting you’re not using your technology correctly, but they can fix all your problems in exchange for your credit card information.

Hopefully, you become aware of the tech marketing scams that are out there before you get taken for a ride by these clever imposters.

The best way to get a handle on your marketing dollars is to remember who your target market is. If you haven’t already, create a person who represents the most people in your target market with all their idiosyncrasies and characteristics, assign a physical appearance to this person and give him or her a name. This is your customer avatar.

The identity of your customer avatar, let’s say his name is Corey, helps you stay on track when you’re approached with marketing schemes. You can ask, “What is the likelihood that Corey will be the recipient of this marketing campaign? If not, you can easily pass on the opportunity because it clearly does not reach your target market.

Community organizations and non-profits will approach you for support in exchange for exposure or endorsement. If you are able you should participate in some of these opportunities because they build good will in your community, but you should remember to ask yourself if their campaign is going to reach your Corey. If the answer is no, then pass on it, unless of course it’s your nephew’s little league team.

Keep in mind that you are looking for a balance between what you spend and the promotional payoff that can be measured in additional sales, increase in business or attracting new clients. As you manage different campaigns and closely monitor your results, you will find which programs benefit you in the best way, and you can have a sense of expenditure vs. benefit. Having this information gives you something to use in comparison. If a program does not fare well, stop it.

You need to consider three areas regarding a potential marketing effort, they are:

1 Will it reach your target market (Corey)?
2 Will it impact and benefit your position?
3 Will the investment compare to the projected results?

If the answers to 1, 2 and 3 are on track, the marketing plan is worth a go, if not, pass on it.

You need a marketing plan. If you don’t have one, you need one and you should set aside a certain percentage of your revenues (10 to 40%) to invest in marketing. If you do not have a marketing plan in place now (or soon) don’t be surprised when your revenues dwindle and you find them severely deteriorating over time. If you wait too long, the damage may not be repaired via marketing.

Whoever you are, whatever you’re doing: You need exposure to new people and potential markets. The new blood will help to sustain your continued success. No business succeeds in a vacuum.

Who Do You Serve?

Ever wonder why it’s so difficult to find what it is that you’re looking for in your life?

The principle of focusing with laser accuracy on what you want, help you to attract what it is that you’re seeking. This approach works in all areas of life. Specifically, we will look at applying this approach to business target markets. In order for a business to achieve profitability, it is important to specifically define one’s target market.

Your target market includes a specific group of people that want your product or service. The more specific you are about defining your target market, the more effective your marketing efforts can be.

serving target market customer avatar laser focus advertising

Customer Avatar

The best way to define your market is to reduce the attributes of your target market to one particular person who represents your clients or customers. Be as specific as possible, give him/her a name and maybe even create a drawing or get a photo to represent your perfect client.

An example might be:

Name: Cory More
Age: 35 years old
Geographic Location: Greater New York Area
Education: High school
Profession: Hourly employee, data entry
Diet: Mostly vegetarian, somewhat interested in eating healthier, regularly integrates meat-eating (usually chicken and fish, beef rarely). Wife purchases food staples from local market.
Home: Rents (not a homeowner)
Auto: Owns an older vehicle (paid for), while wife drives newer auto (payments)
Family: Married with two children. Basically happy, but finds financial strain a constant irritant,
Regular spending activities: Cab fare 3x per week, eats restaurant lunch work days, buys commercial cup of coffee 2x per work day.
Spare time activities: Watches a lot of TV, plays video games, meets friends at bar twice a week after work, watches a movie at a theater once a month, smokes marijuana occasionally
Mental health: Moderately undiagnosed depression, feels unworthy – as if he could have done better – if he’d not rushed into marriage and family.
Satisfaction: Likes time commiserating with friends at the bar, twice a week. Faithful husband, basically enjoys intimacy at home (though flirts occasionally with saleswomen).
Secret wish: Would like a higher paying job or ultimately to win the lottery

On and on it goes, until you’ve added as many details as possible to clearly define your perfect consumer. Having this picture clearly in your mind will help you aim your marketing efforts to your target market. (Uh… That’s why they call it a target.)

Once you know who your Avatar is, you know what he/she does, what interests him/her, where he/she goes, you can align your marketing efforts to deliver the message that he/she wants to hear and be in the place at the time he/she is likely to be looking/listening for your message.

But My Target Market Is Everybody

Oh, of course, you just want $1 from every person in the United States, right?

If you do not focus on a target, you will certainly miss. This is one of the reasons most businesses fail.

If you want to get what you want, you’ve got to focus and exert some energy to create your desired result.

You can have multiple Customer Avatars, and create separate customized marketing efforts to best approach each one, but too many of them will water down your message.

Business Last Ditch Effort

In many cases, business owners seek out professional marketing assistance in their darkest hour. Unfortunately, they may not have the natural resources to repair the damage of going it alone without the proper marketing. In some cases, though, even when initiated amidst dire circumstances, when viability hangs in the balance, marketing can add new life to the struggling business saving it from demise.

I enjoy working with businesses on both ends of the spectrum, though there is a certain sense of heroic satisfaction that comes from being able to help an entrepreneur in his darkest hour, I would rather the independent business owner could have known that marketing should have taken priority in those earliest of startup days.

The Hard Way

It is difficult to start a small business in bootstrap fashion, especially when the owner is reliant on a portion of the proceeds to support his or her self and/or family. This causes an extra drain on the business’ potential of being able to support itself in those early days. This is why most businesses fail in the first year and many more by year five.

What is your marketing budget average 10 to 40 percent

In most cases this could have been avoided by bringing operation and marketing costs into proper balance, allocating an adequate amount of resources dedicated to establish proper marketing (including branding efforts). Also, novice business owners are not always cognoscente of the intricate details of their cash-flow. If not monitored adequately, revenue can evaporate and the cause may never be known.

Digital and Social Media Marketing

A general understanding of current digital media platforms can be greatly critical to the financial health and wellness of a startup – or an existing business – for there is not better return on investment, due to the low cost, if one’s digital marketing program is somewhat effective (and is not squandered).

Certain care must be taken to assure that the business owner is not lulled by the latest bells and whistles, only by constant and meticulous testing and tracking can one discover what works – what doesn’t work – leading to even more testing and tracking.

Free Digital Tracking Tools

Fortunately, the many of the digital platforms (like Google and Facebook) have tracking systems built-in to monitor their performance and specifically select prospects with the precision of a surgical laser.

Gypsies, Sharks and Thieves

If you are a current business owner, you likely have received telephone solicitation from Google (or telemarketers posing as Google representatives) in an effort to help put your business on the Google map. There is normally no charge for the assistance offered by the “Google representative,” in an effort to build a relationship with the business owner (or mark). Once trust is gained, the scam ensues.

Unfortunately, the digital landscape is littered with pirates and criminals who engage in this type of fraud due to the ignorance of less-Internet-savvy entrepreneurs. (This is nothing new; I have wasted lots of money on advertising schemes that promised impossible results thanks to an aggressive ad salesperson, back in the day.) So beware, there are sharks in the waters.

Number 9, number 9, number 9…

Remember, it is not possible to test a campaign unless it is written 9 times. After the 9th time, you can get a good idea about the actual results from a particular marketing effort. (So, forget about the one-time save.)

You must set aside a portion of each dollar that your business takes in earmarked for marketing; to not, is entrepreneurial suicide.

“But Masters, I heard this story, about overnight success that came without…”

Yes, there is the one out of a thousand (more like one in a million) business successes that inspires such a story. Realize it is the exception – not the rule – and is not duplicatable. This more actively represents what I call Lightning Strike Success (which can be a valid strategy, if you’re ready).

Market Budget Review

If you haven’t done it yet, evaluate how much of each dollar you are spending on marketing and make sure this portion is commensurate with what your business success expectations are.

See also: 7 Steps to Effective Marketing

Going With the Flow

I work with a wide variety of clients with just as varied philosophies and levels of personal and professional acumen. In my attempts to reach out to them – to help make their lives more efficient and/or effective – invariably we encounter obstacles along the way.

In every case, there are at least two options involving making a decision to attempt to deal with the problem or circumstance. It is my preference to evaluate the situation from as many perspectives as possible before taking action (if time and circumstance allows), weighing the available data and deciding to take the action that offers the least resistance.

Go with the flow life as a river raft trip personal spiritual professional business akiyoko photo
If life was a raft, you’d make it so much farther downstream in less time, by letting the current do most of the work.

If one approaches his or her life as a river rafting trip and thinks of the raft as representing one’s life or business, then you are more able to disassociated yourself from the circumstance enough to more successfully navigate the journey and allowing the flow of the water carry you to your destination.

In the same way that we use conservation to protect valuable resources and reduce waste, we need to approach problem-solving, navigating our business and lives by expending the least amount of effort to gain the greatest reward or impact. You want to conserve your strength for what might lay ahead, only using the necessary resources to get you from here to there.

Yet, the river’s flow and the terrain surprises you with what may be lying around the next bend (especially if you haven’t navigated a river trip, like the one you are currently taking).

Some, if not most, of your river rafting trip will not be torrential and you will be able to drift along enjoying your scenic oneness with all that is.

I am blessed to be invited to join others on their river rafting journey and it is my life’s ministry to offer my perspective to others to help maximize their efforts along the way.

Whether the trip is a personal, professional or spiritual one, my calling is to help others achieve their highest and best. This journey – whatever shape or form it takes – requires effort and resources to get from here to there; thoughtful conservation of energy and resources involved the management of your cache to increase the effectiveness of your time spent in the flow.

Find ways to go with the flow. Ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my efforts and resources at this time?”

You may find (if you’re able to remove yourself from the anxiety of the current perceived situation or crisis) that in some cases, little or no action may be necessary, because even though it looks like you’re hurdling straight for that rock… the flow of the river’s current will guide you around it.

Sometimes your choice to go to the left of the rock – or the right of the rock – can directly impact what lies ahead. The rock may represent anything, a life challenge, business opportunity, marketing approach or financial decision. Using a T Chart or having a co-pilot can be extremely effective.

A wise person uses the technological resources available to best navigate the journey. Although this approach may be offensive to the purist, I would embrace having lookouts with binoculars connected to me via a wireless headset to assist in navigation, if possible. (Just sayin’.)

In any case, be open and willing to take no action, if necessary and enjoy the thrill of the ride.