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Social Media as a Marketing Channel

DATE PUBLISHED: May 21, 2012
Every now and then there are some new buzzwords that pop into the marketing lexicon. One of the ones I’m seeing a lot of lately is “channel” – as in marketing channels. This has nothing whatsoever to do with your flat screen TV or your cable remote, so don’t worry. It has to do with reaching your target audience.

Marketing channels is just a nice way of describing the different approaches you take to reaching your target audience with your marketing message. One marketing channel could be direct mail; another could be social media. The point is, in order to be an effective marketer; you have to use multiple channels to reach your prospect. And you have to use them multiple times in order to be truly effective.

Another way to approach the concept of marketing channels is “integrated marketing.” Smart advertisers have learned that one medium is no longer effective. Forget about using “just” direct mail or “just” TV. Today’s consumer is too fluid – you never know where they’re going to be so it’s getting extremely difficult to find consistent ways to deliver your message. Today, if you deliver your message all over the place then your target customer are sure to be “touched” by your efforts.

That’s why social media has become so important as one of your channels. People today are spending so much time with Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms that you simply have to have a presence on them in order to connect with your customers and prospective customers.

TV is another channel (forgive the play on words) that is being used more and more. But it’s not a network buy as it used to be. TV viewing is simply too fragmented to buy one network in order to be effective. Today, marketers are using cable to target their prospects the same way a radio buy is made. You can pinpoint demographics and age groups by the channels they watch, and buy media appropriately. Speaking of radio, you buy it for specific demographics and age groups too, but it also offers the advantage of cost-effective frequency – giving you the ability to hit your target multiple times.

Then there’s print and direct marketing. Print is becoming highly targeted as well – marketers are buying specific magazines in selected niche areas to reach their targets. Same with print – you just don’t “buy” a newspaper – you buy a particular section on specific days of the week in order to reach your target audience.

So the next time you sit down to plan your marketing campaign, think channels. Think integrated marketing. And think reaching your targets on multiple levels, multiple times. You’ll be a lot more successful if you do!

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