The power and influence of paid advertising, including print advertising, TV commercials, radio and even online digital campaigns, is declining in favor of unpaid messages from your website, social media, market influencers and word of mouth. But startups need to remember that even paid media does not mean that marketing is free.
The argument in favor of unpaid media as a new marketing model was emphasized in the classic book "Z.E.R.O." Joseph Jaffe and Maarten Albarda, both experienced marketers working with new companies. They advocate investing in their new setting, where the Z.E.R.O. the initials take the following meaning:
- Zealots, disciples and influencers. New products and startups often require a change of culture to promote acceptance, which can be accelerated by zealots or a visible chief disciple, like Steve Jobs. Other stronger sources than the paid media today include leading social media influencers, such as "mom bloggers" and popular YouTube events.
- Acquired media. This is a neutral third-party media exposure, such as an unpaid news about your product or service to highlight innovations or social value. This exhibition is highly credible, since you do not control the message and that it is extremely valuable since it is not considered part of an advertising context.
- Real customers. Marketing real-time customer media content is now commonplace via sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and online reviews. This media source of word of mouth is also very credible and useful because it comes from "peer" clients, rather than from you as a source or paid source.
- Media owned. This includes your website, your blog and your presence on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and many others. These usually provide the first impression of your client's offer, and should not be blatantly self-promotional, but rather informative, educational, and even entertaining.
As I mentioned, this framework is powerful, but none of these elements is free. Some time ago, in a blog post, I pointed out that none of them justifies a startup business plan with little or no budget for marketing. All require planning, deliberate actions, quality content and event creation that will likely absorb all the savings achieved through reduced paid media campaigns.
In any case, reframing the paid media marketing conversation to the new framework requires balance and action along the way to better manage the return on investment. In the book, Jaffe introduces three new sets of measures to measure progress:
- Medium-term indicators. It is essentially a series of tentative forecasts that are reminiscent of the milestones of a marathon that indicate when it's time to take the pace or slow down to smell the roses. Examples include counting members of an advocacy program, application downloads, incumbent customers or subscribers to an email list.
- Long-term sales. We often talk about short-term sales and long-term relationships in mutually exclusive terms. They are polar opposites in terms of their deadlines, but how do you build a compromise bridge between them? While any short-term initiative is apparent to a traditional campaign, the long-term sales effort is the commitment.
- Short term wins. Liability is not optional because it is important to have something to show for your efforts quickly. Only this time, consider the big "W" (big win), the little "w" (small win) or in some cases even the small "l" (small loss), which represents a quick failure or failing smart, ideas , lessons, learnings or pleasant initial results.
I do not suggest that paid media channels are considered dead for start-ups, since even revolutionaries, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, still rely on paid media to optimize their own efforts. And the paid media are barely standing, continually seeking ways to be more efficient, using big data and other innovations to catch the customer 's attention.
So, while I see fast startups jumping on the pay media bandwidth (for budget reasons), I recommend a balance. First of all, opt for this acquired and owned media channel, using the same budget parameters that you previously allocated to the paid media. Later, you can reduce the budget as the statistics show the results, or apply the rest to the paid media as a follow-up step.
In any case, the tone and resources must be focused on catching customers today, who are looking for engagement and connection, rather than the loudest traditional loudspeaker. . ZERO. marketing is not a zero marketing.