Marketing’s Magic is in the Medium
Peter Panda

The marketing mix is a peculiar thing. If you don’t have the right price, you’re doomed. If you don’t have the right product for the audience in question … doomed. If you promote it the wrong way … also doomed.

But one of the components of the marketing mix that typically makes the biggest difference in the outcome of a marketing campaign is the medium. Where you place your message is perhaps as important as the message itself.

For example, my mother happens to be a communications officer in our hometown of Pikeville, Kentucky. She is the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet media liaison for her district, so she publicizes road closures related to weather issues and construction projects, details for ceremonies to name bridges and so on. Mom even won national recognition for her work with a program to lower traffic fatalities by increasing awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and of failing to properly use restraints, such as child safety seats.

Mom has developed quite a knack for delivering smart content and activating her messaging on social media, but in order to effectively communicate with the residents of the counties she serves — the easternmost one in Kentucky — she knows her primary medium is one most people have given up on: radio.

Nearly everyone in small-town America maintains their local connection by listening to the local radio station. Local morning shows are still impressively popular in small towns. Some may even still run Swap Shops or other flea-market type shows that seem to have gone by the wayside with corporate radio’s takeover of most programming. And local audiences still eat it up.

Without local radio, mom’s messages wouldn’t get to the majority of her audience. Sure, Facebook and Twitter are also very popular in that part of the world, but when people get up in the morning, get ready and drive to work, they’ve got the local radio station on.

Outsiders to the mountains wouldn’t know that. So, you need to ask yourself whether or not you’re an outsider to your core audience. Do you know what mediums your core target audience relies upon for information? How do you know?

The only way to know for sure is to ask your audience or to observe their behavior. If you’re not investing some time and energy into that, you’re throwing darts at a rabbit in a dark room. You might get lucky and hit him one day. But chances are, you’re just going to come away empty-handed.

If you need some help discovering your audience’s ideal medium, drop us a line. We’d love to chat about it.

Peter Panda

Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist.

In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time.

With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.

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