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Marketing in 2013: Active vs. Passive Mediums

Welcome to 2013, another year and 365 more opportunities to make marketing work for you. There are many mediums that compete for your overall budget and with all of the options available from direct mail to print to digital, how do you know which marketing tactics are best for your practice?
We’ll explore the difference between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ mediums and reinforce the importance of planning. Let’s first indulge in an exercise to assess which category you fall into — from a planning perspective.
Have you:

  1. Developed and stuck to a marketing plan in 2012 then reviewed tracking and ROI to put a plan in place to meet goals for 2013?
  2. Gone without a plan in 2012 then subsequently develop one for 2013 – with a calendar in place along with tracking mechanisms to evaluate the response and ROI on all initiatives?
  3. Found yourself panicking, “shooting from the hip,” trying “this and that,” and doing a lot of finger crossing with little or no actual results tracking?

Where do you land?
Obviously scenarios 1 and 2 will set you up for a successful 2013 from a marketing perspective [if you are part of that third group, let’s talk!]. Even after you have your ‘plan’ in place, how do you know which media is best to use? Or, what the difference is between direct response [active] and branding [passive] mediums, and when to use them?
Direct response mediums are those that have a call-to-action and drive traffic to your practice; i.e. direct mail, print ads and online [in that order]. These are the critical, primary initiatives that will help you meet your opportunity objectives. Other media, such as TV and radio are considered ‘passive’ mediums, which don’t necessarily drive traffic, but often act as a ‘branding’ exercise instead. Sometimes this exercise comes at a high budgetary cost without much immediate value apparent — and knowing that beforehand is half the battle.
as seen on TVWhat do we have against TV and radio? Actually, nothing, when used in conjunction with direct response mediums and when realistic expectations have been set. One big drawback to both mediums is that they are hard to track [even with a phone number associated with them]. In our industry, it’s difficult for the hearing impaired to hear the phone number over the radio and often times phone numbers on TV flash by too quickly.
We all know that some businesses have thrived on direct response TV [think Ginsu Knives or George Foreman Grills] but they are considered ‘long form’ ads or infomercials. They overcome the challenges of conveying the call to action through repetition, which is made possible by the length of the spot. Or, when in short form, the ads run with great repetition – often multiple times in the same segment. Either way is extremely costly.
If you are interested in incorporating TV and/or radio into your marketing plan, we recommend doing so in addition to your direct response marketing. Start with direct mail, print and online, and then if you have marketing dollars left, test TV and/or radio, but remember to set realistic expectations. You may not be able to track your return on investment as accurately as the other mediums, so you’ll need to be cautious before making additional commitments.
Regardless of what makes up your perfect marketing mix, remember the core marketing tactics that drive success: planning, execution and tracking!
Interested in learning more about the difference between direct response vs. passive mediums? Contact marketing at marketing@cq-partners.com.

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