Business can spend a lot of money on marketing, but the marketing landscape is very crowded and can be quite confusing. While it sounds simple to ‘just get your message out there’ - with so many print and digital channels to consider it is often unclear as to how to go about this.

This week we catch up with local expert Grant Snowden of Abizmentor to determine what business can do to connect better with their customers. Having lived and worked around the world, Grant knows firsthand what makes the Mornington Peninsula a special place to live and work – he chose to move here almost six years ago to be close to family, and has made it his home.

Here are Grant’s tips to help businesses to choose the right marketing channels and reach their customers more effectively:

1. Find out who your customers are

Identifying who your typical customer is means that you can then analyse that customer’s behaviour to understand what time, place, channel and messaging will most likely influence that customer (and similar potential customer’s) shopping decisions.

There are several ways to collect useful data about your customers. A large-scale example is the supermarket card that rewards customers with points or rebates. This is a great tool for data collection for the supermarket; they know who uses the card, when, what products they buy and where. They can then identify what their customers interests are and align their marketing content to suit those customers.  On a smaller scale, businesses can often discover similar useful data through doing simple in-house surveys, or analysing customer accounts.

“It’s not enough to be clear on what the market looks like, its size and value, the competitors in that space. Dive deeper into the data to work out what your typical customer characteristics are and what, when and where they buy.”

2. Understand your channels

Each print and digital channel has particular types of people that use it more than others. Consider a channel like Facebook. It has a typical main audience identified as females 35 years to 55 years. If you are selling a product where middle aged women are your ideal customer profile, then Facebook is a marketing channel to consider. Whereas if your potential customer is a teenage male, that is probably not the place to advertise. Knowing what sort of people each channel appeals to will allow your business to match your marketing to your customers by utilizing a channel that they use.

If you are unsure of what channels your customer uses, consider asking them a few simple questions when they make a purchase; ‘how did you hear about us’ or ‘what made you buy from us today’. Keep a record of the answers so you can get an overall picture of what marketing channels your customers are responding to.

“If your customers want to be communicated via email then make sure you use that communication channel. Do not send them a text or send something via social media – they won’t see it, or it will be just considered annoying.”

3. Consider your customers’ needs

Sometimes business owners focus their marketing on what product or service they offer and how great it is. However, they are less clear on what motivates a customer to buy from them.

Once you choose a marketing channel, consider the customers’ viewpoint. If your customers include those whose first language is not English they may not like channels that use a lot of text, so if your printed fliers include a lot of words they may just throw it out. Customers who are time poor may use online shopping a lot, but if your website is hard to navigate, they will go to a competitor.

“Its not enough to match the channel to the customer, you also need to use it in a way that addresses the customers needs.”

4. Be strategic in your spend

Once you have chosen your marketing channel, make sure to measure how effective it is. Social media posts may be free, but they also take an investment of time that needs to be considered. Your website may be fantastic but if no one sees it then it’s not worth anything to you. Some things may be cheap – a big signboard out at the front of our premises, some may be expensive – a TV mass advertising campaign at prime time. Each marketing channel needs to be reviewed for effectiveness and value for money. Measure your marketing effectiveness in terms of net return - not just sales, but net profit after marketing costs. And don’t forget the time investment.

“Setting up a simple spreadsheet can help you decide what works and which channels to continue using.”

5. Consider the bigger picture

Broaden your concept of marketing channels to include other aspects of your business. Marketing is more than social media, mail drops and advertising. It is everything – our premises, how our staff appear, our vehicles, our invoices, the way we answer our telephone, our web site, our logo presentation, our reliability, our service, our pricing, our location. All these elements will influence whether people will buy from you.

“Analyse where the customer pain points are and address them. Fixing those will make the customers happy – and more likely to recommend your business.”

Supporting local business: Connect. Support. Inform. Upskill.

These 5 tips are a great starting point for your consideration. Feel free to check out our other articles, webinars and industry development opportunities for ways to further your knowledge and upskill your team.

The Mornington Peninsula has an abundance of talented local people in business. As part of the Support Local campaign we are connecting local business experts to you, our local business community. In our new series of blogs, each local expert offers their valuable insights on a business-related topic. Through sharing their expertise and insider knowledge, these experts hope to play a part in re-energising the economy with new ideas to support local.

Meet our local expert: Grant Snowden of Abizmentor

Grant Snowden - Abiz Mentoring

As a former CEO of both small and large companies, private and public, and as a current business mentor and consultant, Grant offers a broad array of skill support, mentoring and coaching to businesses and their owners or executives.