This article is the first chapter in our Digital Marketing Blueprint. Our series will involve a number of steps you can take to get started with digital marketing. We encourage you to check back periodically for more info. You can also download the full guide here for free!
Step #1: Identifying the Problem
In order to prescribe a solution, you have to first diagnose the problem. This is true for your medical care, repairs you make to your car, and—you guessed it—your marketing strategy.
Here at Uptick, we often say that prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. If you don’t know what problem you’re solving, then you can’t effectively solve it, and you’re going to waste a lot of time and money spinning your wheels.
So how can you determine what your marketing problem is? In the space below, we have outlined several common problems that small-to-medium businesses face when it comes to marketing. Additionally, we have left some spaces where you can add your own company-specific information (kind of like a workbook to get you started).
Traditional Marketing Alone Is Not Enough
Many businesses spend a lot of money on traditional marketing efforts—only to find that they aren’t working. Why are the methods that have been around so long failing to deliver?
Let’s dive a little deeper to see why that’s often the case.
Traditional Marketing Is Interruption Marketing
At the end of the day, traditional marketing is interruption marketing, meaning that you are broadcasting your messages to the masses by interrupting them from what they are currently doing. Billboards, radio advertisements, television ads, and print ads all do just that—they interrupt. When the audience encounters your message, they are not actively looking for your products or services.
Today’s consumers do not want to be interrupted. Instead, they want to search for your products and services when they are interested. Or, they want to build a relationship with your brand, learning to trust you along the way, and then make a buying decision. Often, traditional marketing falls short because it can’t specifically target people who are actively searching for what your business offers, and that’s a problem.
Traditional Marketing Is Hard to Track
Do you know how many people saw your business ad in that local newspaper or magazine? Or how many of those people actually picked up the phone to call you? If you have no idea, you’re not alone! One of the issues with traditional marketing is that it is incredibly hard to track. It’s painful to spend thousands of dollars per month for a billboard that you’re not sure is delivering real return on-investment, or a TV commercial that you can’t even be sure reaches the right people.
Which leads us to the next problem: traditional marketing requires a hefty budget.
Traditional Marketing Is Expensive
Sure, traditional marketing can be very effective for some businesses (have you seen all those personal injury lawyer billboards?!). However, they are limited to companies with a very large marketing budget.
See the table below for a quick example of the typical costs of traditional marketing, broken down by medium.
|30 Second Television Ads||$1.5k – $25k+ per slot|
|60 Second Radio Ads||$200 – $1k+ per slot|
|1/2 Page Magazine Ads||$500 – $2k per issue|
|Direct Mail to 5,000 People||$5k – $20k+|
|Billboard||$1.2k – $3k per billboard per month|
Most small-to-medium businesses simply don’t have this type of marketing and advertising budget, which makes it very hard for them to contend with their biggest competitors. The solution? Digital marketing, where you can get a lot more bang for your buck! (We will explore why digital marketing is the solution in the next step of this blueprint.)
This leads us to the next problem: a lack of in-house resources.
Your Business Doesn’t Have the Right Expertise on
Lack of experience is a common reason that small-to-medium businesses don’t have a digital marketing plan with proper execution. There’s no doubt that digital marketing is a lot more affordable and easier to track than traditional methods. So, the solution is simple: Hire a marketing director and have them do all the digital marketing, too. Right? Wrong!
Digital marketing is incredibly complicated and multi-faceted. There’s a reason Uptick Marketing has more than 35 full-time employees; it takes that many people with various skills and strengths to provide such extensive digital marketing capabilities.
Let’s explore why so many businesses hire someone in-house only to later outsource the digital components of their marketing strategy.
Why Hiring Someone In-House Will Not Work
Many small businesses think that they can simply hire someone to handle their company’s marketing efforts (both online and offline). Often, though, they end up realizing that this is impossible.
Let’s examine just two major components of digital marketing: website design and content creation. What is the likelihood that you can find someone who is an incredible website designer and a great writer? Honestly, that’s kind of a unicorn. And if you’re talking about someone who can design your website, write great content, and execute all of the other online and offline marketing strategies you need? Let’s be honest: This person does not exist. Remember, digital marketing alone (not taking into consideration traditional marketing) involves website design, search engine optimization, multiple forms of online advertising, social media management, blog writing, email marketing, review tracking, and so much more.
When you start adding up all of the people you will need and the expense of hiring each of those people, you will quickly find out what most businesses ultimately realize: Hiring a full in-house marketing staff is simply too expensive for most small-to-medium sized businesses.
Just to give you an idea, an experienced social media manager or social media specialist (which only covers one part of the job) will cost you anywhere from $35,000 to $75,000+ in annual salary.
Now multiply that by 4—the minimum number of people you will need to hire for your marketing team—and you’re at a minimum of $140,000 per year in salary alone. This number does not even begin to cover the cost of keeping all of those employees up-to-date on the constantly changing digital marketing and advertising landscapes!
Add traditional marketing and advertising specialists to the mix and you’re looking at close to half a million dollars per year for an effective in-house marketing team.
Therefore, most businesses either outsource all of their online marketing needs or they hire a single marketing manager to act as their coordinator with a digital marketing agency.
Analyzing Your Current Business Obstacles
Think for a second: What are the problems that your business faces when it comes to implementing an all-inclusive and intentional marketing strategy?
The Bottom Line
Traditional marketing is no longer enough—you must have an online presence for your business to be competitive in today’s market.
This article is the first chapter in our Digital Marketing Blueprint. Download the full guide here for free!