Best practice use of each marketing channel
Let’s look at the major marketing channels you can use, and how they work well.
This is where creativity and strategy meet – it’s the right message put on the hook in the right place.
Several best practice examples are linked below. Please note that you are not expected or required to access all of the linked examples, as they may not be available in your region. However, if you are interested, find that they are accessible to you and want to investigate an example more, the links are available as an optional extension activity.
Online – web
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With your web site, focus on the customer experience. They have to see themselves, not you. Back in the 1990s, the brand web site was new, so companies treated it like an electronic brag book. The navigation of early web sites had five pretty standard labels – Home, About Us, Our Products, Our Services, Contact Us. What’s the common denominator there? The company.
Best practice for today: Make navigation and site structure recognisable by the target audience. Show them the customer experience through your content – both text and visual – and embrace showing how you fit into their story, not the other way around.
Here’s an example from one of my clients: Access Australia represents people looking for fertility treatment through IVF. Their connection with patients (and their value proposition) is about how they support them on their journey. So their web site is broken down into two clear areas of focus: your journey and our support.
Online – social
With your social media space, there are two things you can consider to approach best practice.
One, go beyond your own social media profile. The majority of businesses are already very well versed in populating their own profile with content but if you want to approach best practice in social media, one of the things that you can consider is ensuring that you are involved in other social media profiles, particularly those that are respected by your audience.
The second best practice consideration with the online social space is to ensure that you have opened the door for your customers to create content about you and share it in their own spaces. Part of your communication with them could be for them to talk about their experiences, which fits nicely into the storytelling mode and also takes advantage of the power of word of mouth.
Social media is about experience, and South African Tourism is a good example of showcasing what a travel experience is like. If you are able to access their Facebook profile at https://www.facebook.com/groups/satourismonline you will notice a number of pointers for good social media connection.
- Selling tourism in a very visual way. Tourism is a visual experience, so they have leaned into it.
- Personal experiences play a big role in their social media feed. Their content is about people enjoying a trip as much as the trips they could enjoy.
- Use of video throughout gives a prospective tourist an immersive experience.
Mainstream media advertising
The next one is mainstream media advertising. Yes, every marketer dreams of having an unlimited budget when it comes to advertising, but the best advertisements aren’t always the most expensive.
Every year we see media commentary coming out of America about how Superbowl advertising is the best thing ever. The spots are astronomically expensive and often available only to the best brands. But this isn’t the holy grail of advertising.
If you want to look ahead to best practice in advertising, one approach you could consider is to be completely different and swim against the tide. One of the examples that I think represents this best would be Baker’s Delight here in Australia. They produced a series of TV advertisements a few years ago, where they were creatively different but leaning into their value proposition of handmade bread. Their creative? They made the ads themselves, and said so.
Outdoor advertising is still a key way of reaching people while they’re on the move. In fact, it’s this realisation that gives us the key to the best practice approach to outdoor advertising.
Lean into the fact that people are experiencing micro moments which are when they dip into the web in small chunks of available time or while they are mobile.
So instead of simply carrying your advertising which is a big conceptual branding message, consider instead to carry ads that give people a task to complete. Give them a QR code to scan while they’re standing there at the side of the road as the bus arrives. Give them something they can interact with through that advertisement. Don’t ask them to visit your website to get big picture messages, ask them to visit one corner of your website to do something specific.
Some advertisements were plastered on billboards in Florida in the USA with a key message from Baycare Health: don’t come to the emergency department at the hospital for everything. They knew what they were talking about when they used phrases like ‘Urgent Care’ and ‘Emergency Care’, but their audience didn’t. An example of one of their billboards is at https://www.adsoftheworld.com/campaigns/urgent-care-vs-emergency-care.
Video is where your customers are likely to be in the 2020s.
Global lockdowns forced people into devices and screens and one thing they did more than anything was watch video. This shifted consumption patterns in advertising away from reading towards video.
So if you want to be best practice in video …
… use video to show not tell. Talk about your brand – show us WHY your brand is the best one. Don’t tell us what you stand for, SHOW us what you stand for.
If you have access to YouTube, check out this video for a good example from Samsung:
This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.
Video can be powerful, if it’s done right. This campaign from Turkey announced a new video call service from Samsung … directed for hearing-impaired and deaf customers. So they built a video around the experience of one man and showed that they just didn’t understand their demographics, they understood the world of their audience.
The other best practice angle for your video is to replace the corporate voice with the customer voice. This again leans on storytelling which is a powerful tool for us to use and easily shareable. If you are going to be using video in the social media space don’t think about the way you impress people think about the way they can share it.
Direct mail and direct marketing campaigns are still a key way of reaching people providing they’re done well. I myself have worked in direct marketing for 10 to 15 years and can tell you that the same principles we use then still apply now … in fact, even moreso.
So best practice use of direct mail includes good use of the delivery mechanism. The envelope. The objective of your creative in direct mail and direct marketing actually lies on the outside of the package because if it’s not opened, then all of the creative goodness that you’ve hidden inside the envelope doesn’t even reach the eyes or the hands of your prospective customer. So tease them on the outside of the envelope. Use clever language to encourage them to open it then deliver your message.
The Smart® brand introduced a new ebike to the cycling enthusiasts, and sent them a mail pack using recycled cardboard. But the genius part was that the mail pack itself could be assembled easily to build an ecological and unique bike helmet. It showed one thing – this was a smart helmet for a smart bike.
The images for this marketing campaign are online at https://www.adsoftheworld.com/campaigns/the-mail-helmet.
Printed materials is the last marketing channel that we’re going to look at.
They are still a good way of reaching people, particularly if there is time required for the decision–making process or it is a large investment that requires a show of quality in terms of collateral and printed material.
Now, best practice in printed material is not to go expensive. It’s to be tactile. It’s also to be immediate. So with your printed materials, think about the value of the time that people invest in reading it. Rather than think “what can I say?” think “how can I best use their time.” You could also lean into the customer experience in this case. Don’t educate them give them a sense of the experience they’ll have when they’re with you
One last point about aiming for best practice – as long as you are articulating your value proposition and staying true to your brand, almost any creative idea can fit.
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