What a PhD student taught me about choosing the right marketing channel

Many of us like to fashionable. I know I do. And when it comes to marketing, many of us don't want to be seen as the dinosaur in the room. So it's easy to get swept along by trends, fashions and the latest shiny things. Whether its a love of the new, or a worry about not being left behind we all feel the peer-pressure to be "contemporary". And no more so than in which communications channel to use. The shift of many to social media makes it seemingly easy to decide that's the right channel for our business and have hurtled into setting up presences on twitter, Facebook, instragram and even woo woo. But hang on, have we really chosen wisely?

When I'm presenting at industry conferences I sometimes share how to best to get hold of me. The example I often give is that when I get a letter at work, I get an email from reception telling me I have something - so infrequent is the post I receive. So my advice to the audience is if you want to get hold of me (a typical middle-aged senior marketing manager in the tech industry living in West London) - send me a letter! Forget email to social media - used good old DM!

So I was delighted to get a letter a few week back from someone who'd heard this speech and sent me something in the post! It was a PhD student called Dave Noble* who was looking for sponsorship. Dave had been a career marketer in the gaming industry but had decided to switch directions do a PhD in forensic psychology with a specialism in cyber bullying.  Kudos to Dave on 3 levels:

  1. for being one of the few to actually listen to, & act upon, one of my presentations :)
  2. for taking a brave & different career path to most others
  3. for researching such an important & under-considered area of our developing online lives.

But what reminded me was how a marketer (Dave) had listened to his potential customer (me) and chosen to communicate with me on my preferred channel. Of course I had been very explicit in him helping understand that fact, but with the marketing platforms available today you can easily understand your customers preferred channels through implicit behaviours (clicks, opens, downloads etc.).

So before diving in and getting fashionable, take some time to listen to your customers and find out where they want to communicated through. You may be surprised.

* If you are someone interested in sponsoring Dave's academic career you can email him at dave.noble37@gmail.com.