When I was a little kid, I loved Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. It conjured up images of pirates and ships and adventure and a life where one's own wits, skill and courage were the difference between vast fortunes and an unimaginably vague place in history. But the one thing they never told you was, if you're a pirate, and you hide your gold, chances are good that you will not be the one digging it up. It will most likely benefit someone else.

If you're a pirate, and you hide your gold, chances are good that you will not be the one digging it up.

When pirates buried their treasure and it was later discovered by fortune seekers, it made for a great story … for those who found it. But for the hapless pirate who buried it to begin with? Well, that was was a not-so-well thought out plan. All the work, none of the reward.

When you're working hard and hoping for a return on investment, you look at every dollar you make as just that. A dollar. It's part of a treasure, part of what you've brought together through your skills and capabilities. But that's the only place you should look at it as treasure. You should look at your marketing spending as a seed.

So, lesson one is, plant your seed carefully and with great consideration. Otherwise, all it is, is a buried treasure to be discovered by someone else, and enjoyed by someone who is not you. 

Lesson two, is WHERE do I plant that seed? Click the tabs below to get a little insight and determine which outlets might be best for you.


Print Media

"Print is dead! Long live Print!"

Well, that's not entirely true. There are resurgences to print media, and it was one of the early adopters in terms of branching out its news network on a national and global level overall. On a local level? Not so much. But that doesn't mean that print is an entity you should opt out of entirely. Why? Because people still read, and some still prefer to have that big broadsheet in their hands when they do, or a local magazine page flipping under their fingers. What you have to do is tightly determine what your demographic is, and where they reside in medialand. 

And if it's Print Island, set sail over there with a shovel and some seed and plant accordingly. 

Broadcast Media

I've said it before and I say it again. If you're buying broadcast, make sure you're ONLY buying broadcast. Buying a package deal doesn't exactly work anymore, for a couple of reasons. Number one, the impressions you get elsewhere for a lot less dollars than in a broadcast/online package are far more conducive to getting a consumer into your funnel. 

That being said, broadcast for the right avenue, local/regional sports, whether on TV or radio, is still a great deal, and if your consumer is watching a live event, they're likely not DVRing it. 

Does that mean that I shouldn't buy the local primetime show? Not necessarily, but you should prep your creative for scanners that fast-forward through commercials. 5 years ago, you could blast through commercials on a DVR and not see a logo. Now, with every push of the button, you're seeing a logo and C2A (call-to-action) that is quickly ingested and has been brand-reinforced in concentric efforts elsewhere. 

The net result is, creative structure matters now more than ever specific to the type of spot you're buying and the viewing tendencies of those watching it.

Out of Home/POP

Probably the largest and most abused category of branding attempts is out-of-home, specific to billboards and site signage. Even if you are advertising in an airport, you have to be able to convey a message that is scannable and eye-catching. And even moreso when you're talking about billboards on traffic-routes. Putting a lengthy message and a tiny logo on a board and not allowing your corporate identity structure to dominate it means you may as well light your money on fire and pour water on your brand solidity. 

The most successful billboard I ever did was for an automotive client. All it said was "Open 24/7" and their web address, with an eye-catching pic of the main brand they offered. It was a male-targeted campaign, and out-of-home was perfect for them, as guys tend to track and check out other vehicles when they drive down the road. 

The point is, a simple message and an effective visual served to qualify the consumer IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT, and it went STRAIGHT to the sales funnel for the beginning of a close. 

That's how you use a medium effectively and efficiently. 

Social and Online Media

Long gone are the days when you could pay your cousin a 6-pack of beer to "post some stuff to your blog" from your aunt's basement and have thousands of people flock to it. The social media and online game has grown unbelievably complex. From enhancing your Google ranking, to getting a solid return on your social media presence, to developing a mailing list, this is the place where, for most advertisers, buried treasure goes to die.

If you're going to be a player here, you need to put some skin in the game.

Often, it's not even buried treasure. It's just wasted efforts. The days when social media organic discovery ruled are also long gone, and that means that if you're going to be a player here, you need to put some skin in the game. 

Yes, that means paid boosts. That means paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, etc. That means engaging influencers in your market and pushing product towards them to get them to promote it. 

Many online entities are engaging a lot of math to determine what their consumer sees, Facebook and Instagram most notably (Facebook owns Instagram, by the way). The reason they are doing this, and thus killing organic discovery, isn't so much because they are greedy, although it is a profit center and makes business sense. It's because they have to stay relevant in order to stay in business, period. And the way they do that is to provide solid content to their viewers based on what the viewer shows interest in. 

Now, that's fantastic if that's YOU that the viewer is showing interest in. But if it's not, you have to pay to boost your ads, and you have to target them appropriately. The good news here is, however, if your boost works correctly, that person interacts with your post, pushing your profile up the ratings with Facebook, and enhancing your organic ratings. 

But speaking of providing solid content, did you ever notice that as soon as you search for something, all of the sudden you're fed 20 ads for it? Ever thought, "WOW! I wish I could get my ad in front of someone who does an online search for my product vertical."

Uh, well, you CAN. And you SHOULD BE. And yes, we can make that happen.

But the over-arching point is this: being a player in social and online media is not as easy as it once was, and indeed requires a concerted effort. For all of its demographic growth in every category, and all its promise as a marketing swim lane, it's also one that can potentially suck up a lot of your gold if its not done correctly, and leveraged with appropriate sales funnels, close strategies, analysis and redeployment. 

And then there is brand loyalty development … Which is another post altogether.

The Wrap Up

In the end, how you utilize your media swim lanes is as important as how you state your message. If you're not voicing a value proposition, and you don't know exactly where your consumer is leaving your marketing effort and entering your closing funnel, then you may as well buy an eye patch, grab a shovel and a peg leg and start insisting that people call you "Long John Silver," because you're just burying gold for someone else to find. That being said, if you need some help planting seeds, then by all means let's hitch up the tractor and turn some earth.

The choice is entirely up to you. ;) 

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