The Digital Effect

The way we communicate has changed drastically over the years. For businesses, it’s imperative that as social communication strategies change, their efforts change with it.

Technologies such as the Internet, smartphones and social media have a large impact on the way customers are viewing your business or organization. Reviews are being written and posted online. People are receiving text messages on a daily basis encouraging them to shop now and save at certain stores. These new forms of communication are causing business owners to make drastic changes in the way they are currently advertising and marketing their businesses.

How do you get the attention of your customer base? What’s the best way to reach them? What gets seen the most? What will have the largest return on investment?

These are some of the most common questions asked when organizations are considering investing in marketing and advertising efforts. The last one — what’s the return on investment going to be — being the most popular.

In response to these questions, I usually ask a few questions of my own:

  • Who buys your product or service the most?
  • What are your sales goals?
  • What is your budget?

In order to really see a return on investment you have to look at the big picture of who your customers are. What generational qualities do they have? What do they do in their free time?

You then need to take a look at what your goals are. Do you need to increase sales? Maybe you’re a new company and your main goal is to increase awareness of who you are and what you do. Is your product or service hard to understand? If so, advertising and marketing efforts may need to include an educational aspect to help inform buyers about exactly what your product does and why they need it.

Lastly, you need to figure out what your budget is. Does your budget actually allow you to reach your goals?

Once these questions have been answered you’ll be able to dive into creating a successful marketing or advertising plan that focuses on the goals that have been set at the beginning of your planning stages.

Lets take a look at a campaign example that spoke directly to a younger generation (a generation that lives and breathes technology):

  • Client. Hungry Howie’s
  • Goal. Increase sales on Michigan State University’s (MSU) Campus
  • Target market. College students (tech savvy, low income, busy)
  • Challenge. Hungry Howie’s challenged M3 Group to help find a way to build their database while also urging students to continue to buy from Hungry Howie’s over the many other pizza locations in the East Lansing Area.
  • Solution. M3 Group developed a mobile marketing campaign for the first two months of school (August and September) and worked on the following to help promote Hungry Howie’s to MSU students: QR codes, campaign representatives (we hired students to talk with other students and encourage them to sign up to our text messaging database), social media management and mobile billboard design and implementation.
  • Results. After just two weeks and four days of promotion on campus, the campaign had built a database of 5,000 different contacts and sales grew 25 percent from the previous year during this time period.

Hungry Howie’s had one specific goal —encourage college students to buy their pizza. With a strategic approach and with the help of technology, M3 Group was able to exceed expectations, increase sales and build a database of contacts.

In this instance, Hungry Howie’s concentrated on specific strategies to break through the clutter and speak to the busy college student. They used an integrated approach that utilized various technical mediums to communicate — QR codes, social media and text message marketing.

Communication today means spanning across multiple channels, strategically engaging clients and creatively leveraging the technology that’s available to customers.

Integrating technology with a traditional media mix will help establish your organization. By delivering one consistent message that spans across the Internet, TV, in publications, on social media, cell phones, etc. your brand will become and remain established. And with the help of technology, relationships with current and potential customers will be built.

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