Marketing is Not Just a Numbers Game

Balanced rocks

Photo (CC) by Nina Matthews, on Flickr

As a business owner, you probably have heard that customers will forget about your business unless you keep your name in front of them.

And this thought is partially true. The need to stay visible is an important part of marketing

Today, however, with social marketing, “more” is taken to new heights. Everyone is focused on 24/7 visibility and to have our marketing message go viral, as the Super Bowl Oreo tweet did in 2013. Small-business owners are encouraged to provide several tweets and posts each day.

Thus, many business owners feel marketing is a game of numbers. They begin to think that too few messages means no one knows they exist.

Yet, business owners are also warned about sending too many messages. Oversaturation can lead potential customers to feel bombarded.

So business owners are forced to look for balance. They want to hit that magical number that maintains their visibility without being viewed as a pest. And all of this needs to be done under their own limitations of time and money.

Yet balance is not something you can achieve easily. Customers and potential customers differ in how often they want to see your business message. They also differ about the marketing medium used to deliver the message to them.

Balance is less about numbers than it is about knowing your audience and providing a mix of messages. People do not want to be overwhelmed with messages that just sell.

To find the right balance, business owners need to consider factors such as:

• Audience demographics – You need to realize that broad classifications do not correctly identify the entire category of customers. For example, individuals in the baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) are more likely to view messages in the traditional media, while millennials (those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) will be more likely to see the message if it is online and readable via a mobile device.
• Focus –Provide a message that focuses on a primary audience and offers them a clear benefit.
• Breadth of topics – Messages must do more than just sell. They also must help the audience understand who your company is and what it stands for. Messages also can highlight a user, showcase customer feedback or provide information on getting more from a product or service.
• Purpose –Trying to attract new customers requires more messages than when you are retaining existing customers. Also, when trying to attract new customers, your message distribution plan may include more varied channels.

The bottom line: Rarely will you win by having the largest total number of marketing messages. Focus on your marketing goals and key audience, and remember to include more than just a sales pitch in your effort.

About Glenn Muske

Glenn Muske is the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.
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