This article does an excellent job of refocusing the intent of most marketing budgets. It breaks out the marketing spend into 3 Levels.The spectrum starts with the easiest to implement and derive an ROI, and spans to the mass market and more complicated to produce.
Level 1: Paid Search and mobile marketing. The concept is pretty clear, you only pay when someone responds or “clicks” on your ad. As the article states, print ad salespeople could never offer this level of guarantee to a client. Also, Level 1 includes mobile marketing. I would include Google mobile ads and also Facebook marketing into this category since most people are on Facebook when they use their mobile phones. As the article state, mobile marketing is very intimate, as opposed to a billboard on a highway or an ad in a magazine.
Level 2: Content marketing and social media. This includes producing a blog, creating online content such as videos and images, sharing these images on social channels, and also methods such as white papers and books/e-books. Level 2 marketing isn’t easy. It is very resource intensive but it does ad value one you develop content that your community values. Most small businesses and even the larger brands underestimate the cost of content marketing and misunderstand the ROI. The ROI isn’t very clear and is more based on developing an online reputation and community. What is the ROI of your reputation? It is really priceless, but difficult to value when you are just getting started.
Level 3: I love this article because it turns most marketing budgets on their head. Expensive print, broadcast, and location specific billboard ads are very expensive and often lack the direct targeting that online search and social media campaigns may bring. However, these mass market vehicles do help develop a brand and may be helpful for some large products and even small businesses. The ROI isn’t nearly as clear as Level 1 paid search campaigns.
The world of marketing and online media really isn’t very different whether you are a brand manager of a large product, or a small business or healthcare practice owner. Paid search offers the clearest path to reaching your target customers, while targeted mobile ads offer an intimate ad experience for your clients. The complexity of marketing is really based on the need to develop content for the specific format. Social media marketing and blogging, vlogging, etc are resource intensive and really require an art of content marketing creativity. Developing ads for broadcast radio and print campaigns are also expensive in content creation and production. Get some value out of Level 1, and then move on to the other aspects of marketing that get trickier.