Online marketing mix
Normally when people talk about a marketing mix, they're speaking of a mixture of media. TV, radio, print and online are the choices. With more and more eyeballs and brains going online, I think there is a need for an online marketing mix. Here are some of the important components:
Paid Search - At the very minimum brands should be buying their names and phrases related to their product. Not doing so is like throwing a party but not telling the people who are invited and interested to come the address of your house. Paid search is growing rapidly and has quickly outpaced display advertising, which isn't growing. If this is where you are spending your online marketing budget, however, your relegating online marketing to being only a direct channel and potentially missing opportunities.
Website optimization - I can't tell you how many companies I've worked with who build their website and expect for it to be "done" for the next few years. These days, with consumers and businesses using the web almost exclusively to find information, your website is never done. Looking at usability, search engine optimization and ways to attract and retain your audience should be an on-going process.
Online display advertising - What?? No one looks at those banner ads. That's not true. The problem with 90% of online display ads is that they are print ads with limited engagement. These same types of ads are then evaluated based on click-through or to sophisticated marketers leads or even sales. The best display ads take into consideration the audience, the right type of ad, and where the ad will be placed. The also incorporate ways to engage the target audience in ways that are consistant with the brand. It takes a lot more planning, designing and post-launch analysis but compared to the cost and measurable effectiveness of TV and print ads, it's worth it.
Email marketing - If people have the desire to receive communication from you, why would anyone miss this opportunity? This is a relatively inexpensive way to get your message out to the people who are interested. There is no media cost, the message can be tailored to the individual and like it or not email is still the number one way that people use the Internet.
Social media - There are social networks out there for almost any type of interest. Broader social networks like MySpace and Facebook are starting to have a broader audience. For virtually any brand there is a social network where you can have a presence.
Outreach - Blogs, groups and online outlets that are looking for content continually. If your not developing relationships with these outlets, your depending too much on paid media to do your work. Paid media is necessary but why not leverage earned media. It might just be better for your brand.
Developing and optimizing the online media mix takes a lot more time than traditional media. It's not the kind of marketing that you can just put out there and wait and see. However, there are definite cost advantages and no one can argue the results, whether they be sales or brand metrics, are much more measurable.
- Paul Herring