There are those who advocate doing away with traditional marketing methods in favour of the booming social media scene. However I for one believe this would be a big mistake. It might be fine for some brands (although none spring immediately to mind) but for the majority of businesses marketing needs to fit the target audience and that means more than one channel. Don’t get me wrong I’m a great believer in the power of social media provided it is used correctly and is part of an overall well thought through marketing strategy that has identified which media will best convey the message and have the best chance of developing leads through to sales.

A lot of small businesses rely on recommendations from their clients for new business and for that social media is really a must. Good use of Facebook, Twitter as well as the latest entrant Pinterest can reap better rewards than just word-of-mouth as after all a picture paints a thousand words so these should be a major part of the marketing mix. However, the traditional methods such as advertising and mailers shouldn’t be ignored as these can be used to re-enforce your brand in the local community, building and enhancing your reputation and perhaps most importantly positioning your company, its products and services where you want them to be.

Key to any good marketing campaign or strategy is really understanding what and who your target audience is, couple this to a good appreciation of what media and channels they use regularly and you’ll have gone a long way to knowing where best to target your marking efforts and be more efficient in terms of expenditure.

What it all comes down to is the famous 5 “P’s” Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance (there is a 6 P version which I won’t go into for obvious reasons) and what this means is that having a clearly defined strategy with a detailed plan to back it up along with measurement tools to evaluate which channels and campaigns are delivering and which aren’t gives the best chance for success. But that’s not all, it’s also about having the courage to not take it that the plan is cast in stone but to re-visit it and make changes or re-engineer it where necessary to take account of changes to the market.

Having invested a significant amount of time and money into developing your marketing strategy it’s only natural to feel that it’s binding but treat it like a journey, sometimes you’re lucky you get from A to B without any trauma, but other times you have to change your route due to all sorts of distractions. Above all prepare for every eventuality by knowing where you’re going and most importantly, how you’re going to get there.