By Nancy Drexler
A traditional print or broadcast ad is an outbound message to a viewer or reader. Good ads attract attention and communicate a benefit that is relevant enough to incite action. But traditional marketing is composed of only one-way communications: the marketer creates a message, puts it in front of an audience and hopes something happens.
Digital marketing is not that at all. Digital marketing is a two-way conversation. It empowers your customers and potential customers to tell you what they want, how they want it, and in what ways you succeed or fail to meet their needs.
Digital marketing depends entirely on creating conversations that entice and engage. In the world of payments, that is not easy. Do any retailers want to talk with their payment providers, other than to complain? What merchants really want to spend time discussing the relative merits of Europay/MasterCard/Visa? Relying strictly on social media to engage prospects in conversation is probably not a winning sales strategy.
On the other hand, digital marketing can be productive in other ways: engaging resellers and recruiting job candidates are two examples. Social media offer an excellent way to build a "personality" that differentiates you from your competition. It can help you build a network of like-minded associates or establish a "thought leadership" position in a niche where your ideas and input add value.
To succeed today, every bit of research points to the need for a media mix - a variety of messages sent through a range of marketing channels. While every message needs to support the same brand and benefits, each message speaks in a unique voice tailored to both the medium and the market.
Let's use the case of ISO and agent recruitment. Print ads allow you to present your benefits in a very clear and concise manner. Your messages reach a precise market at a time when they have chosen to think about their payment careers. Print ads will help you build a brand and keep it memorable.
Print will be more effective, however, when used in combination with other media. Email, for instance, can remind prospects about your brand, and make it simple for them to act on that recognition. Email messages that link to a website or blog or Facebook page will start a conversation with people who have opted to engage with you, and help push them through the sales funnel.
No single message or medium today can be expected to lead to a sale. It is the combination of these, working together, that builds brand and relationships, and ultimately builds a business.
Nancy Drexler is the President of Acquired Marketing, a boutique marketing firm for businesses in the payments industry. To learn more about what Acquired Marketing can do for you, visit www.acquiredmarketing.com, call 917-743-5258 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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