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How Edgar Allan Poe can supercharge your marketing

Marketing is the lifeline of your business, and you need a dynamic marketing program for your business to grow. As a business advisor, the constant complaint I get from clients is that they just can’t afford the marketing they need.

To help your marketing be more effective and get a higher return on investment, I’d like you to remember Edgar Allan Poe with my little parody of The Raven:  

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over so many ways to help my business grow.
Marketing ideas I was creating, but my budget’s so berating,
Media exposures are begetting expenses as my constant foe.
Finding ways to spread my story with finances low
Big ideas, so little money, then I discovered POE.

Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite authors, but POE is also an acronym for the three categories of media marketing. Though a common practice in large enterprises, POE is often overlooked by smaller businesses.

The term media marketing is most often thought of in the context of mass media, but in reality, media marketing is simply communicating your story, whether to a mass market or one individual. Recognizing and understanding the many forms of media and utilizing each category of POE will increase the overall effectiveness of your marketing.

• Paid media marketing. OK, this one is obvious; it’s when you pay third party marketing companies to get your message out through media such as print, TV, radio, and online advertising.  No other type of media can guarantee the immediacy and scale of paid media. Paid media is usually what we think of as mass media marketing but it also includes trade shows, sponsorships, organization memberships, and sales expenses.

The pros of paid marketing is that you have control of the content and the target audience. You can start and stop it when you wish. The cons are the high expenses and the fact that advertising is not as effective as it was once was. You are paying for everything, and smaller companies with tight budgets find it difficult to get effective results for the costs incurred.

• Owned media marketing is when you leverage a channel you create and control. From a digital standpoint, this is your company website, email announcements or newsletters, LinkedIn, blog, twitter, YouTube channel, and your Facebook page. Each allows you to project your brand and personality as you chose and when you chose.

Don’t overlook the importance of emails. Though thought of as “old tech” by many, a surprising new survey by the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company states that email is nearly 40 times more of an effective way to acquire customers than all that tweeting and posting and "liking" you're doing on social media Facebook and Twitter combined.

But owned media marketing is not just in the digital world, it can also be your hard assets such as your bricks and mortar facility, your delivery trucks as well as your employees’ uniforms, as each of these helps create an image and brand that promotes your business. A simple example of owned media is my local tree service company who has their phone number in 3- foot numbers on the sides of their large trucks. Their trucks are now mobile billboards that can be seen from 100 feet away. They enjoyed more than a 100 percent increase in calls after they did this.

• Earned media marketing has been around forever.  It’s an old PR term that essentially means getting your brand message noticed for free rather than having to pay for it through advertising. Public relations (PR) and word-of-mouth are examples of earned media marketing. With earned, the press and the public share your content, speak about your brand via social media or word-of-mouth, and otherwise discuss your brand. In other words, the mentions are “earned,” meaning they are voluntarily given by others, such as testimonials.

Coming up: How POE worked for one small business.

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Steve Baker

Steve Baker is a founder of successful businesses and a business advisor with a passion for every phase of business cycle from startup to exit He’s also a public speaker and author of "Pushing Water Uphill With a Rake," as well as an avid poor golfer. He welcomes your comments and e-mails at steve@PushingWater.com  and invites you to visit his website www.PushingWater.com

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