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Ruminations from open’s internal braintrust

Expertise is organic. It must be constantly nurtured if it is to grow and flourish. This is one of the fundamental pillars of OPEN’s internal culture.

Marvin Chaulk, Vice-President, Senior Consultant
OPEN Communications

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the opinions and musings behind the expertise

Blog Author: Pat Mackey

Smart Media – Lesson 1

Pat Mackey

Posted: September 12, 2013

Smart Media is not a buzz word thrown around to sound trendy (not by us at least) but it is more of a marketing philosophy based on three simple tenants; know your audience, build your brand platform, and utilize your resources effectively. By adhering to these simple guidelines, it is possible to get the maximum benefit for your marketing dollars.

1. Know your audience

  • Who are my customers?
    This might take a little leg work but it is important to know what the key demographics are for your existing audience and the audience you intend to target.

  • Where can I expand my customer base?
    There is no other way around this part than good old fashion research. This part is highly individualized so there is no ‘one way’ to do this but it helps to keep an eye on market trends, prices, location, competition and demand.

  • What appeals to my customers?
    If you are going fishing for new customers, you need to have the right bait. Once we’ve established the ‘who’ and the ‘where’, all we need is the ‘what’. Once again you are going to have to do a little digging to see what appeals to your target audience.  One of the best ways is to look at what other people are doing (or more importantly NOT doing) to help tailor your approach.

2. Build your brand platform

  • Audit your brand.
    This part is actually sometimes harder than the first. You have to take an objective look at your brand identity. It helps to have someone non-biased to do this part with you to help make tough choices. Moving into a new brand identity is like moving into a new home, you have to decide what to bring with you and what clashes and must be left behind.

  • What is your message?
    This may seem obvious at first but you would be surprised how many stumble at this part. Many businesses don’t have a proper mission statement or clearly defined goals, and this leads to muddled and ineffective advertising. Try this, explain your business and what sets you apart with as little embellishment as possible in less than ten seconds. If you can’t do that then you’ve got some work to do.

  • Establish your visual identity.
    Your visual identity is more than just your logo, it is the public face of your business.  This is why it is important to have a cohesive look to all your materials as well as your advertising.  A business card can be every bit as important as a billboard.

3. Utilize your resources effectively

  • Establish your budget.
    Many people do this backwards and end up spending more than they want by shopping around and doing projects piecemeal as the need presents itself. Assess your needs beforehand and then get a price for the work as a whole. If you let the people you’re working with know there is future work to be had, they may be inclined to offer a discount on the initial design.

  • Plan your marketing strategy.
    Again, this calls for you to think of your advertising as a whole entity and not just the sum of its parts.  Each element supports the other and helps build awareness. I like to use the metaphor of knocking over a soda machine.  You just don’t hit it once with all your strength only to bounce off, you rock it over and over again until it falls over from the momentum you’ve created.

  • Using the tools at your disposal.
    With the internet growing more accessible every day, our society has become more interconnected than ever. With that in mind, it is important that we avail ourselves of the new avenues of communication like social media to help bolster messaging conveyed through conventional advertising methods like print, tv, and radio.  Using these in concert will help convert potential customers to actual customers.

If you’ve read this far you are probably wondering, what makes this ‘Smart Media’? Well ‘Smart Media’ is using what you have to the greatest possible advantage, and avoiding what you don’t need, no matter how attractive or trendy it may be.  For example, when the power went out at the super bowl, Oreo accomplished more with one tweet than most companies did with their multi-million dollar commercials. (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/04/oreos-super-bowl-tweet-dunk-dark_n_2615333.html). Sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Not everybody has multi-million budgets and huge marketing firms at their beck and call, but there is nothing stopping you from borrowing a few plays from the big boys playbook when you’re trying to get yourself noticed.  With a well-conceived strategy, you too can find that media mix that will work best for you.